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Stolen froth at Semi
Stolen Girlfriends Club's Dan Gosling and Marc Moore spoke at Day Two of Semi-Permanent in Auckland on Saturday 19th May 2012.
Thread.co.nz also asked them questions before the conference, and you can read that on Thread here.
It was a well-prepared talk with a variety of multi-media including short films and slides spanning their career. I was particularly chuffed to listen to all their entertaining anecdotes, and refreshingly natural frankness. They definitely have a self-deprecating sense of humour that comes across well and is nice to hear for a change from fashion designers.
"Anyone here in the audience that wants to study fashion? They asked. "You guys are f#cked. Nah you have a long challenging road ahead of you."
We watched a short 16mm film - a tale of love lost - called The Fates, with "some nudity from Kate Elliot, and Milan Borich from Pluto." "Smoking’s not okay either, guys" Marc said, to chuckles from the audience.
"It was made early on but it still holds strong with our ethos today."
"Kiwi ingenuity has gone into the brand" they said. For an early party, they called on their friends to transform an abandoned warehouse for the launch with jam jars with wine because they were cheaper than glasses. Now, they do it all the time as their thing.
The label started with two tee-shirts, just before the global trend of slogan tees started. The same tees got passed around their friends at magazines, and press coverage exploded. Even before having a sample collection they had requests from stores for stock so they needed to get serious.
"The first five years was all brand building, rather than selling the clothes."
"These early shoots were about hiding the poor quality of the clothing as well. Our design skills weren’t up to the mark."
Stolen showed for the first time at New Zealand Fashion Week in 2007 (read about it here on Thread.co.nz) "We made a conceptual collection out of black plastic. It wasn't commercially viable to actually sell! And again we over-subscribed guest invites and it was a packed event. We wanted guests to be vocal - like at a party - and create an atmosphere; a feeling, not to be just about the clothes."
Then it started getting more serious. Orders came in. "We put our teeshirts in plastic bags. With swing tags on!" they laughed. "Packaging is very important."
We didn’t want to be seen so much as a New Zealand brand as a global brand. America and Japan can “get it” too.
Another event they held was a tribute to Helmut Newton (read more about No Safety Helmut on Thread.co.nz) with a number of local photographers replicating the iconic photographers nude photos. Again, this was about building the brand feeling rather than selling clothing. They auctioned all the artworks and raised $10,000 for AIDS Foundation.
Below: Marc drew the short straw to pose in this take on a Helmut Newton nude. It sold for $630 and is hanging at someone's house!
Stolen started a relationship with photographer Derek Henderson and have now shot five campaigns with him as well as short films. They also have a relationship with MINI. "We make movies, and do collaborative works; we try hard to co-exist with our sponsors - depending on how much money they give us" he added.
"Musicians, celebs, and bloggers came to us wanting to wear our stuff. Fergie wore it, Florence loves it, Beyonce bought it in Perth."
Below: A hilarious bad Photoshop take of the dress Beyonce bought, pasted onto her body.
Fashion blogger Rumi Neely got the brand and wore it in her gigantically-popular blog. "She frothed on it. Our traffic spiked at 100,000 hits a day after that."
"I’d definitely froth on her", laughed Marc.
They put up their missing girlfriend posters around the world including at Trash & Vaudville, a "cool store in NY."
Around this time (December 2010) they launched their jewellery line, as "not many others were doing that at the time. 'Don’t be so precious' was a pun on precious metals. It's important to concentrate on the little details." Read about the Stolen Girlfriends Club jewellery launch party here on Thread.co.nz
Another unusual event they held was presenting a pop-up show amongst the aisles of New World supermarket. (Read about it on Thread here.) "It cost a fifth but got many times more media coverage than a fashion week show."
Model Dempsey Stewart starred in their heavy death metal fashion film and she now models incredibly successfully overeas.
Below: Georgie Fowler - who walked three days ago for Chanel overseas - stars in this print shoot inside someone's home that was a death metal shrine, going mental doing household chores.
Below: "It's okay for men to hug, as long as you tap on the back three times."
Dan called comedian Te Radar, Trelise Cooper, for his mop of curly hair.
"It’s a triumph of sausage sizzle rather than sausage selling" Te Radar said, referring to their early hype-without-a-range.
"Are you seen as fashion pranksters?" he asked. "Or fashion wanksters?" they offered. "There’s a fine line between fashion wansksters and fashion pranksters", they concluded.
By Megan Robinson
19 May 2012
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