It seems we live in a world where artistic validation either comes in the form of insanity (lady gaga-esque style design and "art"), or in the form of some piece of paper - otherwise known as a "degree" - acquired after spending a few years stumbling through art/design/fashion school. Seperately, both these factors are enough to cause a certain level of annoyance, and disgust. Together however, they combine to form a force strong enough to break the will and dash the hopes of all self taught and practical aspiring artists/designers. Getting noticed as a designer without a degree nowadays is about as realistic as getting mauled by flying pigs, then robbed by one eyed leprechauns on a flying carpet (no offense to leprechauns or inhabitants of countries where flying carpets are the principal means of transportation). In less flamboyant words, one would have to be extremely lucky as it seems the odds are stacked heavily against anyone without a degree.
Sarcasm and poetic license aside, the ease with which millions of untalented individuals, inspired by the bright lights and fame ascribed to designers/artists in the media and through shows like "project runway", can apply to university and get a degree is quite infuriating and detrimental to the industry. A lot of these kids dive into university courses in design, with dreams of being the next big thing. A lot of them have realistic interests, but few are motivated by little beyond fame. Fewer still are aware of the various non-technical skills required to succeed as a designer. I do not mean to say universities are useless as a medium, far from it. What i feel however is that the general acceptance of university degrees as a measure of talent and ability in all things artistic is incredibly one-sided, blind and elitist, creating a closed society only accesible to those granted access (through a degree).
Some will be quick to suggest that degrees are indeed necessary as a standard of measurement in the industry, which I fully agree with. However, should the acceptance of such standards come at the expense of talented, self taught individuals who were unable or chose not to attend fashion/design schools? The answer is an emphatic NO, said with blaring trumpets and a full circus parade (elephants, fireworks and acrobatic monkeys included). This however is the case, with talented young individuals being overlooked simply because they lack the industry accepted qualification aka a degree in fashion/design/art. It seems the fashion world has been quick to relegate to history, the fact that most of its famous designers did not graduate from any fashion/design schools. The assurance of standards provided by this accepted measurement of talent is exactly what is turning the design world stale. The world of design needs the raw talent and unconfined imagination of the self taught minority. Except for a few, most design schools strip students of individual styles, imposing a collective identity and method of "doing things". Thus in order to stand out, many turn to the outrageous and downright ridiculous, with design shows looking increasingly like fantasy circus acts in dreamlands born of near toxic doses of hallucinogens.
In my opinion, talent should be recognised regardless of wether or not an individual graduated from the finest ateliers in paris, or simply sketched his work on paper while working the night shift at a 24hr grocery store. Luckily for me (and all other self taught asiring artists out there), this divide doesn't apply to all levels of design/fashion/art.....but that's for another day. I'll leave you with a preview of a new character for my tshirt line.
"What is retro-futuristic?" That's how i describe my design style and philosophy. I admit it might sound a bit weird, but it's quite easy to explain. Its simply a blend of the old, with a touch of the future (think 1940's-60's meet Tron....slight exageration but you get the point).
I grew up watching shows like "happy days", "the brady bunch", "mash", and reading books like "cheaper by the dozen", so i was exposed to 40's-60's style. Notice i'm hesitant to use the word "fashion". Why? Because fashion to me is all about being trendy and keeping up to date with trends. It's more about the brands and the constant changes in tastes. Style on the other hand, is timeless and unique. It's about having a signature look and aura.
I want Origami-Bandits to have a signature style, one that incorporates elements of the present and future, while remaining true to its roots. Retro-futuristic is an imagination of the 40's-60's style in a more modern world.
I somehow need to find a way to stem the steady stream of ideas that keep flowing into my head. Got a new concept involving japanese kanji for the september release......so far it's looking like an impressive line-up. Currently working on various new versions of my B-bowtie logo in the form of varsity badges.
Popped into the 'King of Paint' store in Bristol for some paint markers and spray cans. After a quick talk, they're interested in being involved with the show and having my shirts in store. Will see how it all pans out. Hopefully i can also get Weapon of Choice involved...which would be massive.
Also ran across a supreme motorcycle jacket from Pendleton x Opening Ceremony. Peep below.
Finally came up with a name for my tailored menswear. Settled on "La Revolte", french for "the rebellion". Was quite hard coming up with a name that fit the "Bandit" concept, but i quite like this. I'll stick with Jackets, cardigans and footwear, with the occasional backpack thrown in (don't really want to turn it into a full clothing line, at least not at the moment). Well, that's done, so here's my first offering: the Varsity "hero" jacket. Currently
Firstly, here's a link to a quick promo vid i made, from pictures of our practice photoshoot. http://tiny.cc/avp10
I finally decided on 2 additional graphics for my "mythology series". I finished the "Zeus/Hades" card a long time ago, but couldn't quite figure out what to do next. I picked something a little (a lot really) out of my comfort zone as it involves drawing realistic animals, which i'm not really good at. One piece will depict the slaying of the chimera by Bellerophon. I haven't quite decided on a name for the other yet but here's a sketch.
In other news, the guys at Weapon of Choice might be interested in showcasing/stocking some shirts. We'll have to see how that all pans out.
Still working on making that september release a reality. Might have a major announcement to make but i want to be patient and wait.....make sure it's definitely on before i go running my mouth. In the meantime, here's the various colour options currently available for the "Retro Rebel" graphic.
Retro Rebel colour options
They'll be some limited edition colour options (including a phantom all black on black shirt).
Just some shots of my work space....there's a little teaser of a sweatshirt graphic I'm working on for the september release.
I don't use a Mac....sue me. Alienware=raw power, that's all i need. Plus it stands out,...Bandit style :)
ImagineFX mags for reference/learning. Trackball (easier to use) Intuos4 graphic tablet= colouring only. (i draw everything by hand).
Shirt labels just got in a couple of days ago. The guys over at ScreenOne printing did a really good job on them.
L'art de la Revolte: Rebel With Pride.
A few people have asked why i chose to use a bowtie as my logo, and my response doesn't seem to quite cut it. The short answer is because its cool. Simple isn't it? Not quite, as most people expect a deeper meaning hides behind it, and those people are right.
I grew up with hip hop, listened to it, lived it, loved it. But the older i got, the less fun hip hop seemed to be. It started to get all serious, becoming more about "what you are" versus "who you are". It became loud, agressive and arrogant. People started losing themselves, pretending to be what they're not, attempting to fit in with the louder, and in my opinion, more ignorant crowd. It became more about showing off and putting on a front in an effort to gain "respect". The "bad man/gangster" mentality crept in, robbing hip hop of the fun aspect it once had. The word "swag" started to blind people, turning them into sheep ready to follow the hottest trends, the club scene blew out of proportion, and now the mainstream media wont play anything without a hot beat and a catchy hook.
A lot of people say my style isn't "street" simply because it isn't hip hop. Street culture to me represents more than just hip hop, it represents the skaters, the b-boys, the free-runners, grafitti, and everything else. It's a state of mind and an expression of self, not an expression of mass popular culture. Because Pharell wears a brand doesn't mean you have to go out and get it to look cool.....cuz that isn't cool. My style's a mesh of different forms of street culture. It's heavy on skate, hip hop and rock, with elements of high street designer fashion. Because I believe in individuality in thought, word and action, i try to put a limit on the number of pieces i make available for every design. It means a lot more work on my part as I have to draw fresh new pieces on a regular basis, but it's worth it.
The bowtie logo is simply an expression of fun, of being individual and unique, being "cool" in one's own way.