Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Pop Stars & Street Style: An Interview with Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott x Adidas Spring/Summer 2014

Spring/summer 2015 casual footwear

A recent Barbie-inspired collection for Moschino

In addition to designing for his own label and his collaborating with adidas, Jeremy Scott is currently Moschino’s Creative Director. Here’s one of my interviews with him, where we discuss Tokyo street style, 90's looks, and inspiration. (This was before Peak Beard in London…you’ll see what I mean if you read on.)

Exit Magazine, 2009

Jeremy Scott x adidas Autumn/Winter 2009


During London Fashion Week, I hung out with the effervescent Jeremy Scott in the Adidas ObyO Pop Up Shop at 6 Newburg Street. We talked about Tokyo versus London, the exposure of the underground, Lady Gaga, and Jeremy’s colourful collection for Adidas. The Autumn/Winter 09 collection is a playful homage to 90s African influences in pop culture, mixed with safari imagery. Photographs of the new collection have galvanized the online community to discuss, buy, or freak out over Jeremy’s unique designs. EXIT investigates why.

You take a lot of fashion risks. Is that intentional or is it the shock of the new? Is it your way of being mind expanding?

Well I definitely think it’s important to always expand one’s mind and to try to do that as a designer, to try to open people’s imagination and make them think differently about something. (When it comes to ObyO trainers) there are wings sprouting from the shoe or three tongues per shoe but at the same time I just made it because I think it’s beautiful. So it’s not just done in a purely provocative sense.

What city right now is taking the most fashion risks?

Well you know Tokyo is on its own planet. The kids there are doing the most elaborate and unexpected combinations. London in general is a much more youthful fashionable city, compared to New York. London has a lot more fun young fashion. But for very extreme looks, Tokyo is still winning that race.

Is it like just in the book Fruits?

Yeah, it’s the new generation of Fruits. Tokyo is amazing compared to New York or anywhere else. I don’t know about London because I don’t spend as much time here, but I know people are definitely a lot more into eccentric looks. You know in New York, if you grew a beard some dude on the street might shout, “Yo what is THAT? What you wearing?” and they have this liberty, they can just tell you about it. But in Tokyo no one looks at you or talks to you about it at all. And so the first trip I went there I just kept pushing it more and more everyday. I thought, I’m going to make you talk to me. I had a racoon tail and I hooked it into the back of my pants so I had this tail swinging around and I couldn’t catch people’s eye for the life of me, cause they just won’t stare. Obviously no one was laughing or sniggering or pointing. It is such a wildly liberating feeling of I can wear whatever I want and do anything I want. And especially if there’s two people there, two boys, two girls, girl and boy, they both decide “oh we’re gonna wear clown shoes and big clown glasses” or something like that and they have their own trend and they just walk around together. They’re in their own world and think “yeah of course everyone should have a bowtie this big…” It’s inspiring it really is. And it’s how everything goes at the same time, how they look at the way American or European culture is and the way they’ve appropriated it makes you look at it in a different way. Not even the exciting aspects of visual culture, it’s things we might think are mundane and boring. They’ve rendered it totally different because of how they’ve curated it. It’s amusing, ‘cause you see it through their eyes. It’s very fascinating.

Your new Adidas O by O collection has a lot of 90’s hip hop shapes and African patterns. What was your inspiration behind the collection?

I did think about Africa as my kind of inspiration and ideas.  You see these documentaries on TV and people will be wearing these clothes from Europe, kind of thrift store vintage sports wear but then they mix it with their sarongs and loincloths and beaded things and jewellery that they’d made.  I wanted to take this idea of African sports wear and create my own version, taking elements of the visuals in these documentaries then do it with sportswear fabrics. I developed these hybrid styles, and at the same time I was inspired by early 90s culture like Dwayne Wayne and A Different World.

How much sleep do you get? I’ve read that Noam Chomsky and Tom Ford get about four hours sleep a night and I was wondering if there was a prerequisite minimum amount of sleep for success.

There are times that four hours has been regular, probably six on average.

Do you have a favourite Lady Gaga costume?

I love the yellow one in the Paparazzi video. It comes directly from the show. I made it especially for her as a jumpsuit. When it was revealed she went with it so far with the glasses and everything that it became iconic in the video.

Who is someone you’d like to dress?

Dolly Parton. But in a way I kind of want to leave her alone because she’s so great. It’s a Catch 22; like I love you so much but maybe I shouldn’t bother you.

What do you think of underground versus popular culture?

I think they both lend things to each other and nowadays there’s more exposure to the underground than ever before, because of the way information is transferred everyone kind of knows everything. In this way there’s no real room for incubation, for things to be underground as in the past. I’m a pop artist so I’m all about pop culture and being as inclusive as I can be. At the same time, my work is provocative, challenging and out of the ordinary so it’s a new combination.  In a way, it is underground and aboveground. I definitely love niche culture and the history of it from different periods and different times. The underground is important but at the same time I love and have always loved pop culture.

Words and interview by Margo Fortuny

Exit Magazine, 2009

One of Jeremy Scott's inspirations (2Pac stars in this episode):

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