Where streetwear, brunch, and future club music meet.
Rapper DonChristian (All photos by Erez Avissar )
Inside a low-lit bar called Tandem, packs of hungover Brooklynites are eating eggs and drinking Bloody Marys. Nothing out of the ordinary for a Sunday morning—until you walk into a dark room in the back where you're greeted by a blast of future club music. The ceiling is covered by vinyl records, and the lights are glowing a deep pinkish-blue. Kids in sleek, monochromatic uniforms mingle with their neon haired peers in furry backpacks and everyone is dancing their asses off, with little regard for the time of day (1PM), or the brunch crowd next door. No, you're not in some kind of mutant rave. You're at Multitask, a DJ-equipped shopping event specializing in streetwear labels coveted by New York City's techno and fashion crowds.
The vibe in the room is a combination of day rave, flash sale, and bestie gossip time. Racks of clothes line the walls, each filled with guaranteed head turners like the furry and slightly grotesque candy raver get-ups from Bcallaand the sleek urban motocross vibes of SIR NY. You instantly recognize half the room as regulars at the clubs you go to over the weekends—young queers gossiping on the peripheries of the party and occassionally hitting the floor to rave the fuck out. At the end of the room, DJs Mess Kid and Ynfynyt Scroll preside over a long table covered in gear and a surprisingly good sound system. A little later, the Camp & Street-signed rapper DonChristian commands the room's attention with an impassioned live performance.
Multitask is the interstice of functional arts—a place where fashion, performance, music, lighting design, and delicious food and drink all come together for an engrossing experience in a cute and and (for a change!) well-lit environment.
But don't call it a craft fair, pop-up shop, or worse, a flea market. Founders Brian Whatever and Mackswell Sherman prefer to call Multitask a "lifestyle function," "designer exposé," "cultural event," or (my favorite) a "lifestyle enhancement exercise." All of these labels elide the fact that this is still essentially an exchange of material goods for monetary compensation, instead positioning the event as a progressive cultural movement. Whatever you decide to call it, Multitask is the perfect space to stock up on the looks that compliment our new techno underground.
Both Brian Whatever and Mackswell Sherman have backgrounds in New York City's alternative fashion world. I first met Brian while waiting in line to see Black Dice at K&K Super Buffet, a Chinese restaurant in Queens that used to host incredible shows. While everyone was slumming in jeans, shitty sneakers, and vintage tees, Brian wore an oversize silk anime shirt and pleather pants with some crazy, seriously 90s white sneakers. He looked different from anyone else I'd ever seen—like the Internet just spat him out on the pavement outside that Chinese food buffet.
Since meeting Brian and becoming acquainted with his label Whatever 21, I've bore witness to the evolution of one of the most compelling stories in DIY fashion. After deciding to leave the career he has a master's degree in (teaching young kids art) to turn his longtime dream of making alternative fashion into reality, Brian went from selling his designs on busy street corners to filling orders for shops around the world.
Mackswell I met on the set of Prince Rama's epic video "Never Forever." He provided some gorgeous, multicolored bodysuits for Rama's actors. I began to notice his designs all over the streets of New York and, later, in a few more music videos including a project for Le1f. Sherman's latest project is called the "Moves Concept Store." The designs are available in the kinds of streamlined, monochromatic fabrics and fittings that befit the apocalyptic times we live in (or just a night out in a dusty warehouse).
All the brands included in Multitask—which also include Pictureplane's Alien Body line, Gypsysport, H0les, Sext Pixels, IKO INO, H E I D I L E E and more—are indicators of people "in the know." More than just trendy streetwear, they stand at the vanguard of global techno culture. Thanks to Multitask, these labels are able to be displayed next to the music, energy, and vibe that make up their message.
Multitask is currently on its seventh edition, and will continue on a monthly basis. Brian and Mackswell hope to keep expanding the project with larger locations and more ambitious plans, while keeping it dedicated to experimental clothing design, techno culture, queer ideologies. Hopefully, they'll get to keep the brunch.