Yushan Li and Jun Zhou have made tiny cut-aways a signature at Pronounce, slicing little fragments out of their button-downs, T-shirts, blazers, and more. While their early collections hewed towards streetwear—albeit with a more delicate touch, revealing slivers of skin through the holes—they’ve grown more experimental in their sixth year of business. Spring 2022, which was styled on Li and Zhou’s friends of every gender, riffed on the circle and its many meanings: Circular cut-outs were framed by small rings set into nylon tops, ripstop pants, corduroy suits, and satin shorts, the fabric pulling and rippling around each gap.
The designers explained their varying associations with the shape: the circular motion of a pottery wheel; the curve of a full moon, tree rings, and halos; and the perfection of a circular line, with no beginning and no end. “It’s everything and it’s nothing,” Li said on a Zoom from Shanghai. The concept was punctuated by three closing looks that resembled giant, circular tents, some of the most editorial pieces they’ve made.
Their design language evolved with a handful of pieces with no cut-outs at all: Fuzzy sweaters were knitted in starburst patterns radiating out from the chest—a subtler nod to the circle motif—while leather jackets were framed by rounded, oversized collars. The cut-outs will be polarizing, but taken apart, even the experimental items were cut in quite simple proportions: It’s a blazer, a short, or a vest with a little something extra—and endless layering possibilities.