Here at Instinct’s, we are great admirers of Wolf & Rita and its accurate arty spirit. During last Playtime Paris, we could have a chat with Claudia and Sonia Rocha, the co-founders of the brand. Warm thanks to them !
Instinct : Could you tell us about the mood of Wolf & Rita SS17 and FW17 collections ? Claudia :For SS17 season, we had a collaboration with Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. It was amazing : his team allowed us to look into the archives and make a selection of favorites ! Our SS17 collection pays tribute to Louise Bourgeois and the FW17 collection is inspired by 3 artists : John Baldessari, Shoji Ueda and Eduardo Matos. We are inspired by artist’s works and art of living. We love playing with art references. This is part of our DNA.
Wolf & Rita x J.C. Castelbajac
Instinct : Yes, your themes and prints are always surprising, full of visual inventions. Your colour ranges are very original too ! Claudia :Probably because we are very free when designing our collections : we like to surprise ourselves and create something new out of the creations of these great artists we get inspired!
Instinct : The brand started with a family story. Could you describe the way you work (how is organized the work process between you, is your dad helping… ?) Claudia :I work on the creative part in tandem with Carlos, our photographer. For example, for FW17, I painted some peanuts and Carlos took a picture of them. Then we rearranged it to create an all-over print. Sonia deals with the commercial activity. Our dad continues working in his shirt factory; he doesn’t properly work with us.
Instinct : What is your feeling about fashion industry these times : whereas brands are more and more conscious of the waste caused by fast fashion, few of them seam to really take account of the emergency. Most of the time, greenwashing is the only response. Do you see any rays of hope ? Claudia :Yes, for sure. I have the feeling that more and more brands are concerned with environmental and social issues, and are actually involved in ethical and transparent processes. Hopefully they’ll become drivers for the whole textile industry.
Instinct :New brands (especially for kids) have been blossoming recently in Portugal. There seam to be a new energy here. Claudia :A lot of brands come to Portugal because they are concerned with good work conditions or because they don’t want their production to be done too far. It’s easier to stay close to check all the steps of manufacturing. Even if the prices are a bit higher, Portugal is pretty attractive and there is a genuine savoir-faire here. This can be one of the reasons why new brands set up here.
Wolf & Rita team at Playtime (Carlos, Claudia, Nuno and Sonia). Images from Wolf & Rita SS17 collection
Instinct : Wolf & Rita is fully committed into local economy, it’s one of your main values… Claudia :Yes, indeed. Everything is done the most locally possible. The knits for example are made 10 minutes from our headquarters. It’s a choice : it’s important to us to support work in the area we live; preserving jobs is a key to create a dynamic for all the social life around.
Instinct : Who are the children of your lookbooks ? Claudia :They are the kids of the family. They are the first users of the clothes, so they test their comfort and the wear-resistance of the fabrics !
Instinct :And it’s very nice to see them grow up through your collections ! Last question : You just launched a Man / Woman capsule. New perspectives for Wolf & Rita ? Claudia :The main focus is and will be kidswear. But we want to bring some novelties every season. It could be homewear, Man and Woman. We will try to have news for our customers every season.
Discover Schéma‘s alternative processes, where photography becomes painting & drawing becomes photography.
With Vassili Brault, the founder, we are talking about time to wander around, time for mistakes and readjustments, and the transfer of emotion happening between the hand and the object.
Schéma – Collection n°1
Instinct : Hello Vassili, could you first tell us a little bit more about yourself, and you’re identity coming through your body of work ? Vassili Brault :I have a very diverse background. I spent 7 years in New York city before going back to France. I went from art direction to photography before ending up with film direction, that I have been approaching as a combination of both previous practices, especially in advertising.
I have always been working on personal projects on the side as well, artistic projects. What once was just some kind of laboratory for my ideas slowly became the primary focus, taking more and more room in my daily practice, until I found myself embracing this shift in my career.
My work explores the possibilities of photography as a medium using mainly collage and détournement. I focus on what charges and resonate emotionally when overlaid or crushed together. I explore transformations, collisions, sometimes in a a dramatic way, sometimes just in a grotesque or humorous manner. I believe the essence of what we call identity quite often lies in a patchwork of all these collisions, I study their staining, their impregnation, the points of contact.
Sometimes I find it still hanging. I then look for mediations, what preexists and what is visible, like the beginning of a scenario or the small pieces of a catastrophy wanting to happen, just waiting for all its protagonists.
Instinct : What is the process behind Schéma, the concept ? Vassili Brault :Schema is an exposure platform and publishing house for art photography. We work mainly with alternative photographic processes and in collaboration with contemporary artists to produce limited edition prints.
The project finds its origin in the will to create an attractive hub for quality work, surrounded by artists that are sensitive to the materials, the processes and the end result. We explore new territories together, pushing our limits and hopefully theirs along the way, reconciling yesterday’s techniques with today’s topics.
We also wanted the whole approach to be transversal, since mediums quite often cross each other, or mimic each other in today’s production. We saw photography become painting, drawing become photography… For that matter, the images that comprise our collections are often produced using a variety of mediums, even if the final print will always be the result of a photosensitive reaction.
Schéma – Collection n°1
Instinct : How is the notion of “time” important in Schema’s bias ? Vassili Brault :First of all because some of the techniques we use are extremely labor intensive. We are bound to time by the very nature of these processes. In order to do well you have to put a lot of work into it, fail then try again, give up then come back to it, until eventually you start understanding what is going on, until you start mastering one technique out of hundreds.
Second of all, and this one is more personal, because I believe the emotional load of an object finds its strength in the attention given to its production. I believe there is a transfer of emotion happening between the hand and the object. Losing the hand allows to save time of course, but it will most likely make you lose this emotional load as well.
I know this opinion is not shared by all but it is what we and our artists stand for.
Instinct : What know-how do you want to showcase as much in the work as in its support ? Vassili Brault :I am not sure I can point at one thing in particular but we are surrounded by artists, artisans, framers, printers doing a remarkable job. We have been thinking the end result and the approach as a whole, everything is handmade by the order, here in Paris, with the care and attention to detail that makes every piece a noticable objet.
Instinct : What is Schéma’s artistic signature ? Will all the artists presented be in the same vein ?
Vassili Brault :Schema works on a collection basis with each collection acting as a conversation between the images, with its own topics and mediations.
Everything from the selection of images, the processes, the framing options is bound to each collection. From one collection to the next we can find already published artists or new ones, but it is a new conversation starting, with a new topic at stake.
Instinct :What values do you want to share ?
Vassili Brault :The idea of time I guess, time to wander around, time for mistakes and readjustments. I believe we are impregnated by everything, nothing should ever be thrown away. There is some sort of constant result requirement today, an ever growing sense of immediacy. It brings a lot of distress, especially for people that are not built this way, it becomes like an unattainable goal.
I believe it acts as a smoke screen too, a mad race allowing us to avoid what should be essential. We should accept that some things require a lifetime practice, like learning to remain curious, learning to remain alive.
Starting next week, 3 new artists will join the collection.
Andorine is a luxury lifestyle brand for children born in 2015. We love its sophisticated materials, its mysterious universe, its dreamlike stories taking us on different journeys each season. During Playtime Paris, we were lucky enough to meet Maria Lito, who founded the brand with Luisa Amorim. Thanks a lot Maria for this so nice moment !
Andorine’s SS17 collection
Instinct : How do you imagine your collections ? Maria :We develop our collection, our own collection : we try to follow trends, colours, of course, but we try to create our own identity. There is a team of designers and Luisa & I coordinate everything. We start with a moodboard where we choose colours, samples of fabrics. Every season is built on a story : for FW17 it is “The Song of Winter”, a sweet tale in Russia.
Instinct : How is structured the work between Luisa and you ? Luisa runs a winery, so how can you deal with both activities ? Maria :It’s not easy to do everything, so we share the work : I am more into the creative part, Luisa is more into the contact with the agents and the commercial part of the business.
Instinct : You worked as an architect for many years. How does this influence the way you design clothes ? Maria :As you can see, our designs have a simple architecture : they are pretty neat and accurate in terms of shape. I like to focus on striking fabrics and unexpected details to give the clothes a soul.
Maria on Playtime in front of one of the pictures for FW17 collection + looks of SS17 collection
Instinct : Could you tell us how you chose your manufacturers ? Maria :We design and produce everything in the North of Portugal. We have all the skills here and the printers are most of the time a lot better than in Asia, so there is no reason we should go elsewhere ! We are close to the factories, which means time saving, less pollution and no taxes to pay due to transport. We visit every factory we work with. We present here our 3rd collection, so we know each other better now and the collaboration is fluid.
Instinct : Is the economical context getting better in Portugal ? Maria :I think it is, yes. In the textile industry, after difficult years when many production lines were transferred to Asian countries, lots of brands come back to Portugal now because they don’t have quality problems and because it’s easier to follow the whole process from creation to final product. And it’s not much more expensive. The question of price, which was a problem before, is not anymore. This decision is positive in Asia too because it encourages Asian textile industry in the direction of thoughtful design and production standards raising. An other positive sign is that although Portugal is not well-known for design, new brands with a sharp design are appearing these times, which draws the whole industry upwards. So I think we are gaining strength again.
Instinct : Do you see any signs of changes around you : are customers more and more asking for sustainable or eco-designed products? Maria :Yes, definitely ! More and more people are aware of environmental issues and labour conditions, and they know their decision of purchasing or not a product has an real impact. This is not the only reason why people choose Andorine’s clothes -there are many factors of course- but we believe that our way of producing is important to them. We are proud of this.
Huge crush on Gosoaky, the joyful and sustainable rainwear brand ! We met Gosoaky’s loveable owners during Playtime and had a very pleasant chat with the head designer Urs Hasham. Read it below. Warm thanks to Urs, Johanna and Fleur !
Models from Gosoaky SS17 collection
Instinct : Gosoaky’s first collection was launched last year (for spring summer 2016). How is it going today? Urs : It’s going pretty well ! We are now present in 200 shops around the world (Australia, Japan, South-Korea…) and very happy to see that more and more people like our products !
Instinct : “Elephant Man”, “Crouching Tiger”, “Hidden Dragon”, “Roger Rabbit”… Your models are named after films. Could you tell us the story behind this? Urs : I just wanted to name our items after something boys and girls both like. So Car names or names of princesses were no option and since our totem is a Penguin (called Mac) I thought it was best to use animal names… and I added a little twist to make them a bit funny and in the same time to give the items their own idendity. The fact that some of them echo to films is not that important to me, I just wanted names that kids would love… and they are !
Instinct : We love the simplicity and the freshness of your designs (especially the bright bold stripes !). How do you imagine each collection : is there a theme, a guiding thread when deciding about the colours for example? Urs : There is no special theme actually, the work is very intuitive! I like simple designs and prints, sheer lines: this is what I stick to and this is what became our brand’s handwriting. About the colours; there are no rules for those either. I choose the ones that I feel are best for the fabrics we use, and are sophisticated. The idea is to keep on innovating with simple clean designs…The gradient styles of SS17 collection are inspired by pack ice, where our totem animal lives.
Instinct : Could you tell us more about Gosoaky SS17 and FW17 seasons ? Urs : The transition between each season is pretty smooth. We improve our collections, seeing them mostly from a practical use viewing angle. I pay a lot attention to details: adjustable straps for example hidden in the hood’s casing instead of strings and stoppers, to avoid children’s strangeling 🙂 For the winter collection we have very cool reversible jackets inside some of our styles, (4 jackets in 1) which make them warm and customizable. We also have some new developments like waterproof sweat material in grey heather and we turned the classical pinstripe into a reflective pinstripe for child safety.
Instinct : Gosoaky is committed in environmental care and concerned about good work conditions. Could you share your experience : was it a big challenge to find your partners and set up a “clean” production line ? Urs : It was not so easy to find them. But with our long background in fashion we found some good factories where the working conditions are good and where the workers even go home for lunch with . About materials : not all the materials we use are “green”, as it is very difficult for waterproof fabrics. We should use more recycled textiles and try to go in this direction. We do have a new development for our puffer jackets: we now use an eco-friendly product for the filling, which is soft, fluffy, warm, breathable, quick drying and 100% biodegradable!
Instinct : From your customers’ feedback, do you know whether this commitment is decisive or not in their act of purchasing ? Urs : Yes, it is. People like the models for themselves, and are specially proud of taking part in a worthwhile cause. We get so many kind messages from customers, this is very stimulating.
Instinct : Your universe is dedicated to the joys of singing in the rain and jumping in puddles… any items for adults who never lost their inner child (or for badly wet ones) ? Urs : We received a lot of demands for grown-ups… and yes, now we have adult styles too!
Instinct : Your wishes for 2017 ? Any new projects for or beside Gosoaky ? Urs : We are 3 owners; in total 5-6 people working in the studio so developping Gosoaky is a full-time adventure….so no time to do any new projects although my head is filled with new ideas we could do as a team. So who knows ?!
The new guard of designers from the African diaspora mixes in an ultra contemporary way references to its roots, crafts and traditional designs with avant-garde, street-wear or sartorial codes. Here are some of our favorites !
– From February 26th to March 26th 2016, the Parisian concept store Merci highlights African origin designer labels re-visiting the tradition in a contemporary way.
– The ‘Social Fabric’ exhibition in London’s William Morris Gallery explores how the printed and factory-woven textiles of eastern and southern Africa mirror the changing times, fashions and tastes of the region. The exhibition reveals how these fabrics express the social, political, religious, emotional concerns of the people who wear them.
The exhibition also features contemporary art and fashion inspired by the textiles.
– Nyorh Agwe was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon and grew up in Italy, Cameroon & the United States. In 2016 she founded her ethical luxury fashion brand. She works in collaboration with Cameroonian artisans.
– Orange Culture Nigeria is an androgynous brand created in 2011 by Adebayo Oke-Lawal. He has been a finalist for LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, MTN Lagos Fashion and Design Week, and was picked by Vogue and GQ Italia to show his collection at Pitti Uomo in Florence Italy in June 2015.
– Maison Château Rouge is a brand created by two Senegalese brothers Youssouf and Mamadou Fofana. They mix African and European culture by combining sports jerseys volumes to traditional wax prints. The collections are made in Paris, in the Château Rouge neighborhood.
– Reuben Reuel created his brand Demestiks which is made in New York since 2012 to offer new classics. He uses wax patterns on vintage-inspired lines.
– Through the lens of Ed Singleton, “Africa Rising” editorial on Models.com showcases a selection of designer pieces presented at Lagos Fashion & Design Week.
– Loza Maléombho merges traditional cultures/subcultures with contemporary fashion, for an avant-garde aesthetics. By producing in Ivory Coast, she works with local artisans, and also helps women of a small manufacturing workshop hiring young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
– The Nigerian label Grey created in 2010 by Rukky Ladoja offers affordable multi-cultural creations of quality.
– Italian designer Stella Jean’s sense of style reflects her métissage and Creole heritage. Her silhouettes reflects multiculturalism applied to fashion, and expressed via the Italian tailoring.
Stella Jean collaborates with African and Haitian artisans, respecting the territories, resources and traditions of local communities, while preserving their ancestral know-how.
– Avec Ces Frères is a brand part of creative collective Art Comes First. It is the vision result of duet Sam Lambert (he was born in Angola. His father, who was tailor, transmitted him the love of cuts & fabrics, then he then learned the techniques in Savile Row) & Shaka Maidoh. They share the same passion for vintage, crafts, and considering both clothing as a mode of artistic expression, as well as photography, painting, performance…
– Orange Culture Nigeria is an androgynous brand created in 2011 by Adebayo Oke-Lawal. He has been a finalist for LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, MTN Lagos Fashion and Design Week; and was picked by Vogue and GQ Italia to show his collection at Pitti Uomo in Florence Italy in June, 2015.
– Italian designer Stella Jean’s sense of style reflects her métissage and Creole heritage. Her silhouettes reflect multiculturalism applied to fashion, and expressed via the Italian tailoring.
Stella Jean collaborates with African and Haitian artisans, respecting the territories, resources and traditions of local communities, while preserving their ancestral know-how.
– Founded in 2010, Daily Paper is a men streetwear label created by an Amsterdam based collective. Inspired by their African heritage and passion for contemporary fashion, the brand focuses on quality and fine detail.
– Dent De Man is named after an Ivory Coast mountain, and is established in 2013 in an East London multi-cultural hub. It owes its identity to the Britanico-Ivorian roots of its founder, who mixes sartorial codes to premium traditional batik impressions from Dutch manufacturer Vlisco.
– Atelier Beaurepaire duet fuses African inspirations to modern Western cuts. They get their inspiration from travels, music… The products are made in Morocco, and much attention is paid to details and finishings, while remaining accessible to young customers.
To discover more young African designers, check Oxosi website.