“To tell the truth, I don’t even know how many people are in Cold squad,” begins William Francis Green, a menswear student at Central Saint Martins and co-founder of Cold Heart Collective. “It started with just two of us, but it’s become an encompassing name for my circle of friends. About four of us contribute regularly, plus we have a mix series that is curated by the producer Lack…”
Founded in 2010, this week the collective will drop its first apparel collection for three years, as they welcome ‘Spiritual Playboy’ to the fold. Debuted back in February at a one-off event in Antwerp, the new offering marries garishly coloured streetwear vibes with the spiritual teachings of controversial guru Osho, and sees the group tap into the current sartorial zeitgeist with an offbeat approach to casual sweats.
They assert that the capsule line – two tees, two hoodies – illustrates how the Cold Heart aesthetic has evolved in time; Clash caught up with William to learn more.
Where did the collective’s moniker arise from, and how did you come up with the title for the new collection?
My friend Jon used to keep frozen pig hearts in his freezer… the rest is history. ‘Spiritual Playboy’ is a phrase coined by the guru Osho, the main influence of the collection. All of our collective have been inspired by the teachings of various spiritual leaders, but most of them seem to lack the carefree and humorous approach of Osho; it is very human and relatable. He’s basically the Austin Powers of spirituality.
Cold Heart Collective was founded in Liverpool. How did the city inspire the collection’s formation?
Back in like 2k10 there was a small local punk/hardcore scene in the city; everything was very DIY. We’d put on gigs in pub basements and people’s houses and paint/print our own merch. It kind of stemmed from that really – I made a load of wooden screen printing presses and churned out some designs for and inspired by bands in the scene. I loved the DIY aspect of it all and even though the scene died quite quickly, it gave us the inspiration to form the group.
What led you to Osho?
Another boy of the collective put me onto him. He just seemed like the ultimate boy, wanted to graft, party and drive about in all of his gnarly motors. His independence inspires me most: how he moved to the US on his own and created a thriving commune all on his own, giving people purpose and an outlet for expression. He also talks a lot about materialism and how we can’t deny that as humans we become attached to objects, which I think is important to acknowledge in this day and age.
And how you would describe the CHC aesthetic?
The UK hardcore scene was the main inspiration for our image and also our ethos. Musical inspired graphics on simple clothing, as if we were making glorified band merch. The scene died and our tastes changed, we had no bands to represent so we just wanted to print what represented ourselves; a lot of our early shirts featured photos we’d taken. I suppose independence is the main inspiration if you will. We design, print, style, shoot and sell everything ourselves. We do everything on our own terms. Hand printing also makes every piece limited and unique, which is important with the amount of mass produced shit around.
The ‘Spiritual Playboy’ collection is supposed to be fun; bold primary colours are kind of a statement to the amount of black people wear today. Also functionality; all the clothes have appliqué pockets on them – it always bugged me how hoodies always had these big ass hand pockets that you couldn’t put things in without them falling out.
Who are the models in the look book?
Kev and Sean are our boys that liked the clothes and were willing to muck about whilst we pointed cameras at them. Like I said before, we’re involved in every process of what it takes to putting any project together.
You’re studying at Central Saint Martins. How’s that?
CSM is mad. The course is cool but also restrictive at times, which isn’t the impression a lot of people have about that school. It’s the classic dilemma of how much of the teacher’s advice you’re willing to take. Sometimes they know best, then other times you have to be confident enough with your own ideas that you know how to make something work. Moving from Liverpool to London to put a hold on all the things I was doing with the label, so this is our first proper collection in two years.
Finally, can you tell me about the private view in Antwerp?
Well I’ve currently taken a placement year to get experience working in the fashion industry. I was interning with the designer Devon Halfnight in Antwerp and had made the collection just before I went away; one of the people I stayed with in the city had an exhibition space he was re-opening, Bar-a-bas and asked if I’d display it as part of the night.
We created a shrine that included these molecular sculptures made out of laughing gas canisters representing Osho’s addiction to nos. It was nice for people to witness the collection first-hand in an appropriate environment. I gotta shout-out Warre, Mo, Ned, Alex and Sean who all helped make it happen. We had local musicians come down to perform and the whole thing ended up just turning into a party, which I think is what Osho would’ve wanted.
Interview: Zoe Whitfield
Look book photography: Max Granger