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Teaming up with 1971 Reiss, the new capsule collection from high-end, high street boutique Reiss, Dazed ran a illustration project. Together with Reiss we launched a t-shirt design competition that was to be the perfect counterpart to its 1971 jeans. We looked for illustrators and designers who could interpret the brief “1971” in the most original way possible – where the winners saw their designs transformed into a limited edition 1971 Reiss t-shirt.

The 1971 Reiss collection is neither retro nor revivalist. It brings a modern, chic, sexy, fashion forward evolution of the brand into denim. The year marks when the company was founded but also captures the ethos and spirit of a time when music and fashion started to make heady connections, and musicians began to establish themselves as bona fide style icons. This is reflected in their jean styles, with names such as 'Goldrush', and 'Patti'.

Taking the idea of “1971” and interpreting it in any way that you want, participants were asked to delve into either specific events that happened in 1971, a person that was born or died that year, or a mood or attitude inspired by social or political change. For Reiss, the 1971 inspiration is not about mere revivalism and retro clichés and the illustrations were to be as fresh and forward thinking as well.

Our examples featured were by graphic artist Damien Poulain, who looked at the 70s as the decade of “the moon” – 1971 was the year that astronauts were playing golf on the moon, and collecting moon rocks. Also illustrator Sophie Stephens, who has designed for House of Holland was inspired by the seventies as the birth of the underground punk scene with the New York Dolls album coming out in 1971. “If I was alive then, I'd be trying to get into CBGB's too!”

Our final example was from illustrator Louisa Lau who says "everyone knows what the Beatles look like at their height of fame, but not circa 1971 when they disbanded. I wanted to reinvent a classic image of The Beatles, like what Reiss are doing with their jeans range."

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