Tuesday’s XOYO Loves date carries a very strong fashion influence. Framed under Virgil Abloh’s Flat White night (the sister brand to his clothing range Off White), it also stars grime superstar JME, who in the past has walked for Cassette Playa, Siobhan Bell who was recently the subject of a Crack Magazine photoshoot, and Oneman, whose love for streetwear is no hidden secret. We caught up with him ahead of the show to discuss the contemporary relationship between all things fashion and electronic music.
You’re playing with JME, Virgil Abloh and Siobhan Bell for XOYO Loves, all of whom have strong connections with the fashion world – how do you see the current relationship between grime and fashion?
To me, fashion and music have always gone hand in hand; everyone would wear the clothes that fitted in with the music they listened to. I feel like fashion isn’t as powerful as music anymore, but you’ve still got a lot of credible designers out there. Like when I was listening to garage and grime when I was 14 or 15, it was all about Nike tracksuits, clima fit hats and TN's.
Then it went very label based, like Skepta turns up to shows in white buttoned down shirts with a Louis Vuitton belt around his neck, it all got a bit too fashion-y. I think now it’s come full circle again, pretty much everyone at a grime party now dresses like they did in 2001, it’s almost like a throwback to the original sound they wanted to do time before Tinie Tempah got signed and they all started trying to make pop records.
Is there now a bit of a dichotomy between high end designers like Nasir Mazhar and more traditional brands like Nike?
For me, Nike is a staple of my youth, kids at my school wore it, everyone would aspire to wear 110’s (Air Max 95’s were called 110’s because they were £110 in the shop). What Nasir’s done is take that to the catwalk, it’s all tracksuits, hoodie and hats but done in a different way. He straddles the line between road and fruity fashion and it works. I can’t think of any other modern designers I could compare to him.
You never hear about a grime MC talking about going to a fashion show and being proud about shutting it down in a tracksuit, to me that’s also the A$AP Rocky influence of high end fashion in rap or grime now. This high-end fashion with road music for me is very cringe, it just doesn’t go together. There are certain people like Nasir who isn’t one of those guys. I’m talking about when I see Raf Simons boots with Nike tracksuit bottoms, it’s not really the way it goes. You wouldn’t have had this fashion interest in urban music if it wasn’t for Rocky.
Why do you think Moschino and Versace have had such a renaissance recently?
That’s all European streetwear. Stone Island, Nike TN’s, Air Max 90’s and 95’s, all of these were only available in Europe. Foot Locker had the only TN account, the French branch had the best. You’d go to Italy, everyone’s wearing Air Max 97’s, Stone Island jackets, Moncler now has a store in New York. European streetwear is blowing up everywhere across the States, it’s really interesting to see. Moschino, Versace and Iceberg, that’s all Europe, that’s
Do you have any favorite brands at the moment?
Patagonia are my family from Amsterdam, Perks and Mini in Sydney too, they do quite off key designs, manipulate old art and do nice cut and sew stuff. Muttonhead in Canada do nice sheepskin tracksuits too. Because I travel quite a lot, I get to go to these different places and meet people. I like Kebai too, they’ve just done a new one with the Londis logo
Going back to the music side of things, how’s Solitaire Vol 4 looking?
I’m working on that over Christmas. I know what’s going on it, and I know what the vibe’s gonna be, there’s loads of new grime on there, these kids from the States making the best grime instrumentals I’ve heard in a long time. These guys Korma, YNGN and Mike G are all killing it. I find them all on SoundCloud, I spend up to seven hours at a time on there, clicking on artists that are following other artists and just lose myself on there. This is the kind of thing that exists only on the Internet, they’re just watching Boiler Room and making music. It’s interesting to think these kids are making such good club music even though they’ve never been in a club before.
Introduction and Interview: Lev Harris