Skinny Girl Diet talk punk’s enduring legacy and London’s next generation of design talent
Skinny Girl Diet have been at the forefront of London’s feminist scene for awhile now. Championing their own brand of politicised punk and calling BS on inauthentic labelling and the commodification of subculture, a recommendation from punk icon Viv Albertine – for most – could be a lot to live up to. But Skinny Girl Diet were never going to disappoint. Fearless and staunchly grounded in pushing their own political agenda, the trio reject the world of clickbait socialism and strive for authenticity in the age of Insta-likes.
The three piece’s latest cosign sees the band team up with one to watch platform On|Off as representatives for a showcase entitled ‘PUNK DIVERSITY’. Presented during the first day of London Fashion Week, with a full day of events introducing the next-gen of London design talent, we caught up with Skinny Girl Diet’s Ursula and Delilah Holliday to discuss punks lasting legacy and the importance of supporting the capitals young creative community.
You released a politically charged EP late last year, along with accompanying zine available at live shows, what made you want to venture into the world of printed publications?
Skinny Girl Diet: We chose those formats because we were sick and tired of the internet and we wanted something we could hold in real time. Babes With The Power Zine was an outlet for our thoughts and messages on issues we hold important to our hearts.
“It's good that the fake people exist because you know that you are the real deal and have been for years”– Delilah and Ursula Holliday
What made you sick of the internet? And how do you feel about being online now?
Skinny Girl Diet: We started to feel that way because this whole message of girl gangs – which we were initially shunned for and laughed at because of – has been hijacked by big corporations, fashion people and ‘Instagram influencers' that probably don't actually care, or know a thing about sister solidarity or being an intersectional feminist and instead are all about the aesthetics – which in our opinion is totally numb and mundane.
With that in mind, it’s the celebration of 40 years of punk this year, which is being celebrated as part of On|Off. Punk is similar to feminism in the way that since the subculture hit the mainstream it’s been commercialised and co-opted by corporations for money. Have you experienced this?
Skinny Girl Diet: We've had it done to us in numerous cases, we thinks it's diabolical, we get so frustrated as because of capitalism and the internet age you can't do anything anymore without someone bigger ripping you off. But what you need to realise is that you will always have these ideas and that person will always be one step behind.
You quite often align yourself with alternative fashion designers or publications and have never been shy about your interest in identity and expression in that sense. How can you tell if a feminist or punk statement made in this way is genuine?
Skinny Girl Diet: We got involved with On|Off because it was a collection of the latest up and coming designers, we love anything that encourages people to be creative. It's difficult being in an independent band, especially as a female, because you constantly get penalised and belittled by decisions you make either way. We have to make decisions that will benefit us in the future, we don't have a millionaire Dad or major label behind us.
We love to support new female fashion designers that don't fit into conversational fashion ideals – but saying that we want to be taken seriously as musicians, so we predominately care more about the music and what's gonna give us longevity. That's the risk you have to take when saying yes to these projects, but On|Off are genuine in their support for emerging creatives.
As a band, what’s your interpretation of punk?
Skinny Girl Diet: Punk means the legacy and the attitude. We feel like some people want to copy what has been before, but only dress in a way that's like a tick list: Dr Martens, studs and leather, so for many it's about the ethos rather than the dress sense. However, the way you express yourself can also be a big part in this too. Punk encourages people to be unique. But people consciously trying to be cool defeats the whole point, surely? Being cool is subjective, happens by accident most times and is not some clothing tick list or suppressing your true self.
How do you think the current landscape of London is treating young fashion designers and musicians?
Skinny Girl Diet: The London scene is very fickle and cliquey. However, there are some projects that really cater for young creatives like On|Off and DIY Space for London. It's not all doom and gloom you just need to find scenes that won't drop you when you challenge their stylised point of view.
And what’s your advice to young creatives trying to challenge the current political climate?
Skinny Girl Diet: Don’t get sucked in or sad about people pretending. It's good that the fake people exist because you know that you are the real deal and have been for years. You're not just doing it for social media likes. All you can do is just keep coming up with new ideas that push boundaries and separate the wheat from the chaff.
On|Off Presents takes place 19th of February 2016 and is a platform established in 2007 to showcase designers On|Off believe to be the ones to watch. More info here