Tuesday, 18 March 2014
View the full article here.
Since its inception in 2006 the ITS ACCESSORIES awards, organised in partnership with fastening manufacturer YKK, has been a champion of young and innovative design talent. Past winners of the competition’s YKK award (a €10,000 cash prize which sees finalists integrate the company’s fastenings into their product) have shown that a plethora of creative possibilities lie in between the zipper’s two seemingly simple rows of metal teeth, from Percy Lau’s horizon-enhancing eyewear, to Benjamin John Hall’s resurrection-exploring footwear and Laura Amstein’s graphically-moulded accessories.
In anticipation of this year’s awards, the latest creative to interpret YKK’s fastening object is filmmaker Justin Hantz, who has previously worked with the likes of Kool A.D. and Islands alongside creating films for brands including Hex and Alien NYC. The resulting clip can be best described as a psychedelic, action animation trip.
The zipper is utilised as an active portal on this visually-stimulating voyage, revealing one dimension of 3D effects and trippy optical illusions after another, each one more intense and kaleidoscopic than its predecessor. Prismatic colours, geometric shapes and swirling zips collide with intensely saturated clouds, free-floating Grecian columns and spiralling vortexes along the way, proving once again the infinite possibilities of creation that one humble fastening can bring.
View the full article here.
Tuesday, 4 February 2014
Fashion and art photographer Billy Kidd discusses the transformative powers of decay, Renaissance art influences and the need for a reevaluation of beauty
New York-based photographer Billy Kidd, who has shot campaigns for the likes of Nike, Anthropologie and Eres plus photographed figures including Jeff Koons and James Franco, coincidentally discovered his craft whilst studying for a degree in computer engineering thirteen years ago. Entirely self-taught and the recipient of five PDN awards, Kidd has already exhibited his artistic endeavors at venues such as Clic Gallery and 10 Corso Como.
His sophomore solo exhibition, Transience, is a vivid visual study of beauty and mortality, placing the youthful curves of black and white nudes alongside heavily colour-saturated, yet simultaneously dying, flower still lifes. The fluid curves of the female body are mirrored in the soft shapes of wilting petals, both still bearing their organic imperfections, be it in the form of a birthmark on the lower back or veins tracing their way through the decaying floral matter. Following the opening of his show at Masters & Pelavin Gallery, Kidd sat down with AnOther to talk about the challenges of time in photography and the construction of beauty through life.
You decided to specifically pursue fashion photography early on in your career. Is there one favourite fashion image that still resonates in your mind today?
There is no one image but one man: Irving Penn. I especially like the portraits of his wife, Truman Capote, and his still lifes for Vogue.
What was the biggest challenge of creating this series?
Time was and still is the biggest challenge. I'm trying to catch these flowers at the right moment in between life and death. Too early and it's just a pretty picture of a flower, too late and you've lost the flower's character. Sometimes I would leave my camera pointed at a flower for days in front of a window waiting for it to sit just right.
How did your love of sculpture and Renaissance art influence the look of the nude photographs?
I think that comes out in my editing process. I'm a very organic shooter, often letting the model start to twist, turn and exaggerate her body. I'm sure subconsciously, the small directions I give send them into that realm, although in the editing process I often look for the more full bodies — the image you could feel with your hands.
The message behind the photographs is especially interesting given fashion's obsession with youth and Photoshopped perfection. Can you elaborate on the themes of beauty, decay and imperfection in this exhibition?
I feel we need to reevaluate how we link youth with beauty. As a flower dries and decays, the multitude of veins running throughout the petals and leaves begin to emerge in stark contrast to the body of the flower. The shape and feel of the flower is beautifully transformed in its maturity and eventual death. A shallow beauty can become a deeper, more fascinating beauty through life, akin to a pretty young girl becoming an even more beautiful woman who has realised that potential. You really do have to see the show in person. I arranged the images in such a way that the nudes of young women would reflect in the image opposite it, always a decaying flower and vice versa. My favourite combination is the duotone red/white rose which I have reflecting against the headless torso with a long scratch down her body. When standing in front of the nude, the flower perfectly reflects in the shadow of her body.
How do you find contrasts feeding into your work, i.e. beauty versus imperfection, youth versus death?
We have to be careful with the question because it implies that beauty is a constant. Imperfection is defined as an undesirable feature. Yet that undesirable feature may be the thing that another finds beautiful. So in a sense beauty can not be defined but can only be what that person believes beauty to be.
Transience marks the part one of a series, with the follow-up set to depict older women and seedlings. What can you tell us about this photographic sequel?
It's to drive home the fact that beauty is life, not youth.
Billy Kidd: Transience is at Masters & Pelavin, New York City, until December 7.
Sunday, 20 October 2013
After artistic endeavours like capturing New Mexico’s Indian summers for The Ghost Country, Jordan Sullivan’s latest project saw the Houston-born photographer leave behind the desolate American desert for the scenic splendour of Iceland.
The resulting volume one of his Wandering Days book series, A Young Earth, mixes Sullivan’s evocative landscape imagery and voyeuristic portraits with poetry, prose and historical fiction anecdotes. The photo-text novella tells the story of two twenty-something Americans attempting to come to grips with their own mortality, friendship and destructive love triangles of the past - all whilst trekking through the idyllic Icelandic landscape.
Dazed Digital caught up with Sullivan to speak about the recreation of forgotten family photographs, car breakdowns in the middle of the Nordic mountains and trips from heaven to hell and back.
Dazed Digital: Where did your inspiration for the story come from?
Jordan Sullivan: I don't usually work from inspiration, I just work every day. I do follow paths and ideas, and have always been interested in the idea of ending at another beginning - the end of youth, the end of love, what comes next, the new worlds we discover when we finally move on. I knew this story needed to deal with death, specifically dying young. My friends and I were confronting some of the same things the characters in my story are, at least with regards to getting older. The specifics of the story were a little hazy until I started shooting it and looking at the images. I tried to let the feeling I got from the final pictures guide me when writing the text, though I did have this dream of a guy driving his friend to the afterlife. They get in a car and drive to this dead end, the man drops his friend off and then drives back to earth.
DD: What were the most memorable moments during the production of this series?
Jordan Sullivan: Sleeping on the sides of roads, watching the yellow moon rise, running out of gas in the mountains in a snowstorm 200 miles from the nearest town, being in one of the most strange and beautiful places in the world with my best friends.
DD: What compelled you to create a novella as opposed to a photography-only book, and how did the creative process differ when thinking about the combination of text and image, as opposed to just the visuals?
Jordan Sullivan: I have always had an interest in the interaction between image and text. I love stories and fiction. Growing up, I was always reading and watching films. I sometimes feel more like a writer or storyteller than an artist or a photographer. The Young Earth is as much a novella and a poem as it is a photography book in my mind. The challenge was to create images that illustrated the feeling of the story rather than just the action or the plot. The book needed to flow like music in that way.
DD: How did the surroundings of Iceland inspire you as an artist and why did you decided to set the story in this specific location?
Jordan Sullivan: Iceland is one of the youngest bodies of land in the world, so it seemed to have potential to act as this mirror for the inner lives of my characters, both of whom were leaving their youth. The story needed to be shot in an empty and open space, as well as a very beautiful space, and I didn't want to shoot it in America. I wanted these men to be in a completely foreign place. I wanted to go somewhere I had never been before as well, a place I couldn't imagine. Iceland is a place one would go on vacation and that was important because the two men in this book are very much on vacation in some ways, albeit their last. Iceland is a realistic place that they would visit, and realism is at the core of all my work.
Those were always the most beautiful to me. In some ways I imagine some of the pictures in The Young Earth as those photographs - the forgotten ones, the ones that didn't make it in the family or vacation album. I wanted this story to sort of be like this mundane document of a vacation that turns into this whole existential and tragic thing. I really love that film Gerry by Gus Van Sant, where these two friends just go hiking and get lost and the film becomes this massive portrait of life and death and survival, but in this really quiet and understated way.
DD: Does shooting the images in 35 mm and Polaroid as opposed to digital film make the process feel more precious in a way, or was there another reason for choosing this medium?
Jordan Sullivan: When I shot this a year ago, I didn't really know how to use a digital camera and didn't own one. 35mm was all I really knew how to shoot. Also, my vacations with my family were always shot on film, so I wanted to bring that quality to the book. Both the characters in the story are children of the film era, children of the 90's.
DD: In the images human and nature, the tiny object and the panoramic landscape appear to contrast one another. What was your intention when using these two ‘opposites’ throughout the series?
Jordan Sullivan: I wanted the pictures to seem as if they were shot from multiple perspectives - first, second, and third - so I needed vast, intimate and omniscient views. Some pictures could be from the narrator's perspective, others from the earth's perspective. There's very much a back and forth between the portraits and landscapes. I wanted the images in the book to sort of grow like a vine, tangling all these people and places together. The characters in the story are trying to connect with themselves, the world and their past. I wanted to express that pictorially through all these different juxtapositions of people and nature. Also, the idea of time in a landscape is very interesting to me. My friend Emma Phillips, who is a wonderful landscape photographer, introduced me to this, and I really thought about it a lot when making The Young Earth, as well as the ways in which a place or a person can trigger a memory. A place can very much embody the feeling of a person and vice versa. We are always existing in so many places at once; the present and the past, our internal and external spaces, are constantly colliding wherever we are. The narrator of the story is simultaneously exploring all these parts of the world and himself. He's coming to grips with the inevitable death of his best friend, looking at this foreign place, roaming through landscapes, investigating the history of that land, and recalling his own history, the things he's buried, forgotten and been too afraid to confront.
DD: How do you see the overarching themes of mortality, friendship, love, youth and beauty portrayed in the final images?
Jordan Sullivan: The last chapter of the book is my favourite. It's filled with light and joy. It's a beginning of sorts. I wanted the end to be a celebration filled with hope and light and colour. I love that scene in Akira Kurosawa's Dreams where the funeral procession is a parade with singing, dancing and laughter. The Young Earth is in many ways a celebration of endings and death.
DD: What can we expect next from the Wandering Days series?
Jordan Sullivan: Wandering Days is a quartet of books. The second I finished shooting in NYC recently, the third will be shot in Naples, Italy this summer, and the fourth will be shot in the southern United States. It should keep me busy for a while.
Jordan Sullivan's The Young Earth is published 31 October, available for pre-order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
For print sales please contact Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art: www.phhfineart.com.
For print sales please contact Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art: www.phhfineart.com.
Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
Upon entering the abandoned car park venue of the SIKI IM SS14 show, it became evident that this wasn't just going to be your run-of-the-mill, three-piece suit routine.
Instead, models appeared to have just (stylishly) escaped from the psych ward — Saran wrap adornments and all. The collection, entitled Remorse, was inspired by the themes of crime, judgement, guilt and regret, as well as the following excerpts from Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment:
"He was standing over the river, he may have sensed a profound lie in himself and in his convictions. He did not understand that this sense might herald a future break in his life, his future resurrection, his future new vision of life.He looked at his fellow convicts amazed: how they, too, all loved life, how they valued it! It precisely seemed to him that in prison they loved and valued it even more, cherished it even more than in freedom.If he has a conscience he will suffer for his mistake. That will be punishment—as well as the prison."
The collection took on garments otherwise reserved for wear in penitentiaries and hospitals but liberated them into becoming something more: medical scrubs transformed into silky nylon tunics and straitjackets into slim-cut blazers.
Paper-nylon raincoats hung asymmetrically off of the body as if to hint at the sense of dysfunction present within its wearer, a majority of the cuts were "oversized like prison uniforms", and as an ode to the body art of the incarcerated, Im collaborated with tattoo artist MxM Maxime Büchi on a range of tattoo prints for the season.
All in all, this collection managed to take on a very poetic, and at times disturbing, subject matter and translate it into beautifully thought-provoking pieces.
Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
As a freelance photographer for The New York Times, Tisch School of the Arts alumni and NYC resident for almost 21 years, it's safe to say that Hiroyuki Ito knows his artistic way around the city. His latest exhibition sees the Tokyo-born creative bring together both geographical aspects of his life.
In A Clueless Spectator, Ito captures the diverse moments of everyday urban life, whereas Red Rain follows him on a journey as he revisits his home country for the first time in 20 years following events of tragic personal loss. However different their themes may seem, both exhibitions offer a chance to experience the photographer's poignant and striking imagery.
How did you first get involved in photography?
After I moved from Tokyo to New York in 1992. It was one of the random classes I took when I was a freshman at college.
In the exhibition intro to A Clueless Spectator you wrote: 'I photograph almost mechanically with no sense of emotion'. Can you elaborate on this statement?
I try not to place an emotional emphasis on what I photograph. Things already are what they are before I run into them.
Especially your Red Rain series draws on a lot of personal and painful experiences. How does this vulnerability feed into your work and how does it feel to publicly portray this side of yourself?
As a photographer I shoot out of joy most of the time. Obviously it wasn't fun to shoot my father's funeral but I could have been more devastated if I weren't able to digest what was going on by the sheer act of photographing what I experienced. It wasn't a personal art project. Things happened and I kind of had to react. To this day, I can't exactly judge the Red Rain series objectively. But I have never lived my life objectively, so...
How do the A Clueless Spectator and Red Rain series stand alongside each other?
They are basically the same thing. Looking at Red Rain and A Clueless Spectator side by side, I was struck by how unoriginal my visual style is if I ever had one. I never invented any new vocabularies of photography but used what was available. But again, I was never big on originality. I don't mind talking out of stolen cliches.
What would you like readers to take away from both exhibitions?
Even after answering these questions, I am not even sure of what these pictures are for. But somehow I desperately want people to see my photographs. What is my problem?
“Red Rain” and “A Clueless Spectator”: Two Series by Hiroyuki Ito
September 3 to October 10, 2013
New York, NY 10003
Read the full article here.
Thursday, 5 September 2013
Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
The term professional networking mostly conjures up memories of formal cocktail parties, uptight board meetings or in some amusing instances, drunken nightclub encounters. Now, one online platform is looking to change that.
Enter Creators Connect, a multi-faceted online community for one-off and long term creative collaborations, all housed under twelve different categories ranging from digital to holistic endeavors. This week marks the relaunch of the site with a slick new template courtesy of Common Space Studio.
Just in time for the event, Creators Connect founder and CEO Marlo Kronberg sat down to discuss how dubious Craigslist postings sowed the seeds for the project, the advantages of digital networking and why creative collaboration brings out the genius in everyone.
What inspired you to start Creators Connect?
The idea initially came to me when I first moved to NYC in 2009. I wanted to be a magazine editor and was doing all of these magazine internships, feeling like my ideas had no currency. I desperately wanted to start my own magazine called Subbacultcha, with each issue infiltrating a different international subculture – from Japanese Ganguro girls, to shamans, to gypsies to international Elvis impersonators. Basically the raddest magazine in the world. Unfortunately, I didn’t necessarily know the people yet who wanted to make this happen with me. I felt like my big idea was going to waste.
Around this time, I was also always looking for ways to help out on photo shoots and films in order to broaden my horizons and support people who were doing things I believed in. I would search the Craigslist creative gigs section, but it was always full of postings looking for nude models (not in the good way) or video hoes. It was then that I first thought, “I wish there was a trustworthy, tasteful place online where people could post looking for creative collaborators”. Then I got a job as features editor at OAK NYC’s magazine, OAKAZINE, and we were always looking for stylists, make up artists, writers, etc. Again, I constantly wished my dream website existed.
I know my purpose in life is to help and support people in making their ideas a reality. I’ve always thought I was a fin de siecle salon den mother in a past life. It all kind of clicked one day that this crazy website idea might, in fact, be my true path. The rest is history.
What is the concept behind the site?
People who get into a creative flow on a regular basis are happier and when you find somebody you gibe with on the creative wavelength it’s an incredibly intense and sacred relationship. There are a million websites for finding romantic relationships – why none for finding creative kindreds? I want Creators Connect to be a champion for all humans who want to make cool things happen and meet like-minded people.
Even if someone already has a tight-knit network of really talented friends, sometimes that special person who will take their work and ideas to the next level is across the ocean. That’s why Creators Connect is international and you can see whether a posting accepts locals only or international collaborators.
It’s really important for different kinds of creators to cross-pollinate and help each other out. In this day and age, all the creative disciplines are getting increasingly bridged and informing each other. Because of this, we have categories for photography, music, film, writing/editing, fashion, web/digital, design/fabrication, performance, holistic, food/drink, and etc, and postings can be posted to more than one category.
The main thing when formulating how this site would function was that I wanted it to be really simple, with no need to put together a portfolio or answer a million questions. If you need someone for a project immediately, you post on Creators Connect and people who are available or interested will respond. You will get results. Plus, we’re invite only and people have to write about themselves in order to be considered for membership so there’s no spammers or shady stuff going on. There are profiles too, so users can further gauge if a poster is a good creative match before contacting them.
What makes Creators Connect unique in comparison to regular networking tactics?
A lot of creative collaborators meet each other by chance, which is an inviolably beautiful thing, but we’re in the age of the internet. It’s normal these days to first connect with lifelong friends online. The old John Lennon and Paul McCartney meeting as teenagers in Liverpool story is rare, and a lot of people are not reaching their potential or making their great ideas happen because they don’t have the right people around them yet, helping and inspiring them to get to the next level.
Also, if you’re an introvert or lack conviction in your ideas, sometimes it’s hard to immediately attract all the people you need in your life. Creators Connect makes it easier to get started on the ideas you might be too shy or unsure of to actually approach people about.
Plus, sometimes you have a very specific need and here you have a shot at finding someone who might not be in your friend group but would be willing to help you out in exchange for being a part of something they believe in.
What is it about the art of collaboration that you find so inspiring yourself?
Creative collaboration brings out the genius in everyone. Creative partnership is a lot like romantic love, and just as important in my opinion. To get the same references, to share the same sensibilities or have complementary sensibilities, to build off of each other and end up with something bigger and more powerful than both of you – that’s magic.
How can people get involved and what plans are lined up for this project develop in the future?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with some info about yourself to be considered for invitation. We soft launched in March and have close to 800 members now. Recently Alec Friedman, who is the epitome of a creative connector, came on board to shape and build a Creators Connect brand culture. We have our insanely beautiful relaunch coming out this week and some other interesting things up our sleeve to be revealed soon.
Hopefully some time in the near future we’ll branch out into an online magazine showcasing the work of our users and put on more events that champion the creative community. Eventually I hope Creators Connect grows to be a huge champion of creative communities around the world and a source of inspiration to many. ¡Viva la Creación!
Lately we’ve been glued to our screens thanks to the work of film writer/director/producer Lucy Luscombe, who has recently garnered accolades such as the BFI Future Film Award and Outstanding Female Talent Award at Underwire Festival for her work. From the trials and tribulations of a young gymnast in Candy Girl to late night occurrences in a Dalston kebab shop inAgain Sometime, the CSM graduate’s films offers a captivatingly honest insight into the everyday challenges of human existence.
Twin spoke to the promising talent about her earnest beginnings, the inspirational factor of failure and the future of the British film industry…
What initially sparked your interest in film?
I’ve always been interested in ‘moments’; creating or recreating them. I remember finding a lot of fleeting situations/moments significant growing up and sounding pretty spacey when trying to explain why. In film you can take that moment, light it, slow it down, blow it up and say ‘that’s why’. Equally, if you’re told ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ a lot, film is a good place to sweat it.
What was the first piece of cinematic work you ever made?
I made a lot of questionable video art at St Martins: a lot of raw meat, wedding dresses and Bataille. Pretty earnest stuff. A highlight was ‘My womb/ the mosh pit (Beat down)’. Not sure how cinematic it was.
Sum up your style of directing in three words.
One. More. Take.
How has working as an actress informed your work?
I know how to talk to people and get the performance I need. I don’t force anything because I know what that feels like as a performer. I’m better at reading the person when they walk through the door and knowing what they can give me or what they can’t – that’s the foundation and the performance is the surprise.
From late nights in Dalston to coming-of-age flicks, there is a very personal sense to your work. How much of your films would you say is autobiographical and where do you get the inspiration for your work from?
I’d like to think my work is quite human and that comes from a personal place or from listening to people, properly. I suppose I’ve also always been fascinated by failure – it’s managed to seep through a lot of pieces and like anyone who’s serious about making art and making sacrifices for it, they’ll know that’s personal.
Since your early beginnings, how have you seen the London film industry develop?
The old gatekeepers have lost a bit of dough and there are new exciting funding bodies who want to make interesting work, whether it’s through brave brands or online magazines. Specifically in features, where once you needed a lot of money, there is now cheap equipment that allows you to tell the story you want without going through a funding application process that wants to know everything from your grandparents’ ethnicity to your sexual orientation. Theres a ‘get up and go’ mindset emerging, most notably from filmmakers such as Tom Schkolnik (The Comedian). Sure, there’s an issue with quality control but there are great curators out there . If you wanted to make ‘The Fast and the Furious UK edition’, however, I think the British film industry would be a bad place to start.
In the day and age of rom coms and reality television, how important do you think it is for film to tackle serious subject matter such as human existence, identity and disillusion?
There has always been banal entertainment and who am I to tell Joe Bloggs what he should watch when he gets home, I don’t know what kind of day he’s had, and if it’s been pretty shitty I wouldn’t judge him for watching TOWIE to switch off. Film/television/theatre/musicals can offer an interlude to be numbed or moved, enlightened or educated. My interest lies in questions of human existence, identity and disillusion, but that’s my privilege and laughing at Kim Kardashian’s swollen ankles is Joe Bloggs’s.
What are your future projects, goals and plans?
I’ve got some music videos and a fashion film coming out which I’m pretty excited about. There’s also a beautiful short story I’m adapting to keep me fresh while developing a feature.
Founded in 2003, Y-3 (the 'Y' representing Yohji and the '3' corresponding with Adidas' three iconic stripes) was one of the first labels to actually design sportswear, as opposed to purely looking at its functionality. Apart from fusing innovative sportswear technology with Yamamoto’s avant-garde creations, Y-3 also embarks upon artistic projects season after season, including floating runways and laser light shows. The brand’s latest endeavour sees Y-3 packaged into 150 square metres of futuristic retail space for the label’s second London store in Covent Garden, which opens today.
In honour of the label’s tenth anniversary, Dazed Digital looks back at the untold stories behind the most striking campaigns in Y-3’s history.
The “synthetic energy” of urban life is reflected in the surveillance camera-like imagery and colour-saturated cityscapes of McDean’s campaign, echoing the Dan Flavin-esque presentation of the SS 09 collection.
Coinciding with the 2010 World Cup, this campaign features laser-cut pieces inspired by the moment when a soccer ball hits the net and is presented on the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Mr. Yamamoto himself.
They say there’s no second chance to make a first impression and Y-3’s premiere campaign, shot in the Peruvian desert, did not disappoint. Jones’ energetic photography fittingly sets the collection’s work wear details, eastern folklore-inspired colour palette, soft nappa leathers and constructivism-derived prints against a barren landscape backdrop.
Sorrenti’s graphic imagery solidifies the sleek urbanite feel of Y-3’s functional yet elegant aesthetic. The black and white garments represent a pure Yohji design mentality, the three stripes make a cheeky right corner appearance and legendary creative director and Y-3 collaborator Doug Lloyd gives the imagery his quintessential polish as well.
Schorr describes her collage campaign as being “inspired by the modernist literature and architecture that is in itself a fusion of political and architectural mantras, both dreamy and concrete”. Entitled ‘The Precipice’, the resulting imagery explores the relationship between the human body and its environment through a fictious travelogue and 1960s Brasília.
Karmen Pedaru (dressed in the season’s sharply-executed menswear) makes her way through a giant video landscape for McDean’s take on the interplay between fantasy and reality, natural exploration and the electronic age.
The soft silhouettes of the season melt into one trippy structure thanks to the techniques of visual artist and Dazed Collaborator Pierre Debusschere, showing off the creative’s Iceland - and Northern Lights - inspired digital work alongside the styling of Jay Massacret.
Seeing as Yamamoto’s collections have traversed us from places like Mongolia to England, it was only a matter of time before a Y-3 campaign explored the art of travel. ‘Beneath, Between, Beyond’ combines the landscape photography of David Benjamin Sherry with Schorr’s depiction of two internally daydreaming travellers, capturing the sense of losing oneself in both travel and love.
Through stark, black and white photography, Sorrenti delves into the purist side of things for his first Y-3 campaign. Despite the collection’s initial designs of digital floral prints and billowing shapes, the final images possess an undeniably sharp and precise focus.
Jones’ last campaign for Y-3 was inspired by the most pivotal dance movements of the 20th century, from New York disco to Argentinian tango (energised with a splash of fiery orange nonetheless). The athletic collection didn’t only mark a collaboration with Adidas global creative director Michael Michalsky, but also marked the brand’s first show in New York.
AW11 proved to be another showcase of McLellan’s trademark British sensibility and taste for subcultures - after all, the man did get his start depicting club goers in Leeds during the late 90s. This time, his army of choice are wool coat-cocooned models, photographed in the gritty surroundings of Hudson River Park.
Whether it was workwear overalls, slashed punk jeans or Daisy Duke cutoffs, denim has always been labelled as the most democratic of fabrics. However, since its founding in 2003, Superfine has managed to propel this everyday basic to stylish new heights, gaining a cult like status among premium denim fans. The brand’s SS 13 collection ‘War & Peace’ puts a light yet luxurious spin on utilitarian dressing with camouflage-printed leather trousers, chambray chino jumpsuits and cargo jodhpurs.
Twin spoke to its founder Lucy Pinter about political fashion, the label’s upcoming ten year anniversary and what puts the ‘super’ in Superfine…
What inspired you to start Superfine?
I was a stylist in London and wanted a skinny jean to work with (and wear). I also wanted something clean; at that time there were only distressed bootlegs available. The Ramones were my inspiration.
You mentioned the importance of the SS 13 collection reflecting our tumultuous times. Should fashion be political?
Good question. To be honest I usually avoid any politics in my work but last season it just seemed difficult to avoid, as the doom was everywhere. Usually for me it’s about something simple. Fashion is not conceptual or deep. I make what I want to wear. That’s it. But I totally understand and respect people that bring political statements to their work. It can be a good way to voice your opinion.
How would you sum up the collection in one sentence?
A strong, vibrant, rock ‘n’ roll collection with military feel.
What were the challenges of creating this season’s range?
The colours were completely new. I had agents screaming for them so I went for it, but it’s a challenge to see such strong colours in development. I’m more into neutrals in general. We also had some heavy laundry trips and getting the washes right was challenging.
Superfine started off as a very denim-focused brand. What has the process of broadening its design horizons been like?
It’s been a very natural progression to be honest. Again, it’s just about what I like to wear. Denim will always be my first love, but I do love covering all bases. It’s more challenging to design a full collection.
What makes the perfect pair of jeans and what do high-end brands offer that the high street cannot?
A perfect pair of jeans is the jean that makes you feel good, the one you throw on with anything for any event. It’s about the fit, wash and details. High end brands (mine anyway) offer a small manufacturing feel that huge production can’t — it’s in the details. Superfine has lasered print pocket linings in good fabrics (the print design changes every season), we have personalised zips in different colour zip tape for each collection, use the highest quality fabrics and don’t bulk buy cheap. I think it’s absolutely incomparable.
What projects do you have lined up for the future?
We have a 10 year anniversary coming up. Watch this space!