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  • Writer's pictureMarcus Mitropoulos

By Kody Phillips: Pushing through creative norms

Fashion followers are in dire need of a label that is not only as open and honest as them (your therapist would be so proud) but are inviting and accepting of all. Put your Tabi’s back in the closet, let your YSL condoms collect dust, and feast your eyes on the world of Kody Phillips.

Phillips is a designer out of Ohio whose international reach can be credited to his conscious taste in clothing development, which dismisses trends or fads. He began his eponymous label, in 2015, seeing a growth that he described as “blips in the fashion matrix.”

The interview process with Phillips was conducted over multiple days on Zoom. Each call presented a new challenge: What prototype was being teasingly dangled in the background?

His vivacious personality and candid responses to questions were reminiscent of a kid who had just entered a candy store. Except, instead of being given a note, he was given Willy Wonka’s golden ticket.

In 2015, the Kody Phillips label looked very different. He chose to move away from the screen printing scene, which had been sucking his creativity dry. Instead, he began working on his cutting and sewing game, perfecting the art of attaching stupid shit where stupid shit shouldn’t be.

Phillips’ first taste of success came in the form of his Isolation sweater. The olive, torn-up jumper had multiple printed images scattered around it, paired with Phillips’ attempt at fixing his apparent mistake.

“It’s my first post on there (Instagram). I think I sold like 40 of them and it was so huge to me. I was high on life,” said Phillips. He experienced his second blip soon after due to his take on patchwork jeans, a unique twist on a simple, everyday wardrobe stuffer.

What we see today is a label that has morphed into a dark fantasyland full of your wildest clothing dreams. “The last thing that blew me up was the nylon shorts. Those made me really get into the designer game. I had to start manufacturing and planning ahead of time.”

Phillips’ nylon shorts are a sight to behold. Black nylon is connected to a ribbed, drawstring waistband, emphasizing the elevation of pockets.

The shorts showcase the cargo canvas’ creative capabilities. This particular pair features pockets shaped like squares with flaps, oversized hanging rectangles, and an imposing circular coin purse on the left thigh.

If you thought the nylon pants were a lot, then buckle up, strap in, and do just about anything you can to prepare yourself for Phillips’ current collection.

It starts with the Tank puffer, which he released just over a month ago. “Not throwing shade at anyone, I liked the look of the scuba jacket which had been going around. So I decided I want to try my hand on it, and I did that. But, that was kind of a secondary product. My baby was the Cargo Puffer.”

Ah, yes, the Cargo puffer. A brushed cotton and nylon blend, completed with a sueded feel. This jacket sold out instantaneously, presumably due to its fully tactical feel. The jacket is finished with YKK antique zippers, heavy-duty webbing, cargo pockets in true Kody fashion, and adjustable straps at the waist to ensure a tight, balmy feel.

Traveling down to the leg is an abundance of bottoms ranging from two-tone curved denim jeans to cargo pants with fit adaptations. Phillips says that he was one of the first to conceive curved jeans, although “trying to get it from my house to mass manufacturing was a fucking nightmare.” His current iterations take a more chill approach to how Kody felt during this time, with a lighter tone of denim cascading throughout the pant in a wave-like fashion.

Maybe Phillips missed out on the curved jeans wave, but he's making his own impression with his Accordion pants. Looking down at a piece of paper, Phillips said, “If I look at my little sheet with Accordion pants revisions, there are like 19 of them. I started out trying to make them as adjustable as possible. They’re for people of all body types because you can’t make a lot of skews when you’re really small.”

Phillips’ Accordion pants include a key design addition that can change the way people with longer limbs shop forever. Each horizontal zip holds about 1.25 inches of extra material, which when unzipped, will extend the legs. If you’re someone who has long-ass legs and a tiny torso, you may feel inclined to order the pants in your waist size, then unzip the thighs at your own discretion.

Kody Phillips and his label have experienced copious amounts of growth throughout his young career. Down the road, Phillips hopes to create jewelry, sneakers, and end up at boutiques that are exclusively online, pronouncing department stores “dead.”

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