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Paolo Moreno's Chemical X



Boston University


Paolo Moreno's Chemical X

"Create Your Lens"

Barbara Kang


Walking down Commonwealth Avenue, one cannot be oblivious to the “X” stickers that decorate the signposts and light fixtures. Paolo Moreno, a rising sophomore at Boston University, and his brainchild, Chemical X, are ripping through Boston.

The young entrepreneur recounts the genesis of his now year-old streetwear brand.

“Since freshmen year of high school, I took an interest in fashion and streetwear," said Moreno. "With the street culture rising, I thought it was the move to make something with my friend, Pedro Monestier.”

Using his brand as a creative outlet, Paolo releases expressive collections with limited stock. His marketing is meager. He relies on word-of-mouth, the mysterious displays of “X” decals, staticky videos, and lookbooks comprised of 35mm film photographs.

Chemical X’s pieces are characterized in a diverse scope of skate-led sensibility and exquisite, sci-fi inspired graphics. Recent collection, "World Without Pain," consists of various pieces—from caps to ski masks—that incorporate a red rose.

“This motif can symbolize both love and death," Moreno said. "There’s a different balance in this world. Not everything is simply black and white or viewed in binocular lenses. It’s open to interpretation.”

The "X," a signature of Moreno's, is featured prominently on all of his products.

“It [the "X"] is supposed to be abstract," Moreno said. "We first come across the x that is usually the unknown variable in an algebraic equation."

His "X" may not have a fixed meaning, but the message that Moreno hopes to share through his brand is clear.

“I want people to get out of their seats and do something," Moreno said. "Create and impel. I’ve inspired a lot of individuals to start their own brands or even just buying their own camera to photograph. Art is a language, and I want to incentivize creativity.”

The progressive success of Chemical X is evident. Early March, Paolo Moreno signed with influential owner of Headliner and celebrity promoter, Phil The Mayor, to showcase Chemical X’s collection at APPT. ONLY. A highly exclusive shop in Wynwood district of Miami, APPT. ONLY was the pop-up venue for Chemical X on March 11. Phil hand-picked coveted pieces from brands such as DIEM, Bape, Defend Paris, Comme Des Garcons, and Alexander Wang. Paolo Moreno was the youngest streetwear designer to feature his pieces at Miami’s hottest spot.

The showroom “effortlessly bridges fashion and music and contributes to the social scene in the city” which parallels to Chemical X’s objectives.

“I released 15 exclusive tee-shirts with Louis Vuitton graphic for the pop-up," Moreno said. "A customer ended up buying a size that was too small for himself, so he resold the tee for a higher price to a kid who really wanted it. I see kids trying to steal their older brother’s clothing. That’s what keeps me going--those little things.”

His upcoming collection is called, "Antidote." Currently, two of his photographers are working with models in Paris. In addition, he plans on having a pop-up shop in Boston while featuring artists, Zack Hyman, also known as Base 10, and rapper, NAM. Further, Paolo endeavors to create an exhibition in congruence with his streetwear.

In early May 2016, I had the pleasure to attend a low-profile pop-up exhibition by Anti Social Social Club's founder, Neek. Located in a warehouse-turned gallery space in the arts district of Downtown Los Angeles, the exhibition featured an installation titled, “Self Doubts.” The “Self Doubts” exhibition consistently followed his brand’s play on themes such as emotion, turmoil, and depression. Featuring a customized Porsche that displayed Korean decal and glum confessions, the pop-up exhibition had limited, pink-themed merchandise sold in conjunction with the installations.

Similarly, Paolo is inspired by Cav Empt’s visually enthralling shows that display the epitome of youth and pop culture to create his own future exhibition. Examining streetwear culture at-large, Paolo Moreno’s Chemical X is cutting edge and attractive.

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