Jackson McCabe’s name has been floating around SCAD’s School of Fashion for his highly anticipated senior collection. His heavily conceptual, often avant-garde designs have led to many of his peers comparing him to Thom Browne.
However, McCabe is not “SCAD’s Thom Browne,” as many claim him to be. He is his own entity as an artist who utilizes fashion as his medium. His senior collection, called “BUSINESS ONLY,” proves just that.
The union between his childhood effeminacy and the hyper-masculinity of the businessmen he spotted while interning in New York City became his basis. But before committing to that merger, McCabe knew he wanted to inject a sense of childhood nostalgia into his collection.
He grew up with open-minded parents who allowed him to express himself as he wanted. “It wasn’t uncommon to see me walking around the neighborhood in a dress, furs, or a feather boa,” he recalls. At his brother’s baseball games, he would sit back and comb his sister’s hair before overdecorating it with bows throughout the innings. It was a time when his confidence was at a peak.
It wasn’t until his summer internship that the lifestyle of businessmen became a key factor. During his lunch breaks, he would see bankers in three-piece suits quickly walking through Financial District on their phones. The fast pace and influx of grey suits began to be seen as a shield of invisibility, or something to sober one’s exterior. McCabe found this notion to be interesting as it relates to the suppression of his effeminacy as he progressed through middle and high school.
I really wanted to find humor in these businessmen lives,” he says. “And I brought that with my own personal childhood experience.
While flipping through his process book, he stops and points at a line graph he says depicts his level of confidence from ages one through 22. Every aspect of the collection correlates with the graph, especially to the color story he had taped underneath it. The peak of his confidence matches his youthful innocence in soft, feminine colors of lilac; his darker period uncovers stoic, corporate grey and blacks.
Now, his confidence is back and better than ever. This means a lot of bows and a lot of crystals reminiscent of his boyhood.
Those same bows he used to decorate his sister’s hair with were now interpreted onto the blazers he created. He even said that when he “came out of the closet,” the closet came with him– which is why you can expect to see a literal closet on the runway. It’s the piece that he says was the most fun to create since it requires a lot of components, logistics, and trial and error.
“The clothes weren’t really a problem,” McCabe says. “It was the structures. To have it as a sketch and try to make the sketch come to life… it was a fun challenge.”
The dichotomy between the two narratives in BUSINESS ONLY is more than a collection showcasing McCabe’s capabilities as a designer. This collection is a representation and viewpoint into his story as an LGBTQA+ youth, which many can relate to, whilst poking fun at the seriousness of traditional masculinity that is burdened upon many within the community.
Thankfully, McCabe slayed it.
He plans on pursuing a career in Europe after school. Europe is befitting since his collection will also be presented at the 27th annual Graduate Fashion Week in London. “I want to work for an artist and help them express themselves, or be that artist,” he says.
Photography by Joselyn Dontfraid