GARAGE's Best of 2020

A list of all the things that helped us get through this uNpReCeDeNtEd TiMe—from "First Cow" to the last Trump (presidential year).

by GARAGE Magazine
Dec 25 2020, 5:00am


MM6 x The North Face Collaboration
My favorite item this year were the fleeces from the MM6 x The North Face collection. It’s the sartorial equivalent of a peanut butter and soft cheese sandwich (don’t knock it till you try it)— it shouldn’t make any sense but it’s a match made in heaven. The circular cape is right up my very twisted street. — Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Fashion Director

We Are Who We Are
This coming of age drama created by Luca Guadagnino gave us a fresh young cast (led by Jack Dylan Grazer and Jordan Kristine Seamón), a peak Chloë Sevigny performance, and a soundtrack by Dev Hynes. The show tackled the ever-changing dynamics of friendship, family, sexual and gender identities, set against the dawn of MAGA. —Greg Krelenstein, Talent Director

Bad Bunny
This was the year of Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, better known as Bad Bunny—and THANK GOD FOR THAT. In February he dropped YHLGMDLG, which featured the heavenly-yet-filthy-in-the-best-way-throwback “Safaera.” Then, mid-quar, he went on Instagram live for hours and played a bunch of songs that had never been released—surprising everyone a few weeks later…by releasing them in the appropriately titled Las Que No Iban a Salir, which gave us the glorious feature with Nicky Jam, “Bad con Nicky.” THEN, as if that wasn’t enough, earlier this month he released El Ultimo Tour del Mundo (that’s three albums in one year!), which gave us collabs with Abra and Rosalía. Add to that all the amazing performances he pulled off this year (Billboard Music Awards with Ivy Queen!, riding around New York City on a truck!) and it’s obvious the Puerto Rican singer is responsible for so many of us surviving this year. —Laia Garcia-Furtado, Features Director

Meriem Bennani and Orian Barki’s 2 Lizards
I say this in the best way possible: Meriem Bennani and Orian Barki’s 2 Lizards is the artwork that I want to remember 2020 by. The surreal-yet-hyperreal Instagram video series about two CGI lizards surviving the early pandemic in New York City premiered in mid-March, and especially in the earliest months of lockdown, it felt so nice to feel seen by those freaking lizards. (Plus, I already feel like my brain has started blocking out memories from March and April, just whole chunks of time, inaccessible like a redacted government document—so in a weird way, now 2 Lizards also feels like a diary entry I can look back on to remember the high noon of COVID.) —Eileen Cartter, Social & Culture Editor


Isa Boulder for SSENSE
Isa Boulder’s collaboration with SSENSE was one of my favorite launches of the year. As a knitwear designer, watching her creative process unfold over instagram was such a joy to witness. Although I don't know Isa, somehow I'm so proud of what she's done and actually got emotional seeing her pour her heart into this capsule collection. A favorite for sure! —Jared Ellner, Associate Fashion Editor


Arcanum Magazine
The beautiful print and digital Arcanum Magazine, a global collective of Black creatives “making space outside the margins.” - Maeve Nicholson, Managing Editor


Room for the Moon by Kate NV
I'm a big fan of Russian composer Kate NV's whimsical new album, Room for the Moon. It's great to listen to when you're cooking dinner or just want to feel like you're floating around the solar system.  —Sophie Kemp, Editorial Assistant


Cosmo bag by Ratio et Motus
This bag by Ratio et Motus is perfect city bag! I customized mine with a crossbody strap so I can carry it around hands-free, but the real selling point on this bag is the smaller shoulder strap. I can adjust the length so it snuggles perfectly under my arm, and enables me to live all my Carrie Bradshaw fantasies. —Mclayne Ycmat, Art & Design Director

The Last Dance
Michael Jordan sitting down to tell the story of his life for The Last Dance was a dream come true for anyone who was breathing during the ’90s. While most documentaries wind up by unearthing the ways in which people who climbed to greatness are just like us, this six-part series seemed to prove that he really is simply extraordinary—Black excellence embodied. Plus the tea-spillage in the episode dedicated to Dennis Rodman provided boundless thrills. —Ashley Tyner, Special Projects Editor

I May Destroy You 
There really isn't much that hasn't already been said here about Michaela Coel’s HBO show I May Destroy You—an absolute masterpiece that shaped this year! —JE

The New Abnormal by The Strokes
A melancholic new album from The Strokes, the quintessential NYC 2000s indie rock band, dropped as the world went into lockdown became a eulogy for a city that will forever be changed. Recalling the hooks of their debut record, which came out after 9/11, it became an almost eerie comfort blanket in the sleepless pandemic nights of quar season one. —GK

A Cakewalk
A common phrase this year was “you aren’t working from home, you are working through a pandemic,” which is why I am 100% including a feature from GARAGE Issue 19: A Cakewalk, a short play written by Audley Puglisi, which we produced with an incredible group of recently graduated theater students (cast with the help of Jeremy O. Harris, whose own Instagram “Coronavirus Mixtapes” were a godsend this year), and in collaboration with Gucci, is truly one of the greatest things I’ve ever had the pleasure to be involved in. —LGF

@mensriceactivist’s TikTok compilations 
When I look back this year, I’m not sure what exactly I will remember. I do hope that somehow, within the vast chasm of anxiety, panic, and despair, I will be able to recall that I did also laugh a lot this year, to myself and especially to my loved ones through our screens. Many of those laughs came by way of the TikTok roundups curated by Ena Da, known on Instagram as @mensriceactivist. Hosted daily (sometimes twice daily) on Da’s Instagram stories, these ephemeral compilations have been a respite. It’s nice to laugh. —EC

Zoë Kravitz in High Fidelity
Zoë Kravitz's Rob in High Fidelity gave us excellent vintage tees, liberated sexuality, fluidity, and the kind of elitist musical taste that feels actually cool rather than irritating when wielded by marginalized people instead of straight white men. Whatever ways her character might have fallen short of the iconic, complex TV anti-heroism pioneered by the writers behind Tony Soprano, Carrie Bradshaw, and Don Draper, it was redeemed by its immediate bingeability on Hulu. And the fact that two Black women—Kravitz and an electrifying Da'Vine Joy Randolph—led the show in a first for originals on the platform. —AT

First Cow
First Cow, a movie in which you experience as wide a variety of emotions as 2020. —MN

Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan & Luster by Raven Leilani
Naoise Dolan’s Exciting Times and Raven Leilani’s Luster were my favorite debut novels of the summer. Both Dolan and Leilani have voices that are funny, cruel, and potent. I read them both at rapid speeds, and I'm so excited to see what these two brilliant writers do next. —SK

Baroque Pearl Necklace by Sentient Jewelry
These necklaces by Sentient Jewelry are made from one-of-a-kind baroque pearls, which unlike their more popular cousin, has an amorphous shape, making each necklace unique. I constantly get compliments every time I wear it! —MY

The Wasted Collective Sweatpants
This hellscape of a year has really made me realize how deeply I appreciate sweatpants, the most multi-purpose trouser option ever invented. Athleisure meant nothing to me until 2020. I’m digging the sustainably made matching sets from The Wasted Collective Founded by Ronald Akili of Potato Head. They’re now heavily in rotation. — GKJ

Shannon Cartier Lucy at Lubov
In early February, on one of the coldest days of the year, I trekked to Chinatown to check out Shannon Cartier Lucy’s show at Lubov, and it was absolutely worth the almost-frostbite on my fingers (I hate gloves). Her paintings are lonely and weird and they felt sort of like family. Then quar hit and I found that I kept thinking about them, though I am sure they would’ve been in my thoughts regardless. It was my favorite show this year. —LGF

Parasite winning the Academy Award for Best Picture
Parasite winning the Oscar felt like a prophetic prelude to the lessons of 2020. It reminded us that stories normally categorized as "foreign" are capable of touching global audiences and winning top awards because we all experience the same issues. Looking back, it also seems to have set the scene for this year's widespread call for anti-capitalist futures. —AT

The End of Fashion Week
This sounds incredibly dramatic, and I know that fashion week will resume at some point, but I'm so glad that the fashion industry had this time to pause and take a step back. The system has always been so unnecessarily overwhelming and taxing and I could not be more grateful that this year has forced the industry to take a seat. We love fashion but hopefully we're learning that we love our sanity, balance, and health more! —JE 


Pat McGrath Labs x Supreme
The perfect marriage of commerce and art—Supreme’s red lip bullet created by Pat McGrath, the most legendary makeup artist in the game, seemed like the collaboration that dreams are made of. It sold out in seconds, and will certainly be packed into the 2020 fashion time capsule. —GK

I love SKIMS, it’s true. Thanks to an ongoing work-from-home order, I was able to fully indulge in my love for cute loungewear. Cotton bralettes, ribbed tanks, fluffy shorts, thermal sweatpants—oh, I went in on them all, and I’ll forever remember them as my official quar uniform. —LGF

When Yet You Knew, You Still Knew Nothing by TT
I couldn’t tell you how many times I listened to TT’s mix over the past year. Created as a soundtrack for Dion Lee’s FW20 runway soundtrack, whenever I listen to it, I’m transported to the clouds. —MY


Collapsed in Sunbeams by Arlo Parks
Arlo Parks’ new album technically doesn't come out until 2021, but I'm going to cheat because it's Arlo Parks’ new album and I'm obsessed.  —MN

Gucci Fest, episode 1
I freaked out when I saw queer theorist Paul Preciado feature heavily in the Gus Van Sant-directed first video of Gucci Fest. I also freaked out when I saw Italian performance artist Silvia Calderoni wearing that goddamned perfect see-thru jumpsuit.  —SK

Cédre incense by Esteban Paris 
I was never a big fan of incense, but once I found Cédre, I’ve been burning the smoky scent one as a ritual almost everyday. Perfect for escaping my apartment without actually going anywhere. —MY

The Flight Attendant
Big ups to HBOMax and its algorithm for knowing me better than I know myself. Did I ever expect to enjoy a show starring Kaley Cuoco? No, no I didn’t. Perhaps it’s PTSD from my short-lived stint in Paris when The Big Bang Theory was the only readily available English language show but KC is a big trigger for me. And yet, HBOMax brought me “The Flight Attendant” and now here I am… stanning. — GKJ

Courtesy of Prada

Look 13 from Prada Spring/Summer 2021 
In my real life during these past ten months, I’ve pivoted to weird streetwear (part as a bit, part due to an unprecedented emotional need for armor). While my personal style has solidified itself, as one friend put it, “hard girl not soft girl,” in the recesses of my mind I still envy softness. Then, upon viewing Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’s first collection together for Prada, one look parked itself in my mind, an outfit for the future that exists somewhere in the middle: Look 13—with its hard neon and hole-y sleeves, over the soft lines of a mohair knit and a tea-length skirt—is cool and edgy, polished and feminine, all at the same time. It makes me think that maybe after all this, I will feel ready to wear a kitten heel. But then again, “after all this” remains to be seen. —EC

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“What is the Prada-Ness?”
The Prada Spring/Summer 2021 show was also very important because it brought us this impeccable moment during a Q&A between Miuccia and Raf. —LGF

Tabitha Brown’s Instagram account  
Tabitha Brown’s Instagram account, which I refresh daily to make sure I haven't missed a post because I need her energy, every day. —MN

The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
Yes, it’s true, there is a woman who is married to her step-grandfather, but that’s not even the most unhinged thing in this show where every conversation, every text message, every action, is a direct and incontrovertible representation of “you’re either with me or you are against me.” —LGF

Community dining
We’ve really had to look out for each other this year, to help make sure we all stay fed in more ways than one. “Community dining” is a phrase that sums that up to me: spontaneous food drop-offs to loved ones, park picnics, Instagram Live cooking tutorials, ordering from favorite restaurants to help them stay afloat, checking in with friends by asking what they’ve been cooking or eating, supporting mutual aid efforts like the Okra Project or Food With Fam that support those in need to have enough. Especially in cities, community dining also meant new appreciation for the Great Outdoors: while hanging out with others meant needing to be in well-ventilated, droplet-dispersing fresh air and outdoor (much less indoor) dining feels iffy, eating takeout sitting on a lawn is perfect. —EC


Trump losing the election
(Submitted by Maeve Nicholson and co-signed by everyone.)

i may destroy you
michaela coel
Luca Guadagnino
The Strokes
first cow
raven leilani
pat mcgrath
Arlo Parks
tabitha brown
Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
shannon cartier lucy
bad bunny
Zoë Kravitz