CAV EMPT INTERVIEW & EDITORIAL BY OLLIE ADEGBOYE
For a relatively young brand, Cav Empt already has a well developed cult audience. The brand wears its diverse influences on their proverbial and physical sleeves, which is perhaps the reason why they’ve been able to garner such a loyal following in such a quick time.
Behind the brand are Sk8thing, Hishi and Toby Feltwell whose respective backgrounds can be seen in all aspects of the brand. The notoriously secretive Sk8thing learnt his trade designing for Bape, which is also where he developed his working relationship with Toby.
The legacy of Mo’Wax seems extraordinarily strong – what inspires you to keep working with the likes of Ben Drury and Will Bankhead.
We like to work with them because they make great stuff that inspires us, and they’re friends. Beyond that, I would probably have never met Shin if I hadn’t worked at Mo’Wax.
Music seems to be at the core of C.E. with the likes of D Double E and Actress appearing in lookbooks – what was the instigator for this?
It seems like a normal thing to do. Hard for us to analyse it… We’re in the clothing business, but it sort of feels like fashion/clothes is packaging and music is content. Of course we care about packaging no less than content. When we have the task of presenting a kind of ideal image of our clothes we would rather have people whose music we listen to wear the clothes than people we select solely for their appearance.
For a brand based in Tokyo the London music scene seems to have a particularly strong effect – how do you manage to stay so in touch with the ground here from half the world away?
I don’t think you can be truly in touch with a city where you don’t live. The effort to try to stay in touch is an important part of our process. From this distance it’s really obvious to us that our idea of London is just a fantasy… That’s fine, though.
The cultural zeitgeist seems to have aligned with C.E.’s aesthetics of late. How do you feel about what people are deeming ‘post-internet’ and are you comfortable being lumped in with this resurgent post-modernism?
One of our starting goals was to try and make something that represented and celebrated the present. So the zeitgeist thing sounds fine! I don’t know if I’ve heard “post-internet” before… It does make sense for now though because there are still a lot of people that really remember “pre-internet” who are making “cultural stuff”. Once hardly anyone remembers what it was like before the internet happened the concept will lose its power.
I don’t really feel that we’ve been lumped in with anything. People can use whatever labels they want to try to organise their view of what’s happening in culture. It makes no difference to how we go about doing what we do.
To me what makes C.E. stand apart from brands like HBA and Been Trill is the reference points. Whilst HBA and Been Trill are very much anchored in the visual language of the ‘dot-com’ boom, C.E. seems to borrow more from more obscure points like 70s Italian cinema and sci-fi. Would you agree with this?
It’s uncomfortable to be compared to contemporaries at all, to be honest. I think the brands you mention are just representing how they see the fashion of now. They started relatively recently so they don’t have the baggage that brands that have been successful in an earlier era do. They come from very different starting places to us so they will naturally have a different take on it… But, diversity is better! I think it’s a shame to squash things together in your thinking into trends/waves movements too much.
Where do you guys find the balance between something that will resonate with a large audience and something that keeps your interest piqued?
We’re just lucky that enough people think what we’re doing is good. We don’t design for ourselves in the sense of only making what we want to wear, but we don’t have a very good sense of what is and isn’t “commercial”… So we just do what we think is good and what we are capable of and hope for the best.
Do you think what you do is still grounded in youth culture or has it become more nuanced? It seems that subculture doesn’t exist in the same manner as before so what is the bigger picture that C.E. is part of?
Well, we were interested enough in music and clothes from a young age to make it our careers, not that it was planned. Music and fashion sort of defines “youth culture”, doesn’t it? It doesn’t mean that we haven’t always been interested in other stuff!
As to where we belong; not sure. It’s probably not up to us to decide.
For the accompanying beats, we have teamed up with KOKOMIYAGI based out of Tokyo and London.
Working with Cav Empt, music is core for KOKOMIYAGI, and his range of influences are apparent through the wide mix of genres featured.
Intro and interview by DK Woon
C.E. AW14 EDITORIAL
PHOTOGRAPHED // BY OLLIE ADEGBOYE
STYLED // BY COBBIE YATES
MODEL // SKINNY MACHO aka BLACKFOOT PHOENIX
ART DIRECTION // BY OLLIE ADEGBOYE and CHAMP
Thankyou to Annoushka and Sarah at ANON