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Archive for the ‘Behind the Shoot’ Category
One of our favorite new projects we’ve been working on here in our studio and around Brooklyn is our new Tumblr: Live, Work, Create. Unlike most other Tumblrs that pull from other websites (something we don’t mind at all), LWC is comprised of content 100% produced by our design team. So pardon us if we’re a bit excited.
When we first starting talking about inspiration for this Fall’s campaign last year, a series of highly unusual events had occurred in New York City around the time – a mild earthquake that prompted an evacuation of our headquarters in DUMBO, a hurricane that shut down the entire subway system for the first time ever, and a twister that wound its way through the narrow streets of Brooklyn, tearing down our Park Slope store awning. At that point, it wouldn’t have been surprising if Cloverfield had washed ashore.
What those events did remind us of was how tenuous the order and balance between the culture we create and nature really is. We construct seemingly impregnable fortresses made of steel and concrete, yet add a little rain water and we become savages with shopping carts battling it out for the last gallon of water. During the day, we put on our dry cleaned button ups, yet at night, we dance primally to beats, push ourselves into subway crowds, dress ourselves in ostentatious peacock outfits, and fall prey to our sexual urges. We migrate from neighborhood to neighborhood, leaving stretches of avenues for nature to reclaim with weeds and rust, only to later be scouted, chopped down, and reclaimed by the cultural agents of gentrification.
Living in New York City, it’s sometimes easy to forget about nature, outside of the occasional sidewalk tree, subway rat, and herd of pomeranians on leashes. To remind us of our susceptibility to our savage tendencies and the forces of nature, the design team packed our cars and headed up north to the Catskills to camp and shoot our fall line. While urbanites packing for the country can be a little awkward – DSLR’s, chocolate, iPods, we instantly found our footing with bare feet, running and rolling down grassy hills, carving up kindling for the fire, and racing through dark woods at night. Our models – Kevin who we found in the middle of a crowded dance floor at a Rockaway Beach dance party, and Haley who we plucked from Bushwick, were equally intrepid, joining us in a tipsy stag leap dance, and even voluntarily wading through a pond inhabited by hordes of giant, croaking bullfrogs.
For the earlier fall release, color blocking and nautical stripes run through many of the designs, along with inspiration from op art. Later in the fall, the more autumnal colors begin to show up, along with houndstooth patterns and lace.
For more campaign photos, visit Live, Work, Create.
Photos 1 & 2 by Kevin Rogers. Photos 3-5 by Courtney Chavanell
We dug up a few print ads from the archives the other day from 2005 that still looked really great. The above pic was of BKI cofounder Lexy Funk shot by Ports Bishop in the style of a portrait from the medieval times. Shot in a studio on Kent Ave. in Williamsburg, this series was produced for the launch of our outerwear collection at the time.
The ad from this campaign taken the same year was inspired by the postwar German Fluxus artist, Joseph Beuys. On top of the sculptural elements, the graphic overlay also paid homage to the artist.
And this last one speaks for itself. Live, Work, Create – our motto we still live by. Compare that with Banana Republic’s old ads.
What’s our favorite accessory for the summer? Shades. While summertime in Brooklyn is legendary, the bright sun can be brutal – especially after the endless rooftop BBQs, Rockaway trips, and late night dance parties. When we’re feeling lethargic with our attire, sunglasses are always the easiest fixer upper for outfits. And with the protective case, they’re the perfect portable disguise – for whatever neighborhood you wake up in!
For our recent shoot in Greenpoint, we headed to the ferry landing with our cameras and shot a short movie inspired by the classic surrealist/post apocalyptic 60′s French film, La Jetée. On the vast expanse of the ferry landing, our models got to show off their thespian side, embracing and running down the pier in wedges and sunglasses, and dodging commuters with our photographer/CEO, Lexy Funk chasing after them with both hands on the camera – the perfect combination of hilarious, and dangerous.
For our 2012 summer campaign, BKI reached out to Austin, Texas for photographer Courtney Chavanell. Living in the “Live Music Capital of the World” has afforded Chavanell the opportunity to capture intimate portraits of some of our favorite musicians, including Sonic Youth, Spoon, the Flaming Lips, and the Black Angels. As there’s a tangible musical and lyrical quality to the streets of Brooklyn and the colorful people that inhabit them, Chavanell’s music background was a perfect fit.
How did you originally get involved with photography?
My dad was a photographer and I grew up assisting him without even realizing it at the time! I didn’t even know I was interested in becoming a photographer until I picked up a camera of my own around age 15 and began photographing myself, my friends and pretty much everything around me. When I moved to Austin for college, I became immersed in the music scene, bringing my camera to shows and finding inspiration in the musicians in the city and the ones passing through.
You seem to have shot a lot of great bands in the past. What’s your draw to music photography?
I am drawn to music photography simply because I love music. When I hear a song that resonates with me, I become curious about the songwriter or the performer, then I do my research and often times, become motivated to capture that personality visually. To me, it’s the same thing that anyone experiences when they hear a song they love. They want to tell their friends, their family or anyone that will listen. I do the same thing – I just prefer to do tell the world visually. My aim as a photographer is to document musicians in a creative and respectful perspective, as unique and profound as their music.
What do you love about shooting in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn is amazing because of its history and the eclectic mix of people. So many different cultures together creates some of the most interesting faces. I’d love to spend more time photographing those faces… beautiful, hardworking folks I encounter on the street, from the youth to the elderly.
To view more of Courtney’s work, visit her website.
As a fashion brand, specifically a Brooklyn based brand, we are inspired by the world around us. Brooklyn continues to be our muse but this summer’s 2012 collection is more specifically guided by the movie Jungle Fever. For the Brooklyn Industries design team, the movie provided a starting point for the collection, a source of contextual visual cues for the designers to work with but that is not where it ended. Upon further examination, our initial artistic inspiration developed into a broad idea of the concrete jungle and what it means to be a part of a multicultural landscape. Our senses were awakened by the captivating aesthetics of the film and were further challenged when we began to talk about the race issues surrounding the movies characters. Despite Brooklyn’s reputation of being an oasis for diversity and acceptance, we began to question just how accepting Brooklyn was.
Like many New York residents, Brooklyn Industries Creative Director Vahap Avsar immigrated to the United States and was quickly taken aback by the racism and prejudice that was saturating the “melting pot.” While he experienced many refreshing moments of racial accord, he also saw neighborhoods still fundamentally segregated, deep-rooted anger and aggression among many of Brooklyn’s inhabitants, and racial inequality and prejudice that were still occurring in a place that prided itself on fostering diversity and acceptance. The topic of racism in the United States remained a thorn in his side throughout the years and for Brooklyn Industries Summer 2012 season, he was both inspired and driven to utilize the brand’s collection as a platform to spark a dialogue about the state of race relations in the United States and more specifically, Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Industries does not claim to be an authority on race relations or social issues in general. Our objective is not to tell the community how and what to think regarding race but as a brand that is deeply invested in the local community, we felt it imperative to continue the conversation on what many deem as a historical issue, one that no longer exists because of the progress that has been made since the days of slavery, internment camps and civil rights. While we do not discount the many accomplishments of those who have worked tirelessly to create equal opportunity, we do want to remind our community that diligence is needed and a desire to strive for progress is essential in creating a productive and truly blossoming community.
Though it was Spike Lee’s movie Jungle Fever that provoked our initial response, it is the ending in the movie School Daze and the opening credits of Do the Right Thing that serves as the strongest and most cohesive statement as to what Brooklyn Industries aims to accomplish. “Wake Up!” This is our rallying cry, our own call to action that implores our community to open its eyes to the issues within the borough. Wake up and breathe in the beauty that is Brooklyn, but don’t let that be the end. Pay attention, be a diligent participant in your community and educate yourself about the social injustices that are still occurring in 2012.
The Brooklyn Industries summer 2012 collection is more than just powerful prints and the perfect pant for the season, it is about sparking an internal revolution. A revolution in oneself that forces us to examine the state of the community that inspires us and delve deeper than what is visible at the surface. Despite the strides we’ve made within the community, it is our goal to continuously examine, discover and seek out positive change in the jungle we call Brooklyn.
To read CEO, Lexy Funk’s response to the campaign, click here.
For our wintertime night shoot, the team packed up the car with lights and coffee, and headed 45 minutes north to Sleepy Hollow, the town where Washington Irving set his short story about Ichabod Crane and his tormentor, The Headless Horseman. We stumbled upon a small park by the cemetery and as soon as the sun went down, we almost couldn’t believe how beautiful the night pictures were turning out – all awash in contrast, grain, and mystique.
Originally, the clothing line was inspired by our designers’ interest in the spooky forest in Lars Von Trier’s horror film, Antichrist. Aaron, our Women’s Designer, who recommended we shoot in Sleepy Hollow shares details from his previous trip there:
As soon as I stepped off the train, I was already sniffing out where to find the best local eats, and that place is the Sweet Grass Grill. Their seasonal menus are created using food from nearby farms, and the meals are affordable, casual, and totally fresh. After the hearty meal, I explored the neighboring Main Street shops, where you can find a number of vintage furniture stores and art galleries.
But the best place to visit is the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I raised my inner teenage goth from out of the grave and wandered along tombstone-lined trails with a dark and melodic soundtrack of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Cocteau Twins playing in my head. The hilly grounds are covered in strangely gnarled trees, grand stone mausoleums and marble-carved effigies that would put Liberace’s grave to shame.