Made possible by Depop.
Collaboration between artists from different backgrounds, genres, mediums and art forms have always been crucial in evolving creativity, pushing the boundaries between what is accepted in fashion, art, music and design. Usually, an artist will rely primarily on one sense for their art to be induced, so when a collaboration comes to fruition it allows them to share a further extension of their mind.
This was the case when Depop brought together exxy, an airbrush artist and designer, and Armlock, the musical duo, to create a lof-fi collection of clothes. The common ground found by both artists was their distaste for band merchandise that is mass-produced on cheap t-shirts without thoughtful design. So with all the garments being sourced second-hand from the Depop marketplace and then hand-painted by exxy, they created a collection that was completely up-cycled, with each individual garment having its own personality.
We asked Armlock to give us further insight into how music and fashion overlap, and the growing trend of cross-media collaborations.
What role does Merchandise traditionally play in a band?
Merch for bands has traditionally been a major source of income, especially when touring as the profit from a shirt can be more than the profit from a concert ticket in some cases. So for a long time merch has been an essential way of surviving in the music industry. But, for many artists, merch can be embraced to extend their creative output – it’s an opportunity to broaden their vision. Having not had any merch for this project, we were keen to start off with something a bit more impactful than what we’ve done in the past in previous projects.
How has your personal style evolved since working in the music industry?
I feel like working in the music industry is making our personal styles change constantly. It seems completely natural to change your style as your taste in music evolves or transforms. Sometimes it even helps create a style of music if you lean your wardrobe in a certain direction. The clothes we’ve worn on stage, we’ve had purely second-hand outfits to one-off pieces from designer friends, depending on the show. It’s all very open to change depending on how we’re feeling or where we’re headed.
What made you want to collaborate with an upcycling fashion designer?
Honestly, we had both seen exxy’s work on Instagram and both fell in love with them. They have a perfect combination of playfulness and edge, similar to what we were trying to achieve through our production. Above all, we just think exxy’s work is beautiful. We just wanted to work with them as soon as we laid on their pieces.
Why do you think upcycled and consciously sourced merch is having such a moment?
Speaking from personal experience, I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the traditional way of making merch. The way the price brackets are structured usually encourages larger orders, as it brings the price per unit down, and you tend to end up with a lot more stock than you need. You end up with leftover shirts in boxes all over the place, and it’s really wasteful. I think we are all just much more aware of our impact on the environment at the moment, and artists tend to extend their personal values through to their practice. Most of the clothes we wear day-to-day are recycled, and it just makes sense to make merch the same way.
Why do you feel cross-media collaborations are becoming more popular?
I think artists are increasingly looking to do something different, and audiences are much more open to it too. There are also more outlets for creative media than ever, so it feels like a prime opportunity to work with people who inspire you from different practices.
Check out the collection on Armlock’s Depop store.