Fashion and art have never been strangers, and often feed off of each other to create brilliance, so it comes with no surprise that recent DegreeArt.com recruit Claire Luxton has been working on an exciting project with fashion label ADA + NIK.
The label, headed up by fashion designers Ada Zanditon and Nik Thakkar came about after their own singular successes over dinner one night when the pair decided to start collaborating on menswear. With both designers being influenced by art and architecture, ADA + NIK create sleek and structural designs, interlaced with technology, one such example of this being their ‘Narrative Jacket’. This clever bit of kit breaks the boundaries of story telling, and is the world’s first leather jacket with an in-built camera in collaboration with the Narrative Clip which can capture photos and location data without conscious interaction.
Together Ada and Nik have also created four short films in the 18 months they have worked together - one of which was hand-picked by Dries Van Noten and another that premiered on Warhol's Interview Magazine. Ever wanting to put across an entire concept rather than a straight forward one-dimensional ready-to-wear collection, the pair stumbled upon Claire Luxton’s work online whilst seeking out an artist to create a black cube to fit in with the design concept of their Autumn Winter 2015 collection for the London Collections: Men shows held every January and June. Designer Nik Thakkar talks us through the collaboration with recent graduate, Claire Luxton and ADA + NiK’s Autumn/Winter collection concept ‘Noir Desir’.
The whole concept for the new collection is extremely multifaceted, including the use of tech fabrics, and the ‘Narrative Jacket’ and Claire Luxton’s prison installation… what lead you to decide to bring in all these elements, rather than a straight forward ready to wear collection?
They’re all cohesive, they all fit together. In our heads, they all fit together very beaurifully If you look at Claire’s installation and the jacket next to it, it’s all pretty seamless. The hard lines… obviously Claire’s design is a big black cube which is why we wanted to work with her and if you look at the camera we inbuilt into the jacket, it’s a black cube as well. So it’s that kind of Bauhaus, Minimimalist, Russian Constructivism coming through across the board, in each element. So it’s not that it’s lots of different things, it’s lots of the same thing happening on multiple platforms.
Stills from AW15 Collection #NoirDesir © Ada + Nik
And what made you want to work with an artist for this collection?
We work with artists all the time, but working with Claire is exceptionally fun, because she’s so talented in her own right, and also her vision is so close and similar to ours, including her aesthetic and what she stands for. If you look at the Ada & Nik Instagram, and you look at Claire’s Instagram, they’re not completely dissimilar in terms of the colour palette, visual identity – and it’s really nice to partner with somebody who shares that vision with us.
How do you feel fashion and art can help each other?
Ada and I are both architects in our own right. A lot of our work is inspired by architecture. We don’t tend to design clothes as clothes, we tend to approach them as art pieces and buildings. Working with Claire or working with an artistic creative is natural for us, but at the same time it’s something that we’re able to add value to and bring to life in a more innovative and more cohesive way.
Can you tell me more about the Noir Desir film you’ve created?
About three days before we did our last runway show, this whole prison theme kept coming into my head and I was driving home one night and I was listening to this old CD I used to DJ from about 10 years ago, and it had a song on it from this French band called Noir Desir called ‘Le Vent Nous Portera’ I was listening to that song and the lyrics, they were really poignant. I don’t know where I was in my mindset at that point but Betrand Cantat from Noir Desir was accused of murder and he was locked away for many years for manslaughter. So it was the hard lines, and the prison theme in the back of my head it started coming to life more as I heard this song. So I said to Ada what do you think about the name Noir Desir for the collection, and she said, yeah let’s doing that’s amazing. We went over what Noir Desir meant to us, in terms of redemption and forgiveness. And that’s where it all came from.
The ADA + NIK Noir Desir runway show will take place on Saturday 10th January at London Collections: Men at ME London Hotel.