Interview | Brooklyn We Go Hard
Brooklyn We Go Hard (BWGH) has been making a name for itself recently as an up-and-coming Parisian street wear label with a difference. The duo of David Obadia and Nelson Hassan started the brand in an effort to combine their twin loves of fashion and photography, but quickly expanded to include a number of photographers under the BWGH umbrella in a move that pointed the label in a direction more akin to that of an artist collective, than simply that of a clothing brand. With a number of shows and collaborations under their belt, Spring/Summer 2012 sees the release of their first entire menswear collection. SLAMXHYPE recently had the chance to chat to David at BWGH about the structure of the brand, the collective and the future.
Jack Smylie : Who are BWGH ?
David Obadia : BWGH is a binôme represented by myself, David Obadia, and my associate Nelson Hassan, but BWGH is also a collective of photographers we are working with. Often, it is better described as a structure than a brand since we have created a brand, a photographer’s label and a magazine. BWGH is really multidisciplinary.
How was the label conceived?
The main idea was to create a structure very different from others. For one, we wanted to promote artists with whom we work with while being a landscape for them by orchestrating exhibitions such as the one at Le Bon Marché (Paris) and at Hunting & Collecting (Brussels) a while ago. Also, we aimed at creating a high quality brand with a strong identity, amazing fabrics, details on every piece of clothing and for them to be one a kind.
BWGH isn’t just a brand, but an artist collective built around a combined love of fashion and photography. What’s the relationship with the brand to the artists?
We tend to promote the artists as much as possible in two very different ways : we organize exhibitions as I have already told you and for the part of the collection dedicated to their snapshots we put their photography on our tee-shirts. On every tee-shirt sold, the artist receives counterparts.
A Parisian label, your moniker suggests a preoccupation with New York. What’s in a name?!
As with every brand which has a background in street culture, the main idea is to have a linear progression. Step 1 : create tee shirts and gradually widen the collection to propose a complete wardrobe. The first season we just presented tee shirts and each tee shirt was a snapshot done by our artists in Brooklyn. That’s why we called the brand Brooklyn We Go Hard.
There are currently eight photographers showcasing under the BWGH name. How have you gathered this pool of artists?
I myself used to practice photography and that’s how I met Ludovic Zuili (one of the artists we are working with) and the network gradually widened. Nelson and I were not very good behind the lense, we naturaly erased ourselves to promote the artists and take care of the heart of our job : create collections.
What is the inspiration behind your SS’12 collection?
This collection is named ‘Cornely’, an ancient embroidery mechanism that we updated on our products. The allure was influenced by pictures presented during the fabrication of those good outfits. For us, it stands as true progress because it allows us to show for the first time a nearly complete wardrobe and to assert our creative identity;
You recently got together with Opening Ceremony for an SS’12 capsule collection – how did that collaboration come about?
We met Humberto Leon and Carol Lim during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris last June, during Rendez-Vous Tradeshow. He was drawn to the message we are trying to convey. The ‘Brooklyn Parle Français’ sweater was one of his coup de cœur – that’s why we proposed a collab between OC and BWGH. A great mix of Parisian pride and New-York imagination concentrated into a unique formula. ‘Opening Ceremony Parle Français’ and similar prints hit the bull’s eye. These pieces are exclusively available at OC (New York, Los Angeles, Ace Hotel, Tokyo).
Is this a creative partnership you see developing further? Do you have any other collaborative projects in the pipeline ?
We are trying to develop collabs with our favourite retailers in order to establish a promiscuity with them. For a first collaboration we cannot hope for better! More sweaters will probably soon be available for Opening Ceremony. For France, our choice naturally goes to Colette, the mechanism is on the way but for now I can’t tell more!
BWGH has put on a number of shows and events in the past – mainly centered around photography – can you shed some light on any upcoming events?
For fashion we are going to present a whole collection in collaboration with Libertine-Libertine which belongs to our friend Rasmus Bak. There will be tee shirts, sweaters, shirts and a few accessories available. For photography, we are organizing an exhibition in Madrid in May 2012 for the artists with whom we are working with. To be true we are full of energy and we are meeting a lot of extremely interesting people that bring new projects every day. So, I cannot predict the future but I can guarantee that our collection will widen as much in quantity as in quality.
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