Words + Photos by Michael Avey
Streams of fiery red and burnt orange leaves paraded aloft a vibrant treeline. They drifted in concert with the prevailing airflow. Mirrored below was a cascade of rushing water that weaved between boulders smoothed over by the James River in Richmond, VA.

On its banks stood Chris Curry, draped in monochromatic sandstone. He carefully sifted through an oversized rucksack. Lifting a piece of fabric, the sunlight eclipsed his face, but shed light on an article imbued with indigo, and laced with gold.

Curry is the owner of Embmnt (pronounced embodiment) which cultivates streetwear from unlikely corners. Giving a contemporary take on pieces sourced from deep pockets of worldwide history.

His origins in fashion were spooled at a young age. Self-taught at the age of 10, he asked his mom for a sewing machine. “I didn't know how to work the machine, but I remember plugging it in just to hear the humming”.

Chris was joined by his partner Q, as well as two models. Sorting through an oversized olive green bag, they began assigning different pieces for our models.
“When my wife and I lived in DC, I wrote on a note card that I wanted to make clothes." Q took the piece of paper, walked into the bedroom, and returned with four rolls of denim. 
He took this opportunity to tie his art form into another craft.

“As a barber, I wanted to make Aprons because they were the easiest to start with, and I could use them in my work.”

Chris and I originally met through the sitcom-worthy High Point Barbershop- often voted as the best barbershop in the publications Richmond Magazine and Style Weekly.

Chris would slide between coyish banter with colleagues, then pivot to hit a fadeaway out of crumpled-up paper towels into a distant bin. He wore a peculiar patchwork shirt pocket, with another smaller pocket affixed to the first one.
The denim de-jour served up offerings like the Noragi Jacket: workwear rooted in centuries of Japanese farming. “My homie Travis introduced it to me in 2015, and really took a liking to the art form aspect of it… made me jump into Japan's culture.' Curry continued, “Then my design becomes more about history and less about fashion and trends.”

A pair of rustic olive green trousers were upcycled from military sea bags. There was a series of X-shaped stitches near the cuff also known as Sashiko. Frayed strands from the previous usage hung over a faded military stencil. Utility vests resurrected from military remnants serve as a  reminder that “the world is your garden, and growth is apparent.”

When asked about his selection of materials, Curry explained, “I like to work on denim and military fabrics because they definitely remain classics.” Even the bag carrying his line followed suit. “This was actually a post office mail bag; it had a nice feel, so we added cargo pockets and designed over it.”
Back in the lab, music plays an integral role in Curry’s process. “I like to play some Miles Davis, Tame Impala, Smino, and Fortaines DC.” he continued, “They all kind of give me a different approach to garments, and I utilize them accordingly.”

“I gravitated to kimonos because of the flow, the history, and the endless possibilities.” Chris brings metamorphosis to articles once meant for war, and reshapes them in a vision of peace.

Continuity is a central cord in Curry's work. “My culture as a whole is what drew me to making clothes. Thinking about the role African Americans hold in fashion: why not be a source in a sense?” Whether it’s drawing from vestiges of the past or the aspirations of the material’s lifespan. “I aim for every garnet to be worthy enough to be passed down.”

The threads inherited from predecessors have been stained by turmoil, washed in renewal, and dyed with hope. Chris is taking his turn upcycle; curating universal textiles into one-of-one exhibits, worn to stand the test of time.
“Being an artist of some sort has allowed me to be influenced by everything, everything. Art is in everyday life. Everyday life is Art.”
For a deeper dive into Embmnt visit penroseprojex.com/heirtowind
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