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James Long Womenswear S/S11

Gradients on loose knits and psychedelic dip-dye shirts made for a colourful and laidback collection

PhotographyRobin SinhaTextKin Woo

Artists and their way of living have long held a fascination for designers. Take Christopher Wool’s scribbles transposed to Proenza Schouler’s work or Adam Kimmel taking inspiration from George Condo. Looking at the oil slicks and marble-ized effects of James Long’s strong SS 11 show, one might be tempted to think of Jackson’s Pollock’s Action paintings but as it turns out a trip to Woodstock and the antiheroes of My Own Private Idaho and Midnight Cowboy were the building blocks for the collection. Long is famed for his knitwear – this time tattered and frayed and dip-dyed, and for his leatherwork where he accomplished the distinctive feat of transposing paint spills onto the leather. It amounted to a development of ideas and techniques that have been bubbling over in Long’s mind and a beautifully wayward collection.

Dazed Digital: What was the thinking behind the prints of the collection?

James Long: I worked with the artist, Ethan Cook to create the prints for the collection. I went to Woodstock in May and there was this guy that we saw that had a great spirit and there was a lot I wanted to capture from him.

There seems to be a great emphasis on lots of different textures

James Long: Texture is always in the mix – with the leathers and the knitwear. I put a lot of denim in. it’s very Woodstock inspired. Not hippy but hallucinogenic inspired.

DD: You’re always known for your work with leather – how did you push forward and experiment this time?

James Long: It’s hard to print on leather so we put this liquid ink on the leather. Also, the cowhide skins are splashed with acid that removed the fur and reburnished. We’ve tried to do that before but this is the first time we’ve been successful.

DD: Is making menswear personal for you?

James Long: Yeah it’s my heart and soul – it’s what I do every day. Everything goes into it from the people I work with, people I know who inspire me. I have a lot of muses who help inform the collection.

DD: If you were to sum up an emotion running through the collection, what would that be?

James Long: Relaxed hallucinogenic!