ARTICLE NATASHA STAGG
NEW YORK FASHION WEEK F/W 2014 IS OVER AND THE RESULTS ARE IN: MENSWEAR ONCE AGAIN GAVE THE INDUSTRY A RUN FOR ITS MONEY. SPECIFICALLY, EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT TELFAR'S LATEST COLLECTION, A LINE HE DESCRIBES AS "EXTREMELY NORMAL," SHOWN IN AN EXTREMELY ABNORMAL WAY... WOULD YOU EXPECT ANYTHING LESS?
February 18th, 2014. We're proud to announce that premiering today on VMAN.COM is Babak Radboy's video of Telfar's latest runway show (above)—a truly expressive event, despite its intentionally blasé mission statement. For the first time, Kmart Fashion and its #KnowNewTrends project (launched this year as part of their "Money Can't Buy Style" initiative) picked Telfar Clemens as their designer du jour. Minds were blown as worlds collided not only during Telfar's show on February 10th, held at the New Museum, but upon the launch of TELFAR.NET late last month—themed with a decidedly un-Kmart aesthetic. We asked the menswear designer to unpack this brand new branding experience, and the exceptional clothing/event/video that came out of it.
Can you tell us about the new line, and what involvment Kmart has with it?
Telfar Clemens The collection was inspired by a fusion of past collections and reshaping those items In terms of size, scale and proportions. This translated to the exhibition theme which we recreated a miniature rendition of what was to be shown on the runway, in life-sized scale or an exaggerated version. Our runway was designed to match our shopping bag accessories—giant scale, filling the New Museum Sky Room. Kmart was our head sponsor for the event. They helped support our installation as they where really intrigued by our installation concept in fusing art, fashion and commerce for our TELFAR Gift Shop.
I love that you said you wanted it to be "extremely normal." Is this a concept you had in mind before you were asked to contribute to Kmart Fashion's #KnowNewTrends effort?
TC It was coined by my collaborator Babak Radboy of Shanzhai Biennial, before Kmart's involvement. It was a title that he thought fit the concept of what is to come in the brand's future. It's more about alluding to the brand being accepted as the norm. Kmart's pairing was perfect conceptually as our goal was to transform the ground floor of the museum into a TELFAR "big box" retail shop.
Were the statues of the models 3-D printed?
TC Yes, we made a 3-D printed statue of each of the looks in the show. We worked with Shapeways and printed four-inch versions of each look; these where displayed on a miniature runway rendition in our installation on the ground floor of the New Museum. The larger-than-life size rendition of myself was a collaboration between two 3-D printing companies: Shapeways, and Direct Dimension, located In Maryland. My statue was seven feet tall.
Is there a story behind the soundtrack?
TC Well, it was created by Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin. I love the music they make for their movies, so I really wanted to collaborate with them in a non-traditional way (different from our past collaborations). They sent us almost 200 original tracks, which we edited down to 33 selections, a song for each model in the collection. These instrumentals where then remixed by Nick Weiss of Teen Girl Fantasy, with the models' pre-recorded voices from our up-coming commercial (also directed by Babak Radboy). "Telfar" was the only word repeated in different tones throughout the entire museum. We selected the songs based on outfits and the models' attitudes in general. We wanted them to sound like they looked. The music was made up of unique sounds that I can't seem to place in one genre—it was a mix, creating a new sound with no genre. I thought the music matched my thoughts on the collection.
Who is the ideal Telfar customer?
TC Every-BODY and people who enjoy wearing "clothing."
VIDEO BABAK RADBOY