What drew you to collaborating on projects in the fashion industry?
I’ve been into fashion since copping my first pair of AIRMAX when I was 13 years old… I just didn’t know it at the time. My British youth influences of rave music/culture, UK Garage and sportswear became streetwear… So where I find myself now, as a creative – it’s a natural draw, combining my skills in design with my love of style and aesthetics. It’s the top layer of excitement for me, where I can be most free to create as myself. I love fashion briefs, be that a commercial, film, animation or artwork.
Your recent work for SEAT combines high fashion and the automotive industry. How do you approach a brief like that?
With excitement. It was a wicked opportunity to bring a style language to a car ad. I was leaning on my love of art installation work as well as fashion, to create a tone to fit the LEON audience. The red dress in the film was actually created bespoke for the job… those things don’t come easy to me – I know what I like to wear but styling a female talent wardrobe from scratch is different, creating a dress took collaboration and working with the right people. I of course always have pretty strong ideas for the footwear though!
Talk us through some other fashion project highlights of yours
One of my favorite fashion projects was back in the day when I lived in Sydney – I branded and launched an independent streetwear store, CAPSULE. It was the perfect combination of graphic design, the fashion I’m into, a culture of friendship (hanging out at the shop)… and even better that I got paid via a clothing retainer each month.
Other highlights have included creating apparel for Nike Basketball (which came after a cease and desist from Nike, but I’ll save that story for another time). And of course there was the 12 month collaboration with Philipp Plein (above). That was pretty much life changing, it enabled me to quit the day job and pursue an art career. It introduced me to a world of constant flights across Europe, fashion shows in Milan, a dinner with Lil Wayne, exhibitions in Monaco, a dinner with Chris Brown, matte black Lamborghinis, lots of leather and studs… I definitely got to see how the other half live… it was an amazing experience but also made me pretty content just being a married Dad living in Birmingham.
What brought you to create the LV Skull Concept?
I loved what Virgil did with the LV aesthetic. Taking what was traditionally a more mature, dare I say older female audience and spin it with a streetwear touch. A simple graphic palette of colors and textures… I wanted to have my own FILFURY art spin on it, so created the STREETWEAR IS DEAD artwork. I actually flipped the LV pattern to read as an LA mark… so let’s call it the LA SKULL!
You have a line of prints made up of deconstructed items such as watches & trainers. Can you show us some of your favourites?
These aren’t just prints… there’s a combination of digital artwork and physical sculptures that I create. Trust me it hurt when I first cut up a pair of sneakers…
You can check out my art folio here: www.filfury.com/art
How does the fashion industry help amplify the voices of artists and creators from misrepresented communities?
I don’t think it does amplify misrepresented voices enough. It’s definitely good at taking from these communities and cultures but I don’t think enough is given back. What’s that quote I saw recently – ‘They Want Our Rhythm But Not Our Blues’… I think that sums it up pretty good.
Personally I’m trying to do more myself. I’m currently in early talks with GO Athletics, a Black owned sports brand here in LA. I’m in the process of helping them rebrand, giving them design support and input to shape their identity and approach. They’re an exciting team to be involved with as they are directly giving back to their community.
I’m also working with a Black owned fashion label back in the UK, MOF. Creating an identity for their project, which will launch soon. For me this isn’t about making money, I’m doing this to help, share my knowledge – I’m fortunate I’ve got to where I am today – I want to help others follow their passion, realise their potential and dreams… push things forward.
You have lived all over the world. Where was most inspirational, from a fashion POV?
I’m proud to have grown up in the UK, Brum especially… British music and fashion shaped who I am, but it wasn’t until I lived in Sydney that I understood my own visual identity. Stepping outside your comfort zone, being away from home, makes you realize who you are and what makes you different. Different is good, instead of changing to fit in – I embraced myself.
I was lucky to have an inspirational group of creative friends in Sydney. I knew fashion designers, streetwear store owners, people who ran their own labels, the Sneaker Freaker community – people who were confident with their own visual identity, their ideas and didn’t fit in with the crowd… it was this idea of DIY fashion, the entrepreneur passion and drive that really sparked something in me and I’ve kept it with me since. Shout outs to Another Inch, For the Homies, Half Sleeve, Fresh In, Capsule, Supply, FEIT, Footage, Danika Zen…
Has your personal style changed during lockdown?
TBH no… but my footwear is looking box fresh.
What are the key learnings you hope the Fashion Industry takes away from COVID-19?
That less is more. Quality over quantity. I’ve bought waaaaay less trainers over the past 5 months… it does make you realize what’s important and what you are spending your hard earned money on. It feels nice to look good, but it’s not the most important thing going on.