I’ve decided to embrace or rather admit my adoration for well executed fashion design. I suppose in working near to and socialising with people heavily involved in it up until now has put me off. Its fad based trend system has always seemed so unhealthy to me, obviously I am aware trends are in all areas of culture but within fashion it seems so destructive to me. High street fashion brands in particular are so often responsible for stealing uncredited ideas from creative subculture and thus responsible for the watering down of so many new ideas. Just one quick look on the Urban Outfitters website and you see a t-shirt with The Smiths logo and no mention of the band in the write up. Not the best example I know as the amount of smoke blown up Morrissey’s arse is equalled only by the amount of bollocks he talks out of it. I suppose it’s more about people with slogans and labels on their clothes that mean nothing to them but so much to other people. By reducing something purely to it’s aesthetic you have to deduct its meaning and that makes me feel a little uneasy. However my eyes have been opened up recently to a couple of designers that have really taken culture be it sub, their own or otherwise and championed it in a way that I have found truly inspiring.

Firstly Grace Wales Bonner and particularly her latest short film with photographer Harley Weir.

What strikes me most about the film is its positivity. It joins a contemporary and endearingly simplistic South African suburban setting with a young man moving in a way that both contradicts and compliments the surroundings. The way he dances creates a sense he is tailoring his own unique experience of the way he interacts with the spaces and places he visits. Perhaps however that is simply put what dance is fundamentally about? Either way the scenes of the group Gumboot dancing are what I liked the most. They were shot simply and unpretentiously presented so as to really give the dancers a chance to shine. What I take from this is the happiness particularly on the younger dancers faces which lead me to something else I was thinking about. I believe although my art may not have a distinct political voice it’s overriding influences although some more miserable than others all derive from entertainment. In making objects I believe to be aesthetically pleasing I am attempting to inadvertently, through a referential thought process, entertain and ultimately uplift people. In part wanting to raise people’s spirits is ultimately a reaction to a world you have deemed negative which is a socio-political choice in itself.

Secondly I wanted to mention Martine Rose:

 

What excites me so much about her work is her clearly studious knowledge of the subcultures she references. This image straight away shouts at me of heroes of mine and probably most people of my age the Wu Tang Clan. Particularly Method Man’s oversized colourful patchy North Face and Henry Lloyd style jackets he wore in the All I Need video. Before I adoringly re-watched the aforementioned video, on searching ‘Method Man 90s’ he is clad in a similarly oversized anorak. By utilising the technologies of Napapijri Martine has managed to create an exaggerated almost cartoon like version of these coats. Its seems to me she has perfectly re-created the embellishments that memory can trick you with sometimes. Watching those early Wu Tang videos as a kid I always imagined there was no end to how big they would wear their clothes. She has managed to use completely everyday standards of technical clothing design in a genius way creating something that seems unrealistic and dream-like. These garments, although I couldn’t wear them now, at one point they were literally the things of my dreams. Whats more they are perfectly in-line with ideas I am having about trend resurgence. Fashion design with its seasonal collections requires great deal of clairvoyance. Designs are decided in advance so predictions for buyer’s habits of the time must be accurate. Whats so great about these designs is they encapsulate memories of streetwear but also exist perfectly in a contemporary setting with a visionary approach.

Daniel Freeman