PARIS FASHION WEEK
INTERVIEW WITH SPLEEN FACTORY : SAD BOYS COLLECTIVE
Last saturday night, our curiosity brought us to "La Capela" in La Chapelle Paris northern area, a cultural center turned into a fashion hang-out for the evening. Spleen Factory, modern romantic collective and emerging magazine, presented its first Spring/Summer 18 collection : Sad Girls. Into the madness of the busy fashionweek, time has been suspended for a while as soon as the performance started. Male models evolved across columns dressed in genderless garments, inspired by the mythical characters of Phaedra, Eurydice and Antigone. For the music, Jeremy Renoir and Safia Bahmed Schwartz both performed their beautiful lament. We had to discuss about this with Silvain Claverson ( Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director of Spleen Factory ), who co-designed the original collection with Dylan Fluzin (Wanda Nylon).
Hello Sylvain, it gets pretty emotional down there, regarding melancholy, without a doubt you know your subject !
What inspires you so much in this modern «malady of the century» , which is clearly the base of the Spleen Factory manifesto ?
Emotions are a very fertile ground for inspiration, we are ourselves little cry babies who endlessly dig in our own internal storm to figure things out, like pretty much everyone I guess ! That is the reason we wanted to talk about melancholy - we think it touches a place in everyone that is easy to connect with - even if it is not always comfortable. There is also a lot of irony when we use that imagery, we make fun of the gothy teenagers we were and have fun with the aesthetic codes we built ourselves with. But melancholy is not our only source, we like to think Spleen Factory as a romantic and queer fantasy dedicated to contemplation, a sort of blurry filter that we place between us and what we want to show of what surrounds us. With the magazine, the clothing collection or the shows and events we produce within our creative collective, we spontaneously craft and show things we like, that turn us on or that we think are cool. When we work for other clients, which allows us to do what we do, we try to be a little less bratty but so far we have always been working with people that get our thing and want to be affiliated. We don’t pile up contracts of course but to this day melancholy has been a good niche for us to explore and work with.
What about Sad Girls ? This is your first collection, how was it to set up a project like this ?
Like every time we started something new with Spleen Factory, it began with an encounter. I met Dylan in a club and we started hanging out. We were both aware and enthusiastic about each other’s previous work. His thesis collection (he graduated in 2016 from the Dupperé school - Paris) had caught me before and I always wanted to see what an actual Spleen Factory collection would look like. We exchanged a few ideas and we started to work on « Sad Girls ». It took endless debates and long hours to come up with volumes, materials and an effective color palette, but the theme of the collection rose very early in the process. It is a collection about contemporary solitude and how tough love can leave one craving for more violence when it comes to an end. It is also about love, sex, and how some people use those things as weapons. The colors we used have obvious meanings, the embroideries too. We went fully there for this first collection, we wanted to have a very simple message - if any was needed at our very modest level. We did not overthink it but it helped us to take quicker decisions from the making of the garment to the way we wanted to present the collection.
What’s your position in this Paris fashion Week ? Do you feel included, or can we say about you that you are part of this alternative fashion, which privileges creativity over business ?
The fashion industry is the ground we individually evolve in, but when it comes to this collection, we do not see Paris Fashion Week as a tool we could use to promote our thing - we are just a bunch of friends who started a magazine, love what they do and wanted to design something else for a change. I don’t think it would be our place, but one day, why not! The fashion world is unequally receptive to our message. Our point of view is strong and not everyone wants to hear about sad stuff all the time! We tried for a few years to get aligned with what the fashion industry could expect from a magazine in order to invest and use it as a tool to promote their product, but we soon realized Spleen Factory was not the right platform for it and that the people working on this project were clearly not here to do beauty products pack shots. We can hardly pay all the amazing people that work with us - at least we want to give them the opportunity to experiment and have fun. Now that we produced a fashion collection ourselves, we hope it is going to give us the opportunity to explore the fashion industry further, but we don’t want to aim too high too fast. We promote our work with the tools we have and we do our best for people to want to read us or wear us because they think it is cool, whether they belong to the fashion crowd or not.
What’s your plans for the future ? Will we see other presentations for next season or any different projects ?
Another collection, hopefully yes! Crafting this project has been a lot of fun and we somehow ended up taking it quite seriously. It already starts bringing collaborative projects with other brands and entities and that is something we would like to explore. Other than that, we will soon be working on a new issue entitled Ghosts. We will work on a different scale than usual, a different approach too. Also, our collective keeps on working on fashion-related events, directing and producing shows, exhibitions and clubbing parties. We would love to have time to do it all at the same time but we are a small team, so we will work on our projects one after the other - but stay tuned, we always have something going on!