Magda Archer's Life is Crap: The Artist on her Collaboration with Marc Jacobs

by Maisie Bowker on 29 January 2020

A conversation with the tongue-in-cheek illustrator on how her collaboration with Marc Jacobs came to be.

A conversation with the tongue-in-cheek illustrator on how her collaboration with Marc Jacobs came to be.

Magda Archer and Marc Jacobs have teamed up to release a kitschy collaboration of bold knits and crewnecks, which is available exclusively in Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge. Archer is another artist in a long line of greats with which Jacobs has collaborated, having worked with Stephen Sprouse (2001), Takashi Murakami (2002) and Cindy Sherman (2014) in his days at Louis Vuitton.

Archer is a British illustrator known for artworks depicting cutesy animals haloed by tongue-in-cheek phrases, such as a fluffy lamb framed by the bon mot 'My Life Is Crap'. The clash between the cuteness of the animals and the harsh nature of the phrases is an expression of comic nihilism, a nifty riposte to irritating grin-and-bear-it positive thinking. Given that laughter seems the only recourse as our future grows increasingly bleak, the jumpers have become the new it-garment. Everyone from Harry Styles to Grayson Perry has been spotted in a Magda Archer x Marc Jacobs jumper, in the process letting the public to know to 'Stay Away From Toxic People'.

On how the collaboration came about, Archer said that Jacobs seen a few of her artworks, and started a long-distance conversation, where she showed Jacobs and his team some more of her work.

'I have no idea how the team selected the pieces - I’d guess it was just stuff they liked!'

There seems to have been quite a lot of ‘stuff they liked’ as the collection includes, knits, t-shirts, bags, dresses and blouses – unsurprising really, given Marc Jacobs' penchant for approaching fashion with a sense of humour. Remember the time he got Victoria Beckham to sit in a giant Marc Jacobs carrier bag for his ad campaign?

As a fine artist, Archer said her move into fashion felt 'like an out of body experience': it is a change she may have to get used to, as seemingly everyone is obsessed with the pieces.

However, she's long held a torch for exploring the world of fashion, saying, 'At my first art school, Ravensbourne, I was on a foundation course specialising in graphic design. They kept trying to kick me off the course and into [the] fashion [programme].'

Her favourite thing about now working in fashion is 'seeing all the beautiful things for the first time, and then seeing friends and family wearing them.'

'The clothes from this collaboration are just so beautiful. The attention to detail and the colours have blown me away - I’m thrilled.'

What about having your artworks worn by the likes of Harry Styles? 'That was nice to see, he’s a very likeable person. It feels great, it made me smile.'

Archer describes the collection as, 'sassy, luscious and wearable,' which is exactly how Jacobs makes it look: the designer has been wearing the collaboration extensively, with images of him in the pieces littering his personal Instagram.

Although one of the jumpers' slogans, 'We're In The Shit', seems rather close to the bone given the current moment, Archer eschews firmly aligning her work with political protest, deeming it instead, ‘mildly subversive…like a punk from Bromley'.

And regarding that 'Stay Away From Toxic People' jumper, she stays schtum on exactly what the inspiration behind it was, saying, 'Erm…I’m sure you can guess? It involves a person.' At any rate, it's a lesson we can all take with us into 2020. Don't miss this opportunity to let people know how you feel!

The Magda Archer x Marc Jacobs collection is available exclusively from Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge from 28 January 2020.



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