It’s hard to think of a more well-matched collaboration than with creatives and visionaries Tschabalala Self, Brandon Blackwood, and Reginald Sylvester II. Curated by Tschabalala, the three New York-based artists teamed up to create a two-piece collection with a unique artistic vision exclusively for online fashion retailer YOOX. The vision at hand? To build a bridge between art, fashion, and lifestyle during a moment of mass separation. “The differences between our practices is what is interesting about the project. The contrast between our mediums and creative practices has allowed for this collaboration to be truly dynamic and innovative,” Self adds.
Entitled “Our House,” the two exclusive products come to form with exceptional contributions from Self’s artistic work. Blackwood’s cult favorite, boxy Kuei bag gets revamped with an allover pattern from Self’s 2016 work “Bellyphat.” Meanwhile, Sylvester designed an avante garde cement vessel that doubles as a vase and candleholder, which Self partnered on the packaging.
Ahead, GRAZIA chats with designer Brandon Blackwood on the power of cross-disciplinary practices, design process, and working in a period of separation.
GRAZIA: How did the collaboration come about?
Brandon Blackwood: I was approached by Tschabalala. She’s been a friend of mine for years, ever since college. YOOX had the idea of doing this collaborative capsule, and Tschabalala wanted to include me. I immediately agreed. I thought the idea of fusing art and fashion would be a great way to really express myself in ways I don’t usually with my standard collection.
G: What about the intersectionalism between each artistry do you want to get across with this collection?
BB: I want my piece to relay a message of evolution. I took a classic shape of the brand, and integrated work by Tschabalala. I thought the two being combined needed something to set it apart, so I immediately went to materials I don’t usually use. In this case, metallic leathers. I love the juxtaposition between such a strong/interesting print on a very loud material. It’s almost as if the bag is begging to be looked at closer. Art and fashion are subjective, and I wanted to piece to pull people in to make their own assumptions of it.
G: What was the design process like collaborating across different practices?
BB: It was fairly easy. I feel as though art, fashion, and design all live within the same realm. They are all categories that rely heavily on visual representations of someone’s most inner ideas. It was a mixing of the minds. We took bits and pieces of each other’s work and found a middle ground that represented us all so uniquely.
G: As we slowly move back into in-person working situations, how did the three of you work while in moments of separation?
BB: We worked remotely throughout the process. But I was insistent on having everyone see every step. From paper molds and different printing techniques down to the different leathers, we could use. There was a lot of trial and error, and although no one was physically in the studio with me, I felt as though they were. It was a very modern collaboration in that sense.