24-year-old artist BEA1991 is an enigma of many talents. A Dev Hynes-approved artist and a critically-acclaimed musician in her own right, the Amsterdam-based creative is also a talented clothing designer -- and she's just shared a brand new collection of pieces dubbed "The Reflector" with us.
Relying on the idea of "comfort" translated via the juxtaposition of gorgeous, organic materials with intriguing, industrial plastics, the not-for-sale line left us filled with questions about her artistic intentions, and as such, we knew we had to talk to her about those strangely-chic plastic bag socks. Read our Q&A below to learn about everything from her line's counteraction to mass production to the human fascination with deceased organisms, as well as how it all ends up actually reflecting a larger zen within oneself.
Can you talk a little about the creation of "The Reflector"? What are the concepts that figure heavily into your new collection? What is it quote-unquote reflecting?
The thing that unites these designs is the element of comfort. I don't use zippers, buttons or standard confection fits that are meant to curve out parts of an exterior. Instead, I integrated [knots] and [wrapping techniques] that [just came organically] during the process of making a piece. Put together, these designs became the wardrobe of someone who is able to relax and reflect on oneself. [Model] Xiomara is doing this very nicely here!
The construction and materials of the clothes are particularly intriguing -- especially the emphasis on plastics. Can you talk a little about that?
I was never admitted to art school and ended up doing everything my own stubborn way. One intrigue of mine is to use fabrics that are common and familiar, but to displace them. For instance, when I made these plastic socks, I was thinking "What?" -- but then I wore them for a day, and because I wore them, they were socks again. I'm interested in transporting a well-known artifact or product into another dimension and altering its context whilst conserving the practical use. Basically I want to confuse you, then make you happy.
A few of the pieces are really organic looking though (shell necklaces, lots of neutral wools), why the juxtaposition?
After I made the large oyster for my latest videoclip "my name is written on it," I fell into an ongoing obsession for seashells/fossils and their use as a deceased organism.
The combination of contrasted materials also represents my longing for a larger question mark that could be communicated through people wearing clothes. We wear clothes primarily to cover nudity, but why did we get stuck in certain traditions? Why are some things produced to fit tightly, and others loosely? Who decided what was comfortable?
Why are you choosing to not sell the clothes? Why are they only going to be available to stylists etc.?
Stylists are using the designs because they help them build an editorial story. The idea of the pieces doing that for others makes me happy. These latest shoots are only an indication of what is coming; eventually I want to set up shop selling all the clothes and accessories. I hardly make anything twice so people who like wearing one-off original pieces will be happy there. It's counter-mass production!
Is this collection meant to work with your music in anyway? Is there a correlation between the two?
Well, it's me working behind both, so most probably there's a correlation. I sang songs and made clothes since I was tiny, and I'd like for the listener and/or wearer to feel or hear the correlation rather than for me to put a theory to it. I've had wonderful and supportive messages from people who say to have found some form of elevation through listening to good thinking and songs of 2k11. My aim is to have the BEA1991 attire do that for the body!