Acne are one of the most consistently innovative and effortless brands in fashion. A hot ticket, a prestigious Paper, super slick collections and now an artist collaboration. The hum around this Swedish collective, of which fashion is just one strand, is permanently in tune.
Artist Daniel Silver is based in London but has roots in Israel, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Eastern Europe. His accent and manners are charming and his art nothing short of spectacular. Creating abstract and human form sculptures, Silver has exhibited all over the world; in Switzerland, Milan, Rome, London and beyond. It shouldn’t come as a surprise therefore, that the designs for his capsule collection with Acne are bursting at the seams with tribal and multicultural prints. Meeting Thomas Persson, editor of Acne Paper a few years ago whilst exhibiting in a group show in Ireland, Silver was invited to Acne’s home city, Stockholm, by creative director Jonny Johansson to see the collections and start thinking about a potential collaboration. Given an open brief of ‘make fabric’, Silver sourced it from all over, and began layering print over print. Now realised – Acne style – on skirts, bandeau dresses, heavy duty T-shirts and cropped leather jackets in two tone peach and lime or black and blue (inspired by Silver’s 2003 Rome show), the collection is a cut above. Silver spoke to i-D online about fashion as a quick thing and art as a slow thing and told us everything the press release didn’t!
Is this your first fashion collaboration? Yes, I’ve collaborated with artists and architects in the past but never with fashion designers.
How did the process differ from designing an piece of art? It’s a lot to do with Jonny’s insight into my practice. It started by him seeing my drawings and he just said ‘make fabric’, he didn’t say what fabric, what colours, he just said ‘make fabric’. I’d never made fabric before so I started cutting and sticking it together and layering it. I didn’t have an idea that it would be for a particular collection or anything, I just ‘made fabric’! Some of the fabrics I used were wax dye which are African fabrics printed in Holland, some were tweed which I bought in a fabric shop in Dalston market and some were tea towels which I used in my sculptures. It was a selection of different fabrics from my life environment.
What do you think of the finished collection? Is it how you envisaged it? I never had an idea what it was going to look like, it was a total surprise. I really like it. It opened a few ideas for me too, I started making really big collages. I’ve got a show at the moment in Athens at AMP Gallery and I’ve made a huge fabric piece for it.
Who do you see wearing the collection? They invited me to the show 2/3 weeks ago and I saw people wearing the T-shirts and shirts with my drawings on them, it was a very strange feeling to see these drawings – which were sketchbook drawings, ideas for sculptures that never happened – walking around in space. It was a positive feeling.
Fashion can bring art to life, it makes it human… Yes, fashion is very much about now, art has more time to reflect. My sculptures are very human orientated and we humans we wear fabric, we wear clothes so it makes sense to do these collaborations.
Is fashion an art form? Art is something very particular. There is a lot of creativity and a lot going on in fashion but maybe fine art, the way I see it, needs more time. I’m not going to be picky about ‘fashion – art, art- fashion’, it’s about people doing things that they enjoy and bringing new things into the world. It’s a great thing to add something positive to this world.
Are you doing anything for Frieze this year? I’ve got a show in the Acne Gallery on Dover Street. They’ve given me the top floor which is a beautiful space. Acne is a collective of creative people doing all kinds of things in a different way, they do fashion but they’re very, very creative in all realms. I’m going to show works which inspire the collection. For instance, the leather jackets in the collection were based on a show I had in Rome in 2003 so I’m showing some of those works and some new works which I made specially for the space.
The Daniel Silver Collection launches with an exhibition tonight (October 11th) at ACNE 13 Dover Street, London and online at acnestudios.com
Text: Sarah Raphael