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Slow and Steady Wins the Race 21st Birthday

If the fabled tortoise didn't convince you, 21 years of Slow and Steady Wins the Race definitely should...

When a shimmery-silver deflated balloon arrives in your mailbox, inviting you to the latest collection of Slow and Steady Wins the Race you know fun and surprises are in store. This past Friday the experimental and always conceptual line made their 21st collection into a 21st Birthday party extravaganza to kick start New York Fashion Week. Though, unlike most fashion presentations, there was a total of 21 cakes to be munched on and no clothes to be revealed! SSWTR instead took a mixture of vintage and customized piñatas, and filled them with 21 surprises, only to be revealed to its buyer.

As the piñatas exterior shells exerted fun facades like a mouth-gaping shark, a adorable cow, a jellyfish and a white-and-blue tube sock, their guts were more purposefully decided. Each piñata’s contents revolve around the ideas of birth and longevity, and included among the mysterious insides are vintage pocket watches, flower seeds, and a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. Yet the only person who can truly know a piñatas true contents must first purchase one for $100, and then break it up like a candy-craving 8-year-old to reveal its magical contents. The whole night brought me back to grade school birthday parties when you insisted your friends to tear open their wrapped goodies at the party to a handful of guests—the same will probably be the case all this week at Pop-Up host, Kiosk.

Dazed Digital: How did you get the idea to circle your twenty-first collection around the notions of birth and longevity?
Ping: When we arrived at the 21st collection, the first related idea that came to mind was: '21st birthday'.

DD: What made you choose piñatas rather than wrapped presents?
P: Piñatas automatically signify a festive activity and action that is rooted in both an extensive history and culture.

DD: Since only the buyers will be see each one's contents, could you give us a preview of what is in each, and how did you go about choosing their contents?
P: Each have foundation contents that signify birth and growth such as seeds and/or watches. They each house a particular surprise as the prize.

DD: Which piñata is your personal favorite? Why?
P: The tube sock is pretty bizarre in a fantastic way but perhaps the jellyfish is my favorite because of the trapdoor and the tendrils that mask the mechanism.

DD: What obstacles were faced in finding the vintage piñatas? I hear the snowman monster was found in Queens, do the others have interesting pasts?
P: There were no real obstacles more of just a treasure hunt through the city and the internet. The carrot cake is from a woman who crafts pinatas as a hobby.

DD: According to you, what is the most challenging part of designing a collection?

P: Balancing meaning with beauty.

DD: Your collections always stem from a conceptual background, and knowing this how do you think Slow and Steady Wins the Race fits into the New York fashion scene?
P: I think it has managed to carve a niche that politely straddles many arenas. The diverse fan base is a nice testament to this.

DD: At the beginning of your collection you remained an anonymous force, but today your name is well known as the designer of SSWTR, how do you think the manifesto of the line has morphed since then?
P: I am still trying to keep it anonymous, but this is another interesting socio-psychological observation on people's curiosity about always wanting to know who is behind the curtain. I still do not know why that is. I am just trying to stick to a mission and letting the work speak for itself.

The Slow and Steady Wins the Race Pop-Up Exhibition at KIOSK runs from February 14, 2009 to February 20, 2009 at 95 Spring Street New York, NY.