Rare is it that a musician will approach a fashion label to collaborate, such is the relationship of the two; the former is often the go to for the more earnest credentials. But not so for Natasha Khan, who as she tells it, approached London label You Must Create of her own accord.
“My record label helped me approach YMC because I’m a fan of their clothes; I had been making a lot of cut out artwork and was interested in the idea of creating a patterned fabric,” she alludes to Clash, “I was excited to create a collection of my own that felt hand made and personal to me.”
Announced last week via this short video, the result is a capsule collection of men’s and women’s casualwear that appears almost batik like from afar, exotic up close: palm trees receive a heavy mention while multi coloured tie dye fills in the backdrop.
Away from her stage persona as Bat For Lashes – for which Khan has worked with seamstresses and pattern designers to create the frocks, capes, jumpsuits and the like that have shaped her aesthetic since 2006’s ‘Fur and Gold’ – this is her debut fashion experiment.
So how did she find the experience? “It was very easy and fun and liberating. I really enjoyed creating the print with a print specialist; we worked very collaboratively together. And Jimmy and Selene who are YMC, have been so supportive with the creative process.”
“Seeing samples and shapes coming together,” she adds, “has been very exciting, and it’s been so nice having a team of like-minded people to bounce ideas off and discuss each step.”
Exciting is a word she continues to use for the project – similarly there’s an emphasis on collaborating – proof perhaps of her enjoyed initiation into the other side of the fashion world, a place she readily admits was “creatively challenging but in a much more fun and easy going way.”
“For me,” she lets on, “making an album takes the best part of three years and is an extremely deep and emotional process – it’s really my heart and soul being formed into a body of work.”
True to her word, ‘Fur and Gold’ was followed in 2009 by ‘Two Suns’ and ‘The Haunted Man’ came along in 2012. Today then, with the next drop not scheduled (periodically at least) ‘til next year, the time presumably was perfect for such a partnership.
That her musical presence too, is so closely linked to the realms of fashion, style and clothing, undisputedly makes Natasha somewhat authoritative on the subject, or more so at least, than the many others who might enjoy adding designer to their CV.
“I think in the visually geared society we live in, fashion and style are very important. It can communicate so much,” she confirms. “I always think of the image going hand in hand with the music and words, they are all equally important facets of the same creative expression.”
It’s perhaps unsurprising then, that Khan appears in the accompanying campaign, as she has done for all three album covers – the most recent of which saw her stood naked, her modesty preserved by a similarly nude man.
“I have definitely become less shy over the years and feel confident with my body and moving in front of the camera,” she states, adding that “It’s always fun to step into a different persona or role, and to spin some magic if you can!”
Her YMC persona appears pretty Khan standard on the surface – both the imagery and video are dreamy as – but that’s not completely the case, as she attests when quizzed on her favourite item: “The caps are very Neneh Cherry, so I feel bad ass in them!”
Words: Zoe Whitfield