Monday, July 18, 2011
5 Minutes With Antoni and Alison
Duo Alison Roberts and Antoni Burakowski are also perhaps better known as the London-based fashion designers Antoni + Alison whose work is worn and admired internationally. Antoni & Alison met at St. Martins School of Art, London in 1982, where Antoni studied Fashion Textiles and Alison studied Fine Art/Painting - they met in the first term, became inseparable and have worked together ever since.
In 1997, Antoni and Alison opened their shop ‘The Factory of Lights and Experiment’ at 43 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1.
Celebrated for their vivid ‘text piece’ T-shirts, such as “Imagine the Best Best Thing Ever”, “I Can’t Relate to the 17th Century” and “Elvis is Lovely”; their collections are now admired internationally.
Published in the New Year’s Honour list in January 2008, Antoni Burakowski and Alison Roberts, as ‘Fashion Designers and Photographers’, were both awarded M.B.E.s by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for their ‘Services to the Fashion Industry’.
Q1. What was the first record you bought and what effect did it have on you?
Ride a White Swan - T. Rex and Johnny Reggae - The Piglets..... I bought 2 - I always want more !!!
Gonna Make you a star - David Essex.....'I thought he was really dishy - he was my 1st crush'
Q2. What's the best ‘fashion moment’ you’ve ever experienced?
My wedding last week ..... I wore a Platinum coloured , Silk paper taffeta full length twisted 'bin bag' dress with a 2 metre train , a 1930's wax crown from my nan's wedding, a silk tulle veil and blue glitter shoes.....'I felt Wonderful'
Apart from Dressing Alison for her super special day....
I always remember my 1st fashion look - when I was allowed to choose exactly what I wanted to wear for the 1st time .... A Psychedelic tye dyed , multi coloured , spin painting look alike , 3 buttoned T.shirt - worn proudly with black & purple 'Budgie Jacket' - unzipped.
Q3. Where did you find inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration is from a place we call the 'Beautiful Place' - a long drive out of London.... we have never told anyone where this is though.
Q4. Tell us a bit about your Uniqlo collaboration please?
Uniqlo emailed us and asked if we would be interested in a T.shirt collaboration.... coincidentally we were actually in the process of archiving for the V&A the past 13 years of our work at that exact moment in time (they already have the 1st 10 years) .... so it kind of felt that it was 'meant to be' .... Uniqlo were coming to London the following week - and so we met and they spent 2 days with us - looking back over all of the T.shirts we had ever designed (a vast archive of pieces)...they originally only wanted 8 designs - but chose instead 23 (to represent every year we had been Antoni & Alison) ..... so for the very first time we allowed a re printed edition of our text piece T.shirts to be made available again (we had pioneered many text pieces in our work... and so these felt correct and timely to 'wake up' again) .... with each collection title and original date they were designed added to the back of the T.shirt to explain a little about the piece..... all typefaces, wonky layouts , scale, coloration, print placement and even the original 'mistakes' were beautifully copied..... we wanted them to be a close to the original hand made pieces as they could possibly be.....they have sold World Wide in all Uniqlo stores...... the collaboration was titled - Antoni & Alison are Brilliant Genius(es) ....... and it was a brilliant project to do.
In France - Nobody Understands me was No 1 seller- in US. 'Girl going to work in an Office' was No1 seller and in UK - 'I Hate My Hair'. No 1.
Q5. Has the rapid information exchange via the Internet changed your business?
Yes....The phone never rings anymore ...... nobody calls us.... so we work a lot in silence now..... apart from the ping of the emails coming through.... which we can choose to read or not.... so we do a lot more work now as the interruptions are less.