Wednesday, July 13, 2011

5 Minutes With Christian Joy

Christian Joy is best known for her stage costume designs for Yeah Yeah Yeahs lead singer Karen O. Using found articles and occasionally eschewing thread and print for glue and marker pens she has influenced contemporary fashion with punk and DIY stylings. In 2007 her costume designs were featured at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London as part of the New York Fashion Now exhibit. In 2008 Joy took on dressing UK band The Klaxons persuading them to give up their trademark neon outfits. She also collaborated with TopShop on three limited-edition collections, and released her first personal ready-to-wear garments.

Q1. What was the first record that you bought and how did it change your life?

My uncle actually bought it for me and it was U2, The Joshua Tree. I grew up in a born again christian family and we weren’t allowed to listen to rock music, but I somehow convinced my mom that U2 were christians. I was U2 crazy after that and really just crazy for music in general. It really gave me a lot of confidence to be my own person and to seek out new ideas.

Q2. You started your career no formal training in fashion design and yet have had a big effect and influence on mainstream fashion. Do you think it benefited you to come into the fashion business without 'going through the system'?

Yes, I think I felt like I could create without any real limitations. No one was telling me how to do things so I just kind of invented them on my own. I do think however, that I would have benefited from some sort of business knowledge or just a knowledge of how things are ran, but creatively I’m glad I did it on my own.

Q3. In 2009 Christian Joy costumes were featured in a 'Where The Wild Things' Are pop-up shop in Los Angeles. Any plans for further costume design for movies?

Not so far. I’d definitely be into designing for film though.

Q4. Tell me a little about your collaboration with TopShop.

My collaboration with TopShop basically came up through a friend of a friend. I have always felt like I wished I would have done something a little bit more over the top for it, but I think in my mind I was thinking “oh this needs to sell” so I should make it simple and actually the dresses I sold were a variation of some dresses that I had already made and sold here in NY and they did really well so I figured why not.

Q5. How do you think online, ecommerce and information exchange is influencing fashion/anti fashion?

It just all becomes more accessible, which is good and bad. I liked feeling like a bit of an outsider growing up and wearing clothes that people thought were weird. You had to really take the time to create your own style, plus you knew who your allies were just by the way they were dressed. I guess now with the internet it’s blurring the boundaries. It makes it classless. Now everyone can be in style, which I guess gives people confidence. I hate using the word hipster, but it really does define a look and you can find people wearing that look all over the world and for the most part they are meant to be the artists and musicians and liberal thinkers. I feel like there aren’t as many small fashion sects anymore. Like my husband grew up in San Francisco in the 80’s and he talks about how he went to see The Smiths and he had long hair and was into the Smiths but also Metallica and how the new wave kids wanted to beat him up because of his long hair. I kind of like the fear in fashion. I like that someone would feel threatened by the way someone dressed. I think as much as I love the accessibility of information now I don’t like the way it has homogenized everything. It’s boring.

U2 - Where The Streets Have No Name (Full Version - Live)

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