While I had heard the buzz, my first real introduction to JORDANLUCA was your AW18 LFW presentation. A speaker was reciting spoken word while he also shaved the model’s heads. It was performance art meets fashion in a way I’ve rarely, if ever, seen at a fashion show. Those powerful images have stayed with me so it’s an absolute pleasure to get the opportunity to speak with both of you, Jordan and Luca, and get an insight into your work and vision.
1. Firstly, congratulations on your AW19 collection. I loved the genderless, beautifully tailored aesthetic. What was the inspiration behind it?
We’re naturally drawn to social phenomena and the human psyche and this is the big driver for our inspiration. This collection we looked inside the mind of a man ruled by his vices and his obsession with his mistress and in fact was loosely based around a gentleman I used to know who’d wear a Zegna suit to work and a bra and panties underneath.
2. I spotted iconic milliner Stephen Jones at the presentation and understand that he has contributed headwear to your collections, how did that connection come about?
I’ve known Stephen since I was two weeks old (through my auntie Kim) but it was in my early twenties when Mr Jones introduced me to the fashion industry. His work had been part of my life through osmosis so felt like a natural step to take to become a milliner and really it’s the skills I learnt through Stephen and Craig that I extend into JORDANLUCA.
Stephen knows us as people but fundamentally he has an instinctive taste about what brands need to punctuate collections with the hats he makes so for us there was no one else.
3. The show notes and the set depict a journey into the darker recesses of the male psyche, do you feel that genderless, non-binary fashion can help defuse the toxic masculinity which seems to permeate all areas of our society.
We don’t really set out to be genderless as I guess it’s more of an extension of who we are and that we like to design. Style-wise we’re more driven towards designing within the confines of the typical male form and working with what that will and won’t allow. We like to subvert masculinity by making garments like our bulletproof corset but ultimately look at it in the classic form.
4. You have always explored gender roles and gender stereotypes, Ugly Staffy and the Ugly Boys being previous themes. How important to you is it that you challenge perceived societal norms through your designs.
It was an interesting process to assimilate to the archetypical macho male and some of the imagery in our UGLY/BOYSA campaign references tropes like initiation and ritual and with that people assign their own meaning to it. We blurred everything together, boys and girls and the whole meaning of gender. Some people thought it was ultra military and others spoke of Buddhist monks so we like that’s open to interpretation. \
I think we learnt with the UGLY/BOYS campaign is that the clothes are always secondary when you’re communicating a message. You have to start with people first and look at who your community is, who has your back and you can guide that through the design but nobody needs another nice pair of trousers.
5. You marry the traditions of Italian design with the vitality of the London streets, how does that dynamic manifest itself during the creative process.
We come from very different design backgrounds; Luca worked for big fashion houses in Milan and London for many years and understands the whole journey of design from sketch to hanger. I (Jordan) made hats for 10 years for myself and other milliners in London and work much more sculpturally. We design together and map out collection together but then specialise in different areas of the business.
6. Your shows have fused performance art with fashion. How key to you is it that they have this sensory thought-provoking element and what would you hope your audience takes from the experience.
As we’ve primed the brand for our first runway for the June shows we’ve really enjoyed showing our collections through immersive and provocative presentations and they’ve become a way to communicate not just the collections but where we’re at at the time which can sometimes be raw or beautiful or a combination of the two.
7. For those who might not be aware of your backgrounds, what were you both doing before you came together as JORDANLUCA.
Luca had worked at big fashion houses like Jil Sander, Erdem and Vivienne Westwood and Jordan for Stephen Jones, Judy Blame and made bespoke hats for film editorial.
8. How did you meet and what was the process that led to the creation of the brand.
We’ve been together for seven years now and actually met in a toilet (think what you will!). We realised quite quickly there was creative chemistry and that we’re aligned in our thinking. We started working on hats and t-shirt prints at first and then it grew organically over some years to where we are now.
9. Who and what inspired you when you were growing up, who and what inspires you now.
We were always inspired by our environment but what and where we’re from is what pushes us forward because whether you like it or not, you can’t escape your past
10. What are JORDANLUCA’S plans for 2019 and beyond.
We plan make more creative spaces for our community to come together and continue to collaborate with our creative crushes but we have our first runway coming soon so super hyped about that. I love that you are so in tune with and so committed to your community. As part of that ever-growing community I’m super excited to see your debut runway in June, and what else JORDANLUCA has in store for us.
Thank you so much for taking the time out from your crazy- busy schedule to provide such a fascinating insight into your work and vision.