Created in collaboration with Ditto, Locked On pays tribute to the UK’s pirate radio culture
Liam Hodges is one of London’s budding menswear talents. Now in his sixth season, the RCA grad and Fashion East designer has garnered critical acclaim for his hard-edged, utilitarian aesthetic, which is marked by a clever use of graphics and its references to British subculture in its varying forms. In the wake of his petrolhead-themed AW16 show at London Collections: Men, the designer has released a publication created in collaboration with London fashion’s favourite independent publishers Ditto.
Launching on Thursday, Locked On is an extension of Hodges SS16 collection, Blackburn’s Children, which drew from UK’s pirate radio culture. In this book, graffiti-inspired glyphs and camo patterns are juxtaposed with poetry from spoken-word artist Hector Aponysus, who performed at the show and pictures taken backstage, using disposable cameras. “It’s scrapbook from a long night at a rave or something,” says the designer ofthe publication.
We asked Hodges, Ditto founder Ben Freeman and art director Jamie Andrew Reid to tell us more.
What’s the premise of Locked On?
Liam Hodges: It’s an extension of the SS16 collection, expanding on the show and inviting people a little bit deeper into the brand – beyond the garments on hangers.
Ben Freeman: At Ditto we’re really interested in the power of publishing to add extra dimensions to the work of a designer like Liam. This publication is a little art object, another way of connecting to Liam’s world.
How did this collaboration come about?
Jamie Andrew Reid: We met up way before any kind of idea was in place. Liam and I sat down and talked through our ideas and went through some sketches. As time went on, while Liam was working through his collection, we got together with Ben and felt the most suitable platform for this would be a publication.
Liam, can you tell us briefly about your SS16 collection and how this book relates to it?
Liam Hodges: The graphic images in the book are from a number of studies we did in the studio, making prints that built on the idea of pirate radio. The whole premise of pirate radio is that if you don’t like the way something is, you do it yourself. I remember seeing an old news report from the 90s about pirate radio. They interview a policeman and he just can’t fathom why anyone would go to such extreme lengths to play the music they wanted. It was an uncompromising position. Subverting messages and codes into the prints and woven fabrics with binary code, soundwaves and distorted text was our way of spreading a message. This book serves as a memoir of that season, the attitude and the show.
How would you describe the aesthetic of this book?
Liam Hodges: I think the aesthetic is the same as the brand. Each has a little uniqueness to it, it’s really about a bit of organised chaos, raw and beautiful reality.
Jamie Andrew Reid: Yeah, I think the book is kind of a compendium of Liam’s process and sketches he was working through to reach the end point of his collection. From his pre-existing material, it was about editing down and reinterpreting the visuals through print and graphic treatments. It’s an overload of visual information interspersed with photography.
How did you translate the Liam Hodges brand into this book?
Jamie Andrew Reid: It was important to create something authentic both to Liam as a brand and to the subject matter. It would have been easy to do a more literal or cheesy reference, but we wanted the book to feel a bit darker and more about the undercurrent and subculture. Liam, of course, has a unique style which is very graphic, so just incorporating that element keeps it in line with Liam’s world, but equally serves as a stand-alone publication.
The book includes some poetry by Hector Aponysus – can you tell us about him and how he came to be involved in this project?
Liam Hodges: Hector is a spoken-word artist. We got him to perform a piece at the SS16 show. We wanted to bring the energy of an MC to the catwalk but, for me, it was important that it wasn’t just hype. I met with Hector to talk about the collection. I’m not the best with words, I always put emotion into language, whereas it’s something that he just nailed right there after talking for a few hours. For me, it was important that he became a part of the book, as not everyone got to see the catwalk, not everyone was there for his amazing performance over Visionist’s track. It really became so integral to the collection.