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New York-based brand, Untitled Collective brings together three visions under one name with quality and functionality at the heart of their design process. Graduating from Parsons and NYU, the collective originally came together as an events company. But with a little push from their inner circles, they gravitated towards clothing.

Drawing inspiration from the 1950s, Marcel Duchamp and today’s biggest concern – the environment –, the garments are made with the utmost care and attention to detail, staying true to the process despite what popular culture and Instagram brands are doing these days. For them, being remembered in the long run is far more important than which of their pieces got the most likes on social media that day, and this is as it should be. Being remembered in the long run means finding technical solutions that will make our garments last longer and more adaptable to our constant needs.

In a world driven by celebrity and influencers, what made you decide to come together as an anonymous collective?
We believe people’s style should not be influenced by anything other than themselves. Our team decided to come together as Untitled Collective because we believe our garment speaks for itself and those mentioned before would hear us out. Just like how an artwork needs no words to grab your attention. We had one vision, and it was quality over everything. Our generation and culture are driven heavily by celebrities and influencers with hundreds of new platforms that make it easier to be influenced, and quality is dropping at the same rate content is now produced.
We wanted to create an experience, we wanted to give customers a relationship with their garments. Nowadays, It seems that people are looking at how many ‘likes’ an item has received online and deciding based on that. Our consumer culture has rapidly changed and it has also changed the industry to a viral-focused rather than garment-focused business. We want to experience a time like the 1950s, where designers had more of an artistic approach to their product and competition. We also simply don’t want anything to go to waste. We choose quality over quantity. We also believe that this is the first step to having less physical and digital waste in this industry. Creating timeless products with respect for the past, present and future is what it really is.
How do you balance all your creative visions under one name?
The three of us are completely different in aesthetic. Sometimes, the struggle becomes the process and vice versa. We’ve found a way to understand each other and the situations we face at the time. In the end, we are driven by our desire to deliver timeless quality collections. Balancing our creative vision is the most difficult process we always have to go through; however, it is also our favorite process of work.
Continuous disagreements and conflicts are inevitable in every design meeting yet we design by solving those conflicts. We push each other outside of their box and the result is not always satisfying. But our collection is always evolving as we are questioning whether the collaborative work is successful or not. Design is interesting because you never truly know what the end product’s going to look like in the flesh. This forces us to evolve.
You are graduates from Parsons School of Design and New York University, is there a difference in how you each approach design/garment-making?
What works for us is this: we start with a concept and an inspiration that we can share. We are constantly brainstorming and developing. Our differences play a big role in design focus. We all obsess over different things in our garments. While one person is locked on getting the details and functionality right, the other is trying to get the silhouettes, and another is crazy about the color scheme. We try to understand each other’s strengths and trust another for each role. Every garment is designed with each member’s creative contribution based on their belief of what a good garment is.

You say you make clothes for creatives. Today, anyone can call themselves an artist or a creative, what are your thoughts on this?
We believe everyone is a creative. However, there are those that take action and those that don’t. We make clothes for creatives, they have to have the means to acquire our garments. We want to inspire people to use their creativity to get what is rightfully theirs with passion, inspiration, creativity and drive. Maybe a little ambition too for that bigger bag.
What is an artist to you?
Art has always been a means of communication. If you can communicate and make people feel, we believe that that individual is an artist. However, we believe that feeling has to be genuine. Artists have to be mindful in what they want to express and make people feel. We believe that the communication that artists do is what shifts cultures. The world today is an impacted place because of artists like Bob Marley, who put an island on the map and helped stop a civil war. Van Gogh, who gave us an insight into how mental illness affected perception. Today, we live in a world with many more possibilities than the past and we should not take advantage of it.
Can you give us a few names of artists that inspired the brand into being?
Marcel Duchamp, Donald Judd and On Kawara.

Which artist, dead or alive, would you love to dress? 
Ai Wei Wei and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Your Spring/Summer 2020 collection, Outdoor Recess, is inspired by the unpredictable nature of weather. How does this translate into the pieces?
Our Spring/Summer 2020 collection is inspired by the unpredictable nature of weather and constantly changing environment. As the light drifts, it creates different erratic shades of color. Shades created by grass, stone, and sky change as time flows. The collection’s palette resonates different pigmentations that exemplify underlying conditions in nature. By combining outdoor wear and workwear details, each piece is adaptable to various conditions.
Outerwear pieces have adjustable drawcord at waist, interior backpack strap and multifunctional pockets. A few of the bottom pieces have elasticated waistband with adjustable drawcords and bungee at the hem for adjustment. Untitled Collective’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection’s garments are designed to combine dexterity and security to allow creatives to work wherever inspiration may lead them.
In the past, designers were inspired by art movements, society, culture. How do you think this will change seeing that climate change is the world’s biggest worry now?
We believe we are seeing some great moves in terms of fashion houses making moves to help better the environment. For example, the Prada Re-Nylon campaign going on actually gives us hope that maybe fashion can move to a more environment-friendly space. The betterment of our atmosphere should be our main priority at this point in time. After our time has passed, we would only leave our legacy and bloodlines. Who will remember us if the world isn’t a livable place?

Your main design pillars are comfort and functionality. Do you see the brand flowing into something ‘seasonless’?
We will be coming up with styles that will eventually carry over and eventually become a seasonless collection in the future. At the moment, we have more to show until we start determining what styles will become seasonless.
Do you believe that garments can still be timeless, when there is so much constant offer in the industry?
Yes, we believe that there are garments that can still be timeless. The industry will always make iterations of pieces but it all started somewhere. Designers and brands are getting creative again and creating garments in interesting cuts and patterns.
Untitled Collective started as an events company before transitioning into fashion. Where do you see yourselves and the brand in the next few years?
While we were an event company, we had a lot of relationships with different artists that have pushed us and inspired us to pursue fashion. Through the next few years, we see ourselves discovering more talent with great potential all over the world and create with them through Untitled Collective. This has always led us to new discoveries of what it means to be a brand wanting to advocate for artists. Hearing about possibilities, struggles and even the need for change will allow us to put those emotions into our designs.

Words
Dara Hamarneh

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