Clothing is tribal in nature; it can band us together or make us stand apart. Just look at the history of subcultural style, like the punks, or the more recent resurgence of millenial style amongst the TikTok generation. And yet, as fashion has become increasingly global, and accessible through high street prices and social media dissemination, the lines of class and identity in style have become increasingly blurred. What, and who, is fashion for? A new project by creative director Betsy Johnson provokes a conversation around fashion, identity and class through the concept of product.
PRODUCTS 01 is the first part in the multi-hyphenate creator's new project, and is made up of a 20-piece fashion collection that includes clothing, footwear and accessories. Playing on the nature of clothing items as cultural signifiers, each look is visual essay of sorts, prompting discussion around how class identity, particularly that of the working class, has been consumed by luxury fashion and spat out again. Ultimately, it's about the irony of fashion's commercial nature.
The slogan 'STAY COMMERCIAL', together with a red and white sale label as the vehicle for the project's name, is the only 'logo' in the collection's visual language. With a yet-to-be-revealed campaign photographed in Johnson's hometown of Grimsby by @RaphaelBliss and @freel_zeel, PRODUCTS is a deeply personal project for Johnson, but isn't insular or inaccessible to a wider audience. As it unfolds, PRODUCTS plans to engage an audience across many different wavelengths, exploring extensions of Johnson's own creative universe along the way.
The collection has been produced entirely in Europe using responsible materials including eco leather, and will be available in a limited run. Johnson worked in collaboration with UY Studio and Giaborghini for the launch of PRODUCTS 01.
'The whole collection is a conversation about mid inflation survival, the ever widening wealth gap and our youths only survival technique, clothing as armor, class identity camouflage all in everydaywear and partywear. Through financial struggle and an economy about to burst “staying commercial" is the only way brands and artists are told they can survive. One big ironic mash up.
PRODUCTS I see as a new space I've created to continue conversation through product. This 1st collaborative project constitutes an introduction to all things my personal universe and view on fashion in medium I am viewed in now. Each year to come venturing in and out of that medium, new avenues, collaborators and industries.' - Betsy Johnson