Cassette Playa's Carri Mundane Interview
Carri Mundane is a fashion icon of the new century, a movement make, a genuine taste maker, she’s worked with some of the worlds best magazines, artists and of course her own label Cassette Playa is responsible for a whole new movement within culture and fashion. People come and go within this industry, but Carri’s name will be remembered for years and years to come. I caught up with Carri to learn a little more about what inspires her and also take a look at her newest collection releasing this month around the world.
Cassette Playa isn’t just your brands name, but an alter ego which allows you to act within many facets of Fashion, Music and Pop Culture, explain firstly where the name came from?
I like alter egos and multiple identities, they allow you to do extraordinary things whether its superheros in comics, rappers or Native Maerican Chiefs everyone needs a new identity. The power is in the name.
And what is it that Cassette Playa is about?
Techno, tribal, positive and primal, Cassette Playa is about building a new tribe. Pixal warriors harnessing ancient beliefs and tribal rituals with new technology and utopean dreams of the future.
A new tribe of men who are intellegent (geeks and playas), future thinking and fearless especially when it comes standing up for what they believe or not being afraid to be different or stand out. I work with colours because they are tribal colours, war paint! It’s "Real boys battling real and virtual worlds"
What do you do? Styling for Magazines, Music Video’s, creating clothes? tell us how you would explain what you do to someone who doesn’t know you?
I guess I’m ultimately an art director, I’m A.D.D so I like to do everything, fashion design (Cassette Playa and Nike), videos (Cassette Playa/M.I.A), styling (iD, Dazed, Fader, SuperSuper, Klaxons, M.I.A and Ruff Sqwad), print and graphic design (Cassetteplaya, M.I.A, Merok and Nintendo)
You’ve played an enormous role in a new wave of fashion, where do you get your inspiration for the aesthetic that your brand and your work encompasses and stands for?
I believe a brand is like building a world, a good brand is a complete and complex world. I’m inspired by artist’s and designers that build their own complete world but entry to that world should be instant. I don’t believe in over intellectualising fashion and art. Think Keith Haring, Memphis, Santa Cruz, Star Wars… fashion and style are a very pure form of communication and I am really inetersted in that. My prints are cyber symbolism like future hyrogkpics coded logomanis.
I reference street and sports subcultures, I’m especially interested in the British male identity, skinheads and chavs, terrace and rave cuture and the like but also the eighties and early nineties hip hop, skater culture, gabbba and gmpstye, 8bit, virtual reality and RPG computer gaming, Lego, comics, neo spiritalism, sacred geometry and ceremonial dress like Aztec to contemporary African.
I’m kinda anti graphic design, it goes back to coded comunication graphic design should be more retarded and pure like techno tribal, positive ‘n’ primal.
You’ve worked with people from M.I.A to The Klaxons, a wide range of music and magazines, but yet your aesthetic is quite speficic, how do you feel it fits so well across numerous genre’s?
I guess what I do and what I reference resonant’s accross genre. I don’t really feel a part of any particular scene and I wouldn’t want to. I think it’s more future to sample from everywhere and build your own identity. I think culturally (whether fashion or music) we are experiencing that shift and that’s awesome!
I want to mix things up, move things forward and into the future and I want it to resonant globally, I want everyone to get and understand what I do.
What do you have the most fun doing? Designing clothes? Styling? etc?
Both shots are more of a collaborative process so I enjoy that change as aposed to designing a collection which is a more personal journey. Shoots are also a more instant, going back to being A.D.D that suits me more. Designing clothes is long a shoot is a faster way to communicate an idea.
What do you think of streetwear, the traditional streetwear brands and their meaning, the likes of Stussy, Silas etc that were derived from Skate or Surf culture?
I have a lot of respect for Stussy also brands like Bape, B.B.C and Supreme. I am totally aware of that heritage but I’m not precious about it. I don’t see Cassette Playa as a streetwear brand.
Skate culture has always been a big part of what I do but I guess because my backround is not as a skater it has stayed only an element of my work. I’m not so interested in skater culture now more Dogtown to Bones Brigade and Santa Cruz era, I love the energy of that period and I’m excited to explore where skater culture can go ,step beyond the commercialism and the clones. I get really excited when I see a skater pushing the limits again also my friends inspire me too. A lot of my first model I worked with were friends and skaters.
My work explores the relationship humans have with the city, when ancient and urban rituals meet skaters are real pure examples of this. Their relationship is not a passive one like most inhabitants, they challange, subvert and re-map it. Like hunters rading signs, tracking their prey in the jungle, same shit communication with an understanding of their enviroment, same shit warrior shit, that’s future and what SS08 future primative is all about.
Pretty much since day one, as far as i can remember, you’ve had a big presence on the internet, through Myspace etc, how do you feel the internet has helped change the face of fashion and pop culture?
The internet and especially Myspace gave artist’s and consumers power, with music it allowed artist’s to negate the industry and the same could happen with fashion. I’m a big science fiction geek especially cybershit on Myspace is a realisation of cyberspace dreams, a consensual hallucination and avirtual global community:)
The whole way we seek and consume information has changed. Communication has changed, my prints/design explore this concept and ultimately I want every process and every part of my business to be conitioned by it.
Tell us about your latest collection coming next season, where did the inspiration come from and what does it mean to you?
SS08 two biggest inspirations were Bones Brigade era, skate culture and the amazon jungle. I kinda said it just now = it’s about transferring ancient beliefs and rituals to a modern urban envioment. Urban Shamanism (quote by Silverlink) each season there’s a new gang with new skills (and looks lol) making their way warriors style (best film ever) accross the city.
This seasons prints combine organic imagery like crystals, volcano’s and rainforrest’s with 8bit graphics and digital subvertsion (circuit bending etc) we inrtroduced new cyber cybolist characters like emo duck and frog warrior and dozzee warrior. Frog print was a key theme, it felt like a future way of doing animal print and we also used colour changing sweat and jersey like a chamekeon assimilating to its enviroment. The soft pastels these produced were refected in the visuals I made for the catwalk show. Looped and tightly edited (to a soundtrack by Silverlink) Bones Brigade and streets on fire skate footage, over saturated and coloured to evoke the early music videos of Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine.
What are your plans for Cassette Playa? Whats to come in the future?
Take the website and webstore next level and focus on art, music and personal projects plus new collaborations (Nike x Cassette Playa Blazers drops early Summer 2008)
You’ve done alot of work for print magazines but also have a big internet presence, what do you think of the ongoing battle within the media between web and print publishing? Which do you prefer?
I’m more interested in webmedia but I also love seeing what I do in print. I think books especially have a power in a cyber age of virtual print.
Again, you’ve worked alot within the music industry too, putting your sense of style into music, with the way the music industry has changed over the years this is a more and more important part of the industry, is the music industry something you’d like to become even more involved in?
Yes definitely I was always into music over fashion, I’ve been lucky that I can combine both.
How did you first become interested in fashion? As i’m sure there are alot of people out there who consider you a fashion icon, who were yours?
Grace Jones, Keith Haring, Tank Girl, Flavour Flav, Andre 3000, Jimmy Saville, TLC, Axl Rose, Egon from Ghost Busters, Michael JacksonI and Tutankhamun
Cassette Playa Spring/Summer Collection will release this week at a select number of store’s around the world which inlude…
Colette Paris, Slam Jam Italy, Seven New York, Good Hood London, Ambush Spain, Someday Melbourne and online at Cassette Playa.
For more updates from Carri Mundan check out here Myspace page.