Covering Your Face: Did Fashion Designer Merlin Castell Create the Next Big Fashion Trend – Is This The New Normal?

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Taken at New York Fashion Week, February 2020. Photographer Cecilia Rod

Since I’ve been staying at home, my outfit of the day has been “which sweatshirt and sweatpants should I wear today?” While America isn’t completely on lock-down, a lot of people are now staying home.  I find myself putting on makeup before going to out shopping for essentials – even if it’s behind my blue mask. I never thought I would live to see a time when people are waiting in line for 30 minutes standing 6 feet apart just to get into a store, let alone scared to go out in the first place. This is the new norm for living in New York City during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

It was only 2 months ago when I was at New York Fashion Week watching Fashion Designer Merlin Castell’s collection walk down the runway. His pieces were vibrant, exotic and most of all intriguing. When I first saw the collection, back in February, I was wondering “where I would wear this collection?” After all, I’ve never been one to wear something that covers my face. Now, with the coronavirus (COVID-19) causing mayhem, the world has drastically changed and everyone is covering their face.

I do believe that when we are born and brought to this world, we receive the gift of life as a white canvas. We are the self-creators of our own destiny but, to get there you have to play the role of the person or character you want to be. Play your role very well …. as if your life would be nominated for an Oscar. That is how you will succeed.” – Fashion Designer Merlin Castell

Merlin’s collection was originally inspired by evil villains in his childhood comic book – The Eternals. While this collection represents a create twist on evil villains who are covering up their identity, I see his collection as a unique way to express oneself during this horrific pandemic. I might just wear this to go grocery shopping!

Taken in New York City, February 2020. Photographer Cecilia Rod

My inside interview with Fashion Designer Merlin Castell:

Where is the perfect place to wear your collection?

It depends. The pieces can go with anything. Some of the suits are made to wear for work.

Most of my pieces are interchangeable and can be used as active-wear. I believe that we are living the days of individuality and we wear what we feel like because… there is no destination, just self-expression.

What is the inspiration behind your design?

My inspiration came from a comic book that I use to read religiously when I was a teenager. It’s called the Eternals.

Taken in Times Square back in February 2020. Designer Merlin is on the right; Photographer Cecilia Rod

What is your signature piece from this collection?

My signature piece is a jacket I called ” Scalpel ” –  it’s actually a sharp shoulders jacket and it comes in dress too.

It’s interesting that most of your collection had a mask like feel/ protective vibe. I have to ask- Was this foreshadowing coronavirus? Back in February, when I saw your fashion show, it didn’t occur to me but now that were in this crazy time, I was wondering…

Actually, what I was presenting in my fashion show was the part 1 of my collection. I was introducing the villains of my characters – they are hiding their identity, that’s why they are wearing masks.

I was supposed to showcase part 2 of my collection in Los Angeles which are the heroes. Life is a balance between good and evil – the virus and the cure.

I was aware of the situation that was happening in China. I thought about using the music from the movie Resident Evil but there was not enough time to unveil the production.

What drives you? 

I believe all of us come to this world for a reason and we have to listen to the signs of what we suppose to be doing with our lives. I do listen to myself very carefully and I apply what makes me happy…designing and creating beautiful clothes.

Are any of your pieces waterproof?

Some of them are waterproof. I do love working with vinyls. I find it interesting and it is very easy to create structure shapes.

What is the collection made of?

Terlenka fabric. I love to work with fabrics from the sixties. I also used vinyl leather techno jersey 66 and trims with stripes to give the sensation of sport couture. I like to experiment – I don’t let the material lead my imagination.

What’s the best care for the collection?

Dry clean only.

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Taken in Times Square back in February 2020. Designer Merlin; Photographer Cecilia Rod

Merlin Castell is a Los Angeles fashion designer who was born in Honduras. Currently, he is volunteering to design washable masks and gowns for the heroes on the front-lines – the doctors and nurses. A big thank you Merlin for stepping up to protect the heroes fighting in Los Angeles.

Also a big thank you to Photographer Cecilia Rod for her images!

What do you think of this collection? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Be healthy and stay well!

Love always,

Jenny A.