Rottingdean Bazaar’s Weird, Wonderful Sweatshirts Steal the Show at Fashion East – Vogue.com
The most striking idea at this seasonâs Fashion East menswear presentation was the most direct. Thatâs not to belittle Luke Stevensâs big conceptual investigation of the habitual via the designed environment or Rory Parnell-Mooneyâs lavishly contextualized floral-fired mise-en-scÃ¨ne.
But the work of James Theseus Buck and Luke Brooks, known collectively as Rottingdean Bazaar, had unmistakeable oomph despite being so explicitly two-dimensional. The idea? Basically they put flat or flattened stuff on clothes. They started with a badge project, in which mundane items were incongruously stuck onto symbols of display. This extended to pressed menâs underpants or balloons on plain sweatshirts, along with pressed flowers and carrots and straw. One of their sweatshirts is decorated with a fabulous portrait of Che Guevara made of their own hair. Others feature hosiery. It sounds too weird, so letâs leave them to their slyly ironic juxtapositions.
Brooks: âWe were both on the same course and we got together early last year. And we started making stuff togetherâthese badges as an Instagram project . . .â
Theseus Buck: â. . . called @badgetaste.â
Brooks: âWeâve been selling those individually to people. But we wanted to make more things. And weâre trying to come at the angle of this being a shop not a label. So it can include anything, not just clothes. Weâre trying to focus on the objects as things. Weâre into the craft.â
Theseus Buck: âWe press technical fabrics to achieve the reliefs on the sweatshirts. Or we flower-press items like the hay from Rottingdean or the carrots. That? Itâs a portrait of Che Guevara in our own hair.â
Brooks: âWe would love to do a series of portraits of people in their own hair.â
Theseus Buck: âI like the fact that these items are accessible. We are getting a really amazing reaction from people who might not normally want a fashion thing or an art thing. They appreciate it because itâs nice and its wearable.â
Brooks: âWeâre just pushing the boundaries of what we can do with it really.â
Rottingdean Bazaar hope to launch an e-shop soon at Rottingdeanbazaar.com and plan a pop-up in London next month.