When Trapstar began in 2006, they operated on a word of mouth basis. Garments were sold via MySpace and Facebook, distributed in pizza boxes, and promoted through one-off “invasions” (spontaneous events in which DJs and friends would gather to shout about the brand). “It would be one big chill out,” Mikey, one of Trapstar’s founders, explained. “We later decided to take this experience beyond London and rented coaches to create road trip invasions, it was all love.” In the mean time, not only did streetwear devotees RiRi and A$AP Rocky don their creations (“to see purists like Rihanna organically embracing the brand is a feeling that can’t be bought”), but they forged a close relationship with Harvey Nichols, too.
Trapstar were among the 22 new brands introduced by the department store giant last autumn, when their contemporary floor in the menswear department was relaunched. Alongside VFiles and Public School, the overhaul was a feat that reaffirmed head of menswear Darren Skey’s notion of Harvey Nichols’ “long standing reputation for discovering young, exciting brands and being the first to bring them to market.” Now, they will exclusively stock the brand’s new 12-piece collaboration with an iconic street artist.
Harif Guzman, the Venezuelan born, NYC-dwelling contemporary artist, was forced to make the streets his canvas during a homeless spell early in his creative career. Since then, Guzman – moniker: Haculla – has gained notoriety on the street art scene for the sharp, often dark, and sometimes humorous social commentaries. He’s also worked with Ralph Lauren and been tapped by some of the world’s leading fashion publications. This next venture with Trapstar and Harvey Nichols is a veritable fusion of street art and streetwear. “I came across his work on the streets of New York,” Mikey told us, “when we got the chance to meet Harif, he spoke about his mission in the art world and it reflected our mission.”
Guzman, looking to London and New York City for inspiration (he describes the two urban centres as “very different”), has called the collaboration “a pure ‘mash-up of these two cities’ ideals and aesthetics.” To be exhibited during LC:M AW15, and thereafter stocked exclusively at Harvey Nichols, the show will be part fashion presentation, part art exhibition – and one of the hottest tickets of the season.