Designer and Techno DJ, Sita Abellan, is fully immersed in the now converging aesthetics of fashion and rave culture. In a sense, she has always been prepared for this moment. From playing after parties for Moschino to designing a bag for Fendi, Abellan fluidly glides between the two worlds, thriving in their overlap.
Following up her previous "TECHNO CAPITALISM" collection, Abellan has shifted her club-kid streetwear energies on a new Biblical inspiration. Her new merch drop "OBSERVED" was directly inspired by the Corinthians verse "Through a Glass, Darkly." Using this as a jumping off point to think about ways in which we can and cannot see things around us in the world, Abellan uses psychedelic text and punk attitudes to create a tension between the mellow and aggressive.
PAPER caught up with Abellan to get an exclusive look at the new merch drop and chat about her double life.
How did you first get into designing streetwear?
I express myself designing clothes. For me, it's a challenge to design streetwear because typically I design more "fashion pieces" — pieces that are more expensive to make. I find this challenge very interesting since I love the intersection where fashion and streetwear merge.
The first merch drop I did was last year was named "Techno Capitalism." Before that I just dropped some t-shirts like for my tours... With merch and streetwear I'm able to communicate my DIY and punk aesthetic side and I can pull a lot of references from the 2000s and the '90s and the '70s.
What was your particular inspiration for this collection?
I organized a shoot of myself with crazy punk spiked hair and I wanted to use this image for the shirt. I knew I wanted to use violet colors in this collection. For the graphics and lettering I was inspired by using '60s psychedelic lettering. I thought it would dialogue well with the meaning lying beneath the capsule, it has this psychedelic, blurred reality vibe.
What drew you to the biblical references you used in Observed? Perhaps, one could say that Eden was actually the proto-Surveillance State?
That's an interesting angle. I've never thought about it in that way, but what I try to do is put together symbols that can also be interpreted in different and interesting ways, like you have in this instance
I got inspired by this sentence: "THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY." It's also an Ingmar Bergman movie that inspired some great work in literature (Philip K. Dick) and philosophy. In the passage in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13), it is stated that our ability to see the true essence of the world (i.e. God) is obscured as if we were looking "through a glass, darkly." I think this is connected to how we perceive reality — nowadays our perception is altered by technology. We feel as if we're always being watched, always connected, but what if we realize this, and ask ourselves what do we really know about our experience? It begs the question, what is really human? How do we come to achieve the truth? It could be any truth, not necessarily God.
In what ways do you see your DJ life intersecting with your fashion work? How does one inform the other?
I see everything I do as a total expression of myself. My music inspires my fashion and vice versa. For me, it's the best way I can communicate my vision to the world. The risk is that people don't get me as it's easier to put someone in a box and label her. I think that in both music and fashion I'm trying to express myself creatively. When you look at it this way, they are no different to me, they are two different sides of the same coin. Music and fashion are my world.
What do you have on the horizon?
My jewelry line "LILITH" that will be out for everyone very soon. I'm also working on my next collection and planning to have my brand ready for next year as I would really like to focus more on designing and creating. I'm planning to work on my own music next year too, and tour a bit more (I have some cool clubs and festivals coming up, from Germany to South Italy to Central and South America)
"OBSERVED" is now available through Abellan's online shop.
Photos by Mudi George