“What does unrestrained creativity look like?” 55DSL asks. Over the last five years it has looked like lifeless dancing shoes to Claudia Zalla, a bouquet in a bin according to Francesca Perry, and for Todd Fisher it was a pair of hands on a pair of knees.
Each of the artists above is one of more than a hundred who have answered label Creative Director, Andrea Rosso’s question, with their imagery blown up on a T-shirt for the 10.55 project.
Clash was recently invited to celebrate 10.55’s V anniversary, with an exhibition that saw five of the team’s favourites return to create a new T-shirt each, displayed on the night in a Shoreditch basement.
We also managed to bag a few tender moments with the director himself, and gained some explanation for that V-word design.
“We are always bombarded by images from the web,” Rosso says of the selection process. “We usually get closer to ones we like the most; we collaborate with people we think are the strongest or just on trends.”
Only “sometimes” is he a fan of the artist before the work starts, while usually it’s creativity research that acts as an introduction.
One of the five new shirts was produced by photographer Gavin Watson, whose black and white images of British subcultures – most prominently in the 1980s – have seen him in high demand in recent times and with two acclaimed books published about the era.
Both his tees feature boys flipping the ‘V’ sign, with the original a young kid standing against a window and the most recent pictured above. Rosso picked out the former as his personal favourite from the extensive range.
“I love also the one from Diedlastnight, it’s very strong,” he adds. Originally set up as a Milanese nightlife site in 2006, a large scale image of a pair of tattooed feet mark their T-shirt out from the rest.
For his own design, a list of words beginning with the letter V all crossed out except for vagina, Rosso claims it is the work of his whole office. “It was a democratic visual decision coming from a question that I asked in the office: “What do you think when I say V?”” he says.
Like Watson’s, it also ties in nicely with the anniversary’s roman numeral. It’s a strong design too, going against the grain; there are few tees that are just the written word, with photography seemingly the creative process of choice.
In brand tradition, there have been just 1055 pieces made of the new collection, on sale now.
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