Acting as a follow-up to the much celebrated ‘15 Years Of Aitor Throup Studio’ exhibition recently hosted by Ink at Hong Kong’s revolutionary museum retail concept ‘K11 MUSEA’,
this unprecedented release will merge the worlds of art and fashion by offering a curated selection of 55 intricately crafted artisanal garments,
most of which have never been available for sale before.
Almost exactly one year since the exhibition opened in Hong Kong, fans and followers of Aitor Throup’s elusive work will be able to again revisit and have the chance to
personally own and explore some iconic pieces from the artist’s highly sought after back catalogue.
'15 YEARS OF AITOR THROUP STUDIO ' IN K11 MUSEA
Pita Cheng, the owner and founder of Ink Hong Kong, is a long time follower and collector of Aitor Throup’s work,
and he hopes that the project will also help to introduce Throup’s unique vision to a new, younger audience of consumers interested in the cross over of art and fashion:
“I have been following Aitor’s work since his 2006 graduation collection ‘When football hooligans become Hindu Gods’.
His fantastic aesthetics and extraordinary designs blew my mind and fascinated me.
He is the one designer who truly inspired me to dig deep into craftsmanship, which drove me into this industry.
By supporting ‘OA55’, I wish to share these timeless designs with the new generation, and inspire them in the same way they inspired me.” Pita Cheng.
Throup has infamously and rigorously rejected the norms of the fashion system by continuously refusing to create seasonal collections or show his work in a conventional runway format.
In 2016, he released the second and final ‘New Object Research’ collection, presenting it at London Fashion Week on life-sized articulated puppets, each maneuvered by 5 puppeteers.
The collection was only available by purchasing one of the five completely clothed life-size puppets; individually sold as sculptures.
For the first time ever, people will be able to get their hands on an extremely limited number of some of the pieces from this collection, in the form of rare prototypes and final pre-show samples.
Other highlights include a ‘1 of 1’ version of the original New Object Research ‘Stockwell’ denim jacket, featuring an unreleased highly engineered ‘Dutch rope fastening system’.
The project has been visualized by an editorial photographic campaign art directed by Throup,
which for the first time merges iconic pieces from various unrelated archival concepts into a singular hybrid aesthetic.
This feels timely and relevant, following the artist’s recent announcement that his long-awaited project ‘Anatomyland’ is nearing the final stages of development.
To celebrate the launch of ‘Original Archive 55’ Aitor Throup will draw one of his daily sketches on Instagram Live on 13th December.
The original artwork will be auctioned by Ink, with all proceeds going to WWF Hong Kong.
The auction theme will continue into the culmination of the project,
as fans will have the extremely rare chance to bid for one of each of the two highly sought after ‘skull bags’ from the studio’s archive:
one Shiva skull bag and one upside-down skull backpack from the deeply political project ‘On The Effects Of Ethnic Stereotyping’.
Unveiling this exclsuive project, ink caught up with Aitor to talk about his thoughts on the recent fashion trends, and the OA55:
I honestly don’t know anything about today’s culture regarding fashion archives… For me personally though; the idea of an archive is imperative to my creation process.
My end goal is never a seasonal collection or a catwalk; but instead it’s an archive… a museum…
I’m not satisfied unless I KNOW that the work will hold its value through its deep meaning AND its sublime execution.
I can’t allow any ‘fillers’ in my archive. For me an archive is a manifestation of ‘timelessness’ - which is, in theoretical terms, the antithesis of ‘fashion’.
Almost a decade after the NOR13, we believe the market had been waited for so long to grab the chance of getting these archives.
What drives you decide to release the OA55 at this point?
In order to make the 15 Year anniversary exhibitions happen last year we had to spend some time visiting pieces from the archive - in particular pieces from New Object Research.
We had to dedicate some time to restoring some pieces for the exhibitions and this meticulous process helped me to reconnect with the energy of that past work…
I was actually able to learn new things about my upcoming project Anatomyland… it was very beautiful experience for which I am very grateful.
I was able to analyze my own work on a deeper level; and appreciate the depth of the work with substantial time having passed since we presented it.
Through this process of spending significant time in the archive we started gathering samples and prototypes which had not been intended for sale originally.
As the response to the exhibitions was so great, we decided to curate a selection of pieces from my own archive and restore and upgrade them
to give people a chance to own something from the first 15 years of our history. It seems like the perfect timing; one year after the exhibitions;
and one year before we finally launch Anatomyland. It feels like a chance for us to say goodbye to that period…
by sharing it with the world… Ultimately I still love the product; so it feels right to share it.
Among all the archives from the OA55, any item(s) can be best represent your ideas and level? Why?
Obviously the Shiva skull bag and the Skull backpack are pieces which are instantly recognizable;
and that can convey their depth and complexity as soon as you interact with them at products…
I think they became synonymous with my work because I managed to create a new sort of iconography out of an image that is extremely saturated and to which we are de-sensitized:
the human skull. Besides and beyond their vastly different conceptual meaning, both skulls obviously represent the singular universal concept of death: our final frontier…
I have always instinctively felt that human liberation lies at the acceptance of our own mortality…
I think it’s important and valuable for art to continue to evolve new manifestations of the ‘Memento Mori’ archetype.
If there is any special archive piece this time that had never been released before and exclusively for this project?
Yes!! Actually; all the pieces from NOR 2016 were actually only available for sale if you bought one of the six life size puppets used in the show…
We were able to gather a selection of prototypes and development samples in order to create a sort of mini capsule collection - probably resulting in the smallest run of product I have ever and will ever do…
I think that’s the rarest stuff… It has never and will never be available as wholesale…they’re literally art pieces.
There are also a couple of prototype gems that could be interesting for collectors…
for instance, the one-off NOR’13 denim jacket with the Dutch roping system fastening.
I was tempted to keep that… but I’m more curious about where it will end up…!
You are always praised as a “Function” designer, what’s your view towards recent Gorpcore trend?
(*Gorpcore: A style focused with functional, outdoors-inspired gears)
I really don’t have an opinion… I think trends are inevitable…
They’re collective expressions of socio-cultural dynamics - just symptoms of humanity creating and sharing values through aesthetics.
I think that’s fine but it doesn’t particularly interest me… I mean, I wish it did…
But I literally spend my whole time deep in my work or being a dad, so I rarely formulate an opinion on the latest ‘trends’…
That being said, my daughter Bramble recently turned 14 and she’s educating me about trends, so who knows maybe I’ll become an expert soon haha…
The truth is, many trends can come and go in the same span of time that I’m developing a single pocket.
As a super fans of soccer, your thoughts on the recent Blokecore style among the youth?
(*Blokecore: A style inspired by British working men in mid-1990s, describing a causal look comprising soccer jersey with jeans or shorts)
I have never heard of that but definitely sounds like a pretty good style to me….
It’s just crazy to me that style needs to be categorized in that way..
I suppose it’s the nature of such a capitalist society.
Things need to be labeled in order to be exploited and commercialized.
Have you ever considered to adopt Blokecore into your designs? For example, an integration with the TheDSA series?
What do you think the youth nowadays would comment on your designs?
I honestly think that whatever opinion the collective public might have on my work will be pretty consistent through time…
I don’t think the response is any different now to when i first released New Object Research. I still hear from young designers and students who reference my work;
and the response is always of a deeper connection or understanding…
I think that the people who connect with it instinctively know that there are layers to it.
It would be nice to see OA55 connect with a younger audience and begin to see archive pieces styled in a new way by a new audience…
I think it’s the perfect timing to introduce my work to a younger generation ahead of finally dropping Anatomyland next year…
The level of design and development with my new project is beyond anything I have ever done before…
and there are things that don’t look like anything that has ever existed before;
but OA55 is definitely a good transition into it….
I particularly enjoyed styling and art directing different archive pieces from different periods and projects into singular outfits: creating a sort of hybrid archive aesthetic of all my past work…
One said “The modern men’s fashion is a reflection of military uniform”. As a collector and user, can you share your thoughts on military gears?
For me, military archive and surplus pieces were a huge source of learning and inspiration - particularly in my early days as a designer…
I realised that these pieces are truly timeless because of their authenticity.
Often they invent or innovate completely new design features which ultimately become ubiquitous style references,
yet when originally presented they were simply a clever solution to a real problem.
It’s this sport of ‘incidental’ aesthetic of the problem-solving product design process that became the foundation of my purist design values.
t’s like I crave the same hit of authenticity but with a way more dynamic range of concept and context…
According to your previous statement, the latest project – ANATOMYLAND will share a whole new dimension of products compare to the tease released in 2021. Would you share more with us?
No. Haha… Just trust me… It’s coming.
It’s almost impossible to describe it with words….
‘Original Archive 55’ will be available from 14th December from Ink Hong Kong.
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