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issue 19



MINI är inte en bil för alla. Men om du är en person som inte nöjer dig, som ifrågasätter det självklara och vågar tänka stort – då är livet med MINI för dig. Att tänka stort handlar om de små detaljerna. Som känslan av att kunna leva livet utan begränsningar. Eller att kunna njuta av en härligare, mer hållbar körupplevelse som är skräddarsydd för ett modernt, urbant liv – utan att behöva kompromissa på design. Vi har ett arv av att tänka stort, som går tillbaka ända till när Alec Issigonis utmanade alla konventioner i bilindustrin när han skapade den första MINI prototypen på 50-talet – en bensinsnål, smart och utsökt designad bil, anpassad för sin


tids urbana liv. Det här tankesättet har fortsatt genomsyra allt MINI gör. För vår övertygelse är att design kan förändra världen till det bättre. Att välja en MINI är mer än att välja en bil. Att välja en MINI handlar om att välja bort kompromisser och vara en del av ett kreativt sätt att leva. Och så länge du vill få ut mer av livet, kommer vi fortsätta göra allt vi kan för att bana väg. Upptäck livet med MINI på

Initialize Issue 19 The future starts here today within us and all around us. The flow of signals and invisible information circulating around our planet in our daily lives is not a meaningless noise. It means that we are surrounded by knowledge and wisdom and the accumulated sense of our evolution as human beings. The course of this path has brought myriad improvements to our lives and has helped us take on and overcome the challenges of our time. Technology in conjunction with creativity is offering us endless possibilities to change our future and to shape our destiny. Let’s look forward and embrace these opportunities. Let’s be inspired and take part in the transformation of our lives that is happening everyday. Grasp the wealth of information that’s available to us and use your voice with all the power that our freedom of speech has. Equality and liberty are given a natural incentive when like-minded people just like you want to connect to everyone around them, no matter what traditional rules set by backward-looking and entrenched establishments try to say. It’s our time to take control of our personal and collective lives and point things towards a better place for all living creatures on our planet and ourselves. Go out there and use these new tools to be the superhero of your own cause. Initialize the future that starts right here, right now, with you. COVER PHOTOGRAPH: Cesar Love Alexandre. Styling: Jahulie Elizade. Hair: Erol Karadag. Make-up: Christyna Kay. Model: Mariana Zaragoza at img. Face filter creator: Aleksey Efremov. Fashion: dress Flor, Earrings by Josefina Muños, Bodysuit by Purple Passion DV8

Editor-in-Chief Pejman Biroun Vand (Stockholm) Creative Direction See Studio (London) Fashion Co-ordinator Karolina Brock (New York) Beauty Editor Céline Exbrayat (Paris) Paris Editor Mari David

Berlin Editor Veronika Dorosheva

Web developer Gustav Bagge (Stockholm)

New York Editor Angel Macias

Contributing Editors Tor Bergman (Stockholm) Roxanne Nielsen (Copenhagen)

Music Editor Jonatan Södergren (Stockholm) Art Editor Jonas Kleerup (Stockholm) Tech Editor Ashkan Fardost (Stockholm) Sub-editor Andrew Lindesay (London)

Printing MittMedia Advertising

Contributing Fashion Editors Andrea Deligny (Paris) Jahulie Elizaide (New York) Fernando Torres (London) Roland Hjort (Stockholm) Ricardo Arenas (Mexico City) Koji Oyamada (Tokyo) Contributing Photographers Joshua Abbcassis (Paris) John Scarisbrick (Stockholm) Chris Rinke (Berlin) Cesar Love Alexandre (New York) Noel Quintela (Paris) Motohiko Hasui (Tokyo)

© 2019. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without permission from the publisher. The views expressed in the magazine are those of the contributors and not necessarily shared by the magazine.

The Forumist AB Sveavägen 98 113 50 Stockholm SWEDEN


Sitting Pretty Beauty is skin deep, they say, but that belies what a profound influence it has on our perceptions of each other and ourselves. Once a thing of mystery, the techniques on creating the perfect face have been opened up with the arrival of the internet and the thousands of make-up tutorials being uploaded there. From the Kardashians to YouTube advice on how to repair damaged skin, these lessons reveal how deeply our appearance matters, and how diverse the idea of beauty really is – our photo shoot here is just one expression of this. Photography by Joshua Abecassis Hair & Make-up by Céline Exbrayat Styling by Andréa Deligny

this page, clockwise from top right: Sports bra by Nike, Leggings by Maria Korkeila, Track Pants by Wasted Paris; Jacket by Wasted Paris, top and pants stylist’s own; Left, Blazer by Untitled, Top by Maria Korkeila, Right, jacket stylist’s own; shirt and overalls stylist’s own Models: Emmeline Cantin and Maëva Macé Set designer: Amalia Jaulin Set designer’s assistant: Caroline Dussuel Stylist’s assistant: Juliette Dumazy Assistant/Digital: Lucas Mathon



Fashion is in a state of flux. It is experiencing change, or initializing, in a way that is both exciting and innovative, thanks to creatives and artists who are re-interpreting the meaning of fashion with new and modern technology. One of those artists is image and filmmaker Jon Emmony, who approaches his work through a contemporary lens and as a result is moving away from the more traditional approach of representing fashion and clothing. Emmony is a digital artist and art director who is known for his impressive, some say mind- blowing, surrealist, 3D-scanned compositions. Based in London, he creates installations, fashion films, editorials, music videos and graphics. He has worked with The 1975, Nike, Dazed and, most recently, Selfridges on the store’s swimwear campaign for summer 2019 entitled The New Order. The campaign was a collaboration with photographer Chris Sutton, and consists of a completely digital approach in which each image is reimagined. Emmony designed a colourful animated Greek swimming pool, where the models exist in a beautiful physical space, inviting the viewer to swim in an ocean of data. “The New Order campaign saw various digital artists reimagine what fashion communication and campaign imagery can be, and I was lucky enough to be approached by [Selfridges],” he tells me as he describes his experience working with one of the leading department stores in the UK. “Fashion is a fascinating field to work in, not only because of the fast pace and constant change that drives it, but because there are infinite references, ideas and viewpoints embedded within each piece of clothing. It is liberating for me to work with fashion as there are already ideas linked to the garments that can be extended into imagery. And there are no physical constraints; surfaces can be made from any material and can be lit in any way. There is no such thing as gravity and I can create imagery with a virtual camera... It’s a framework that allows infinite exploration and development, much like fashion itself.”

Emmony graduated with a degree in photography and went on to intern at SHOWstudio, the awardwinning fashion website, before joining the team in 2011 as digital art director, a post he held until 2016. In recent years he has worked on a range of projects with various brands and artists, experimenting with different technological methods and imagemaking. “It pushes me to new places that I could never anticipate,” he says. “The way that technology sees the world fascinates me; sometimes it’s funny and outrageous, but it’s always inspiring. I taught myself how to create 3D imagery from watching YouTube videos and reading forums so I appreciate the DIY attitude that surrounds this kind of new image-making. I am also currently experimenting with artificial intelligence, which pushes things even further, opening up a real dialogue with the machine that interprets imagery and presents new visions back to you. I embrace mistakes and the unknown.” But he insists that although he is working with new innovative technology, he wants to make sure that the work has “soul or thought behind it,” as he puts it. “It’s a fine line you need to be aware of, and so removing myself from my work to some degree allows a dialogue to be opened in terms of software algorithms that have no premeditated intention regarding the outcome. Otherwise things can quickly feel like a trick or a glitch. It’s an exciting collaboration.” The digitalisation of various fields such as fashion is becoming more and more apparent and celebrated. I ask him if, at this rate, will the digital take over the physical in art and


Soul Machine Jon Emmony is one of a new generation of image-makers who are reimagining the fashion and music worlds. His digital treatments of shoots and videos take current techniques to their limit, but, as he tells The Forumist, don’t forget the soul behind it all Words by Roxanne Nielsen 3D-printed elements. It’s an interesting hybrid approach, and craftsmanship, both in the real and digital world, will always be celebrated. One can complement the other.” This crossover between the conceptual and real world is precisely the kind of thing that Emmony explores. He explains that, “although I work with modern technology, many of my references come from art and fashion history. I think it is important to balance the new with a respect for the past. In a way, anything digital is part of our real world as we spend so much time consumed by different devices that act as portals to this ‘new world’. For me, there isn’t much of difference anymore [between the real and conceptual world]. The line is blurred.” As well as being visually stimulating, Emmony’s work also tackles pressing issues, such as climate change. His work with The 1975 on their single ‘People’ is a perfect example. He collaborated with the band to create a music video that aims to investigate surveillance culture, environmental collapse and contemporary nihilism present on social media. Designed across several digital platforms, the video features glitchy graphics and neural networks based on algorithms modelled on the structure of the part of

fashion. “I would hope not... there is definitely space for both,” he says. “I feel that in a time where so much of our lives are experienced digitally, physical objects and experiences are becoming more valued and embraced. For example, I recently worked with [jewellery designer] Silvia Weidenbach, who fuses centuries-old jewellery-making techniques with

Jon emmony’s projects include working with iris van herpen (above left), dazed and kate moss (top centre), selfridges (above right) and the victoria and albert museum with sylvia weidenbach (above). Images courtesy jon emmony

the human brain designed to recognise patterns. Disturbing images of destroyed landscapes, deforestation and garbage heaps intertwine with serene stock footage, highlighting the negative impact of the human impact upon the environment. “Everything I work on has a function,” he explains. “Whether it’s to show a garment so it can be sold, or helping musicians to visualise the messages they are trying to communicate. As a visual communicator, it is important that people feel something from my work and leave with a clear concept of the message that is being delivered. I think now more than ever it is important to be active and engaged in important issues, whoever you are and whatever you do.” One cannot help but think of sixteen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who also happens to feature on one of The 1975’s tracks, for which she recites a letter about climate change over a background of ambient music. Emmony created live visuals for this track, with art director and creative consultant Ben Ditto. It seems like a digital new wave is well under way, with artists, designers and musicians using modern technology as a way to experiment, explore and modernise different artistic industries, such as the fashion industry. Emmony has managed to do exactly that, by working on projects for which he experiments with different technological methods of imagemaking. He has helped define a new era in art and fashion that is well underway and cannot be ignored.; @jonemmony



The Forumist welcomes you to The Forum. A meticulously curated pop up gallery with limited editions previously unseen. Dedicated to inspiring design, fashion, art, unique objects, and astonishing happenings. Sustainable originality at its best. We conceptualize the contemporary.


Dream Team

EarthGang’s freaky, trippy take on hip-hop is firmly grounded in their lives in Atlanta. Duo Olu and WowGr8 cover a few of the essentials for The Forumist – time, life online, and themselves – as their first LP is launched Words by Jonathan Södergren Photography by Chris Rinke Styling by Fernando Torres

Atlanta indie hip-hop artists Olu and WowGr8 met on the first day of school. Bonding over a mutual love for music that does not follow the rules, they have remained friends long after the school burnt down. (True story.) Now, and together as EarthGang, they have toured the world supporting headlining acts such as Billie Eilish and Jaden Smith. Having signed to J. Cole’s Interscope imprint Dreamville in 2017, they have released three EPs and now they have just released their first major-label album, Mirrorland. So, first things first – what do they see when they look in the mirror? “God, generations of ancestors and a good time,” says WowGr8 (aka Doctur Dot). “A perfect work in progress,” claims Olu (aka Johnny Venus). “I think the more we are compassionate about the things we are afraid or ashamed of in ourselves, the more we learn about humanity and life in general. I see a person who is trying to be better every day and that is all that really matters. A while back I had a crisis moment where I had to decide to start living life in an aware state. I used to just be on autopilot and try to follow the crowd. But deciding to be my true self has revealed so much more. In the future I hope to see more of what I see today: more patience, more goal setting, more truth. Greatness is built one day at a time.”

Digital living The digital world has had a profound impact on both of them. “My whole life I have always been a student of the internet,” says WowGr8. “It has grown and evolved as I have done through the phases of my existence. The digital has had a major influence on my life and my art, from the type of music absorbed and all the way to the different foods I am willing to try and everything in between. Even the way that I understand the consumption of art is strongly influenced by the digital world because it is a world that has a rippling impact through modern human life as a whole.” For Olu, the digital world has opened up the actual world to him. “With the creation of downloading, sharing, streaming, social media, posting, and so on, I have been able to see places and people and listen to cultures in a way that was just not possible before. We can literally connect with people across the world and give them our story and find common ground. Then we can actually travel to these places and further cement these bonds. It’s beautiful! At the end of this year I will have visited four continents and countless countries. Next year we are going to Asia! That is all possible because of the speed of the digital world. The real beauty is people get to tell the truths about their home. I have seen Africa in ways that I never thought possible simply from knowing someone or following someone’s page.” Travels in time If they had a time machine, WowGr8 says that he would like to go back to the time just before Europeans decided to attempt colonising the planet, stop that whole process and come back and see if the world is better or worse today. Similarly, Olu would go to any time where people of colour and women were not oppressed. “We tend to think our world has always existed like this because this is all we see. But I know there was a time when those of us who have been overlooked and hated for our cultural knowledge, gifts and customs were once respected and lauded for the same thing. I believe that time was beautiful and prosperous for humanity as a whole. I would love to go there.” On a slightly different note, speaking of which musical trends they are into at the moment, Olu continues, “African music is coming to the forefront now. When I say African music I am talking about a vast array of music from Ethiopian jazz, to Afrobeat, to South African rhythms, to choral singing. So much of this music has travelled across the world to Brazil, Colombia, Jamaica, London, Toronto, Mexico, etc.

above, left to right: WowGr8 wears Boiler suit Stylist’s own, Glasses by Ambush, All jewellery artist’s own, Olu wears Top by Humana, All Jewellery artist’s own, Bag by L’homme Rouge, Glasses by Gucci, Trousers by Fila Opposite page: WowGr8 wears Top by J Lindeberg, Glasses by Ambush, All jewellery artist’s own




opposite page: Tracksuit by Adidas, Glasses by Ambush, All jewelery artist’s own, Shoes by Off white this page: Coat by 032c, Trousers by Whyred, Glasses by Gentlemonster x Fendi, Necklace by L’homme Rouge, Shoes by Comme des GarÇons x Nike

OPPOSITE PAGE clockwise From left: shirt by Acne Studios, trousers by A.P.C, boots by MISBHV, earrings by Machete, suit jacket by No sense, shoes by Adieu, earrings Alva’s own, stockings stylist’s own; suit by Each x Other this page: suit by A.P.C, dress by Hyke


via slave trade and migration. It is beautiful that despite everything we are still connecting people of all backgrounds and inspiring everyone to move and dance and celebrate.” Going viral “Going viral in today’s market is often seen as the best free promotion for a product,” says WowGr8. “We live in an age where we have seen viral videos translate to short and long term success. It is really all about what you do with it.” So does something happen with the performance when it takes on a life of its own online? Hell to the yes! At least according to Olu, who regards it as a seed being planted. “The viral aspect is just the root taking form and the branches spreading out to feed people. Take our performance on Colors [the global new music platform] on YouTube, for example; 12

our goal was perform an unreleased song in its purest sense and to express our truth. Our supporters and fans sharing the video took it to the next dimension. The beauty of it was that our essence was spread across the world and people got a chance to see us in one of our most divine states.” However, the benefits and the dangers of any new technology are two sides of the same coin. “You have the potential to reach billions of people with everything you create,” says WowGr8. “It is all about your message. The energy you put out directs your path.” Olu also sees some of its dangers: “Falsehood, hoaxes, scams, cap, any form of deception that used the internet as veil. A person can be an influencer or any other title that comes with a significant degree of internet power that does not necessarily translate to financial power, talent or even work ethic.” So, is there anything we can do in order to not become slaves to our smartphones? WowGr8 might just have the perfect solution. “Put your phone down. Or just throw it away.”; @earthgang;

this page: Top by J Lindeberg, Glasses by Ambush, All jewellery artist’s own, opposite page: Top by Humana, Trousers Artist’s own, Glasses by Gentlemonster x Fendi, All jewellery artist’s own Make Up and Hair: Carla Curione Photography Assistant: Luca Trelancia Talent: Olu and WowGr8 of Earthgang

Parallax Views As analogue gives way to digital, our perceptions of our bodies and our place in the world is changing profoundly. The multimedia works of artists Crosslucid take this transformation to the limit in the search for new freedoms of self-expression, even if that means bending time Words by Karolina Brock

Talking to the art duo Crosslucid (@crosslucid) over Skype suddenly feels very retro. Technology, virtual realities and digital spaces are an essential part of Crosslucid’s work, but it is how these enable human connections and how virtual and physical realities merge where the duo is breaking new ground. “We create worlds that very often appear to be digital but are not. We really love playing with the idea of perception, communication and interconnection between those two worlds,” they tell me from Berlin over a pretty good Skype connection. Sylwana Zybura (@sylv_zed) and Tomas C. Toth (@disorderlydesires) met on a fashion industry job in London, Sylwana as a photographer and director, and Tomas as a stylist and creative director. To be able to develop their long-term artistic ideas they left London and set up base in Berlin. Their first significant collaboration, Landscapes Between Eternities, came out as a book 2018 and is being extended into a series of installations. Their work process most often starts in the form of collages, both physical and digital. The work then develops from physical objects, sculptural styling, photo, and post-edit to a wider assemblage of art mediums. Crosslucid’s latest art piece, Primer, is a film, making it possible to incorporate different thought processes and collaborators as well as CGI, performance, installations and text. Movement has become more important for the duo, and in a performance connected to Landscapes Between Eternities exploring the synthetic self and the perception of self online and in reality, they let dancers develop new movements constrained by clothes that make it difficult for them to move.


This page, clockwise FRom top left: Stills from primer and #firstdate; collaboration with percy lau; an image from landscapes between Eternities opposite, main picture: collaboration with 0202 facewear; far right, from top: an image from landscapes between Eternities, two stills from #firstdate; performance for rapid prototyping landscapes

I want to know how the perception of ourselves has changed, now that we have such a significant presence in the digital world. “Now we just have a different platform,” they say. “Before this, there were always different realms: family, social and work. You might have a stage presence, or you might be different versions of yourself in different circles of friends. Through digital technologies we can be connected with others, not necessarily through a location but through the beliefs and the interests that we share. The digital realm really allows us to explore without feeling guilty or out of place. It is just an extension that enables people to develop the personal potential, their own mind, and to connect with likeminded people.” Through these different worlds that Crosslucid creates, the duo aims to invite people to engage in conversation. A current project, #FIRSTDATE, was initiated through an art residency in Georgia and deals with intimacy in the digital age. It explores how technology can contribute to develop a conversation in a place where social norms, religion or traditional values oppress conversations about sexuality. Even though the topic is taboo or stigmatized in real life, a digital space, or approaching the conversation from a virtual point of view, has worked as a trigger and encouraged people to start open up about their personal stories and to express themselves freely. The conversations have been inspired through panel discussions and an art installation. A film has also been featured through the club music platform Boiler Room which shows dancers interacting with abstract objects, and installations where coloured fluids pour through what seem like different types of organic material. With an abstract, intimate tension in a virtual yet familiar atmosphere, the film invite us to view sexuality from different perspectives, free from traditional constraints or presumptions. A similar approach can be experienced in the film Primer in which a parallel world not shaped by the norms and binaries that come with capital evolution emerges. A voice in the film suggest that, “We are going through a long and painful transition, from industrialism to a new pre-civilization. The digital automation, the silicon turn, made possible by

the return of tribalism, communes, local thinking. By shrinking distances, by minimizing the machines, a ‘wireless pre’ is dispersing.” The idea of a wireless pre is based on an essay by the Romanian academic Ion Dumitrescu, published in the 2016 anthology Black Hyperbox, in which the author proposes an alternative future that makes it, as the artists have been quoted as saying, “partially possible to return to certain pasts, a gradual reconnecting with a pre-binary”. “It is about the idea of re-evaluating our times and an experiential thought travel to pre-history where there are no preconceptions or prefabricated ideas of who we are or identify as,” Zybura and Toth explain. “Starting from scratch, we would have to find a new reality.” Whether that could be a virtual or physical reality is less important to define. It is in the transition and in the possibility to imagining a different outcome that Crosslucid invites us into a pre-binary future.




Let digital adornment take your new autumn beauty to a whole new depth Photography by Cesar love alexandre Styling by Jahulie Elizade above: dress Flor, Shoes by FLOYD HOGAN, Earrings by Josefina Muños, Bodysuit by Purple Passion DV8 OPPOSITE PAGE: Bodysuit by Karya Karayalcin, Top and Jacket by FLOYD HOGAN, Earrings by Solomeina


this page: Bodysuit by Rui Zhou, Earrings by ben-amun opposite page: Top by HEIKE NY, Coat by Josefina MuĂąoz, Stockings by Falke, Shoes by Schutz, Earrings by R.U.B.S



this page left: Coat by XIMONLEE, Top by Josefina Muñoz, Trousers by Victoria Hayes, Shoes by Schutz, Earrings by Metrix Jewelry this page right: Coat by MORSE, Gloves by Karya Karayalcin opposite page: Coat by Alexander Wang, Choker by ben-amun


opposite page: Top and shoes by FLOYD HOGAN, Bodysuit by Purple Passion/DV8, Cuff by ben-amun this page: Coat (worn backwards) by CALVINLUO, Boots by Vince Camuto, Gloves by Karya Karayalcin Hair: Erol Karadag Make-up: Christyna Kay Model: Mariana Zaragoza at img production and Post Production: Cesar Love Alexandre Face filter creator: Aleksey Efremov

All Directions

Luxe/oddball, street/glam, girl/boy – it’s all there on the streets of New York Photography by ALEXANDER NEUMANN


This page: Feather hat by Gabriela Ostolaza, Blazer by Haider Ackermann OPPOSITE PAGE: Leather top by Jean Paul Gaultier, Skirt by Limeng Ye


32 01

OPPOSITE PAGE: Jacket and trousers by Penultimate, Shirt by Vivienne Westwood THIS PAGE, clockwise from top left: Sweater by Penultimate, Trousers by Acne Studios; Top by Ann Demeulemeester, Denim jacket by Dolce & Gabbana; Shorts by Penultimate, Tank top by Marni; jacket by penultimate


this page: Top by Jil Sander opposite page: body suit by Limeng Ye Hair: KOJI ICHIKAWA Make-up: HONDA TADAYOSHI HONDA Model: MARTINE DIRKZWAGER at ELITE MODELS


Same New Thing

Digital technology and music are inseparable now and together they are the future. Yet some artists are cautious about leaving the past behind. Skott and Mr. Tophat are two musicians who in their own ways are making sure the analogue is at the heart of their work. Words by Jonas Hallén Photography by John Scarisbrick Styling by roland hjort Special thanks to WhyRed The music of Skott and Mr. Tophat has each been crafted against two very different backgrounds. Yet they have similar stories to tell when it comes to how the making of their music relates to technology, as both have reached a particular point of interplay between the new and the old. Right from the start, Mr. Tophat has shown a fondness for using technology in art and believes these areas to be intrinsically linked. Similarly, Skott has also embraced the realm of digital electronic pop music. However, her analogue past has deep roots in traditional folk music. They both share an appreciation of older ways, while still pushing the envelope of their respective styles. To be forward facing, there’s a power to be released by looking into the past for knowledge and inspiration.

THIS PAGE: far left, JACKET by WHYRED, SHOEs ARTIST’S OWN; left, DRESS by WHYRED, ACCessories ARTIST’S OWN; below: JACKET, Top and Trousers by WHYRED, ACCessories ARTIST’S OWN Opposite: blazer and accessories by whyred

Skott Diving into the music and background of Pauline Skött, aka Skott, reveals a constant play between the analogue and the electronic, between the traditional and the modern. Her story and artistic expression is a technological tale of two worlds. With songs that recall the ethereal vocal qualities of Lana Del Rey, the earthy qualities of AURORA and the electronic melodies of fellow Swedish pop artists. Pauline Skött’s music intertwines strands of melancholy and hope in her a unique combination of playfulness and grandeur. She hails from the Swedish county of Dalarna, home to a folk music culture that’s thriving there more than anywhere else in the country. The traditional violin melodies that are integral to this culture symbolise where Skott is from musically. “There’s something really straightforward about folk music. The feelings are so accessible, they kinda go straight into your heart, at least with me,” she tells me. She talks about how Swedish folk music melodies have a deep-seated bittersweet, melancholic feel in which “Deep happiness and sadness strangely become the same sort of feeling”. The path of traditional music that she has followed has developed, perhaps surprisingly, into an enthusiasm for video-game music. “When it comes to folk music and video-game music, the step isn’t as big as you might think.” Her knowledge of what musical scales can do is put to great use here. She says that this helps accommodate the different cultural or environmental contexts that might be needed in the in-game world. Skott debuted on the renowned indie label Chess Club, then became part of the pop-artist stable of one of the largest record companies in the world when the label joined up with RCA. However, in September 2019, she went fully independent, releasing her single ‘Bloodhound’ on her newly founded label Dollar Menu. She says it was all about creative control. “If I don’t write music that I truly lose myself in, I don’t dare to be on stage. So either I release music that I connect with deeply and love, or I’m done as an artist. That’s kind of how I feel.” Even though distributing music yourself is easier now in the current digital landscape, she also says that it’s not necessarily to her advantage as an indie artist. “There’s still so much that can be done today with the deep pockets of a major label, especially in terms of marketing and PR.” Often photographed in soft, sweeping fabrics, where earthy colours lend her image a tinge of warmth, Skott looks as if she could melt right into her consistently art nouveau-style cover artwork. “I get inspired by colours, shapes and textures, and love how they can set a tone.” Nonetheless, she reveals that fashion isn’t a particularly big interest of hers, despite wearing Michalsky for one of his shows. We might even see a change in that interest as she also admits to “actually having a lot of fun being my own stylist, and this is just the start of a long and wondrous journey.” Throughout her musical development, new technology has been an aid in paving her own way in music. “You don’t have to teach yourself every instrument in the world to create an epic production yourself,” she says, something which is true both for her video-game music production and the pop music she creates as Skott. Whether it is her background or just a general preference, she says that acoustic music breathes in a certain way. “I feel recording real instruments give more life to the sound, which nowadays is almost completely lost within pop music.” In a way, retaining this quality of sound is why Skott brings together both the new and the old, a practice that is at the core of who she is as an artist.; @skottpeace



Mr. Tophat Mr. Tophat is a source of genre-bending inspiration, as a club music DJ and as a pioneer in music production. On the one hand, his recent collaboration with Swedish pop icon Robyn showcases a deep love for 90s house music and a taste for glistening percussiveness. On the other, he paints ethereal soundscapes, simultaneously organic and electronic, bordering on ambient and cinematic music, such as in his album trilogy Dusk to Dawn. And of course, there are his rave- and disco-oriented productions made together with fellow Swedish house profiles like Art Alfie and Axel Boman. “Change does not always equal development,” Rudolf Nordström, Mr. Tophat’s real name, says, showing an appreciation, respect even, of older technological tools. He wants to remind us to look back into the past as much as look toward the future. “Overall, I think that it’s important to keep both old and new technology in mind. It’s easy to forget that older technology is more bug-free and simpler than modern one.” And perhaps this is what he prefers, the analogue mixer tables on which he began his journey into DJ mixes and music production, rather than the in-the-box turntables and mixers that have lowered the threshold so significantly for curious new DJs. He says that “I myself believe that new technology is both interesting and can be of great benefit, but it is important to not forget the technology or the steps that may have taken you there.”


An even better understanding of his view on his artistic craft comes when he underlines that staying on top of new technology is not a prerequisite for a better music creation process on his part. He also mentions that this is true for artistic expression as well. “For me, technology is in part about pushing artistry.” There’s a path between art and computerisation that perhaps should be trodden carefully, as there are certain implications involved. “I like the computer’s ability to count and analyse, it saves a lot of time. At the same time, it risks killing the poetry.” The future holds many possibilities for musical expression, and what styles of music we will be listening then is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure though, technology will help shape that expression, in one way or the other, and house music and other electronic genres are receptive to this development, just as they have been historically. Nordström brings up artificial voice generation and AI as digital forces that will dominate the music area of tomorrow. “Primarily AI that can compose and make selections and performances as composers and songwriters do.” Finally, he adds an optimistic note: “New technology can give rise to new ways of thinking.” In the light of how his own relation to music creation has been over his artistic career, this can perhaps be said to sum up the music of Mr. Tophat: it is constantly developing, constantly curious.; @mrtophatofficial

Opposite, clockwise from centre top: SHIRT by WHYRED, ACCessories ARTIST’S OWN; SHIRT and trousers by WHYRED; JACKET, vintage T-SHIRT and TROUSERs by WHYRED, GLASSES and HAT ARTIST’S OWN; TROUSERs by WHYRED, ACCessories ARTIST’S OWN; JACKET, SHIRT and TROUSERs by WHYRED, GLASSES and SHOES ARTIST’S OWN; SHIRT and trousers by WHYRED, SHOES ARTIST’S OWN this page: BLAZER, TROUSERs and VINTAGE SHOES by WHYRED, GLASSES and HAT ARTIST’S OWN Hair and Make-up: Catherine Lehtonen at Leon Creatives


Keep it Real

Cover up or reveal, keep it tight or hang loose, the choice is yours Photography by Noel Quintela Styling by Mari David this page: Satin blouse by Acne Studios, rouge tights by Max Mara, Eras ruffled socks by Acne Studios OPPOSITE PAGE: latex turtle neck Stylist’s own, Tiger moire shirt by Kenzo




OPPOSITE PAGE: Transparent Unforced water-repellent ranch coat by A.A. Spectrum, Nude body Stylists own, tights by Max Mara, Eras ruffled socks by Acne Studios, acetate glasses by Vogue Eyewear, Calfskin belt (worn inside out) and Brass bangle bracelet by Acne Studios Leather thigh-high boots by Max Mara THIS PAGE: Black leather Beixin vest in lamb nappa leather with 3D multi-pockets by A.A Spectrum, Long-sleeved paisley print top by Vinti Andrews, Black pumps in patent leather by Kenzo, Tights Stylists own


THIS PAGE: Glossy laminated wool jacket and trousers by Kristina Fidelskaya, Gold calfskin shoes by Acne Studios OPPOSITE PAGE: viscose turtleneck, trench coat and Two-tone belt by Lacoste, tights Stylist’s own



opposite page: Duncan printed dress by Mazarine, Leather boots by Tibi, Mini Luggage bag in white grained epi leather by Louis Vuitton this page: turtle neck top by Sportmax, Green Tai Chi pants with handmade chinese knot buttons and White Puzzle-Piece water-repellent puffer jacket by A.A. Spectrum, pumps in white patent leather by Kenzo, Acetate hoop earring by VÊronique Leroy Hair: Quentin Lafforgue Make-Up: Samuel Ruffin Stylist’s assistant: Daisy Oldfield


Mexican New Wave The world is shrinking as digitalisation spreads. This is having an impact on all aspects of of life and work. This includes fashion, in which focus is partly being moved from the traditional fashion capitals, such as Paris, Milan, London and New York, to where the talent is, both in terms of design and street style. The Forumist went to Mexico to explore the local fashion scene, and met with two young, up-and-coming designers who tell us more about fashion and digitalisation in their home country. The Mexican fashion scene of today is growing, and in general there is support and creative openings available for emerging talents. This is according to Liz Campos, a sustainability-focussed designer who graduated from Centro in Mexico City in 2018, and was selected as a finalist for the International Fashion Award during Graduate Fashion Week in London last June. In fact, Mexico today is full of innovative and experimental new designers just like Liz who want to share their interpretation of Mexican fashion with the world, and who are now increasingly recognised by international players such as magazines and the global fashion weeks. The garments are often colourful and joyful, with a lot of expression. A new aspect of culture “I think that we have talent in Mexico, but we still need to keep working and also trust in the talent we have”, says Gabriela González. She also recently graduated from Centro and describes herself as a person who loves to create and to share her vision of life and love – the latter, which she claims to be the most important ingredient of her work – with the world. While fashion may not yet have the same importance as other, more traditional aspects of Mexican culture, such as music, film or fine arts, it is developing step by step, in a society where people love to express themselves through their own individual look. Even though fast fashion is still present, during the weekends you can also visit regional markets and bazaars, and those are often crowded with fashionistas, looking for unique items. Getting closer to sustainability Sustainability is high on the global fashion agenda, and Mexico is no exception. “Fashion has a long way to becoming sustainable,” Liz, “but we are getting closer every day, with new biodegradable fabrics, recycled threads and new solutions to countering climate change. In the future, sustainable design will be the only option.” Gabriela shares her view: “I love to think that the fashion industry will become more ecological and respectful of the planet. We are all aware of climate change and overpopulation. Therefore, in a future not too far from here, we have to be more conscious of the things we make and how we make them”.

Digitalisation is creating new opportunities for Mexican fashion as new players in the industry there take hold of all the advantages it offers. We meet two young designers who hold the future in their hands Photography by alexander nueman Art direction and Styling by Ricardo Arenas this page: Top NIKE, EARRINGS Gustavo Helguera, OPPOSITE PAGE: TOP by El borde, PANTS by María Ponce


Gabriela Gonzáles

Besides sustainability, digitalisation is another main aspect of fashion today and in the future. Social networks like YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest give access to live catwalks, behind-the-scenes features and styling tips, but also enable us to browse and buy garments from around the world. “To me, digitalisation and the internet are the most wonderful things that could happen to the fashion industry,” Gabriela continues. “With the right approach, anyone can position their brand and be known to the world, which I find amazing. It leads to new opportunities for growth and recognition. As for me, I love to share the things I love, and the internet is a great tool for doing so. Mexican society is already extensively digitalised and is still developing. It helps Mexican fashion to become more interesting to other countries.”

Tell me about yourself and your work as a designer. I could describe myself as a person who loves to create, to find beauty in the ordinary and who is always looking for a way to share my vision of life and love with the world. Love is the most important ingredient I have in my work as a designer and as a person. Everything I do, I always do with heart and soul, and I am always looking for ways to make my highest passions in life materialise through my design. What is your inspiration when you design, and why? My primary inspiration is the cosmos. I love the stars and I am always looking for a way to make my pieces to show the inspiration I get from something as big and beautiful as the universe. The second thing is textile exploration. I love manipulating fabrics and making new textures out of them, which I then find a way to combine. What are your dreams and plans for the future? Right now, I would like to explore costume design for film and TV, which is something I’d like to do, as well as having my own fashion brand. @gabriela.gonmx

Opportunities and risks of digitalisation On the flip side of the coin though, digitalisation also comes with a new kind of isolation, where we risk spending more time in the digital landscape than with our loved ones. “We have to be careful,” says Liz. “If we let social media control us, the content that we ingest on a daily basis could get to form our decisions eventually, which is not a good idea. We have to be present in the now and discover this beautiful planet that we call home.” But she has also seen proof of the positive powers of digitalisation. “My beloved aunt has made arts and crafts all her life. We got her into uploading tutorials on YouTube and boom, now she has over 6,000 views. Digitalisation has indeed changed the way we are living, and it is a good thing for Mexico”.

Liz Campos

Tell me about yourself and your work as a designer. I was born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz 25 years ago. From a young age, I knew I would be a fashion designer and eventually I enrolled for a BFA in Fashion and Textile Design at Centro in Mexico City. I graduated with honours as an outstanding student in December 2018. My thesis collection is titled Eudaimonia, which means health, prosperity and happiness. It was shown during Graduate Fashion Week in London last June, where I was selected as a finalist for the International Fashion Award. Through sustainable design, my brand reacts to existing social and ecological issues. The textile industry is the second most polluting in the world. I believe that through more sustainable fashion, we can create a healthier and happier planet. What is your inspiration when you design, and why? The Eudaimonia collection is inspired by biomimicry to create interesting silhouettes and innovative textiles. Inspiration in nature results in a collection that includes recycled fashion, eco textiles and modular design. It all starts with me being captivated by a species of plant or animal, because of its texture, colours, silhouette or structure. The official term is called biomimetics and literally means the imitation of elements of nature to solve human problems. What are your dreams and plans for the future? I am blessed to say that the brand has been very well received by the fashion industry, both nationally and internationally. We are currently working on several projects, all around the world. For instance, the Eudaimonia collection was shown during Doncaster Fashion Week in the UK and we also have plans for returning to London Fashion Week next February, to join a pop-up store. On top of that, I was recently invited to Design Week Mexico with Centro, where my garments that feature innovative eco-textiles will be exhibited at the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City. @lizcamposmx

this page, clockwise from top: TOP by Gabriela Gonzalez X CENTRO; DRESS by María Ponce; TOP by Scent, SHIRT by Gabriela Gonzalez X CENTRO, PANTS by Liz Campos x CENTRO Opposite page: DRESS: Gabriela Gonzalez X CENTRO, BOOTS by ant Model: Akon Changkou at NEW ICON SPECIAL THANKS: ply showroom


Art and the Machine In a time of rapid and widespread digitalization, art presents the opportunity to reconsider and challenge assumptions about technology, environment and the way we understand our reality Words by Ted Hammarin

Art and technology – they both give us the opportunity to relate to our environments in a plurality of ways. Working together, they generate new constructs and modes of thinking and acting, they might even give life to new forms of existence. This autumn, Stockholm’s Moderna Museet is setting the scene to initialize our minds for a trip beyond the structures that technology has made. The group exhibition ‘Mud Muses: A Rant About Technology’ is bringing together the work of artists from all around the world to help us make sense of – or get lost in – the relationship between life, art and technology. Finnish artist and musician Jenna Sutela (@ jennasutela) uses words, sounds and living media such as bacteria and slime moulds in her sculpture, installations, sound art and video. Her art can be described as an investigation into identifying and reacting to social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Her sound works also play with the idea of a Martian language and the existence of extremophilic space bacteria (those that can live in 46

extreme habitats). Her work is suffused with the prevailing presence of unknown and alternative forms of intelligence. Sutela’s installation I Magma (2019) in the exhibition features a series of head-shaped lava lamps made specially for the exhibition. The movements of the lava (heated by the lamps) generate visuals which are then ‘read’ by a machine-learning programme that interprets the shapes according to codes of the I Ching. The constantly moving, randomly shaped blobs of liquid not only constitute a vividly coloured work of art but also form the basis of an exploration of the connections between the human and non-human in technology. “The inspiration comes from the Wall of Entropy, a wall of lava lamps encrypting online data at a web performance company in San Francisco,” the artist explains. “It is based on an original idea by the engineers at Sun Microsystems in the 1990s, who suggested that lava lamps were a useful tool for generating randomness. Instead of randomness, however, my work looks for patterns, signs or meaning

in the lava flow. I Magma expands my research into alternative forms of intelligence by applying chemical and digital processes in the creation of an oracle.” The relationship between art and technology, their coexistence and the ways to create new life are fundamental to Sutela’s work. “It’s only natural that art occupies the digital realm, just like every other part of our lives,” she says. “Rather than thinking about what technology can do for art, I’m more interested in suggesting that non-instrumentalized ways of using technology in art may yield interesting and important results.” The work of New York-based artist and architectural designer Lucy Siyao Liu (@lsy.liu) explores the relationship between art, technology and environment. Using drawing, installations, animation and performance, she examines the role and influence of technologies on our ways of knowing. Her way of imaging technologies allows us to look at our environments in a different light. Her work in ‘Mud Muses’ is A Curriculum on the Fabrication of Clouds (2019) is a cluster of

This page: works by Lucy Siyao Liu, with (clockwise FRom top left) Squareish scroll on mylar, from the series ‘A Curriculum on the Fabrication of Clouds’, photograph by Prallan Allsten, courtesy Moderna Museet; epochs; asteroid float; melancholia I; and Iteration 4. opposite page: works by jenna sutela, with (clockwise from top) gut-machine poetry, many-headed reading, and neither a thing nor and organism all works © and courtesy the artists

representational methods of cloud depiction within art and science across three centuries. According to Liu, the cloud as a symbol has become so frequently cited as a model of coherence, that it constitutes a trope shape for the 21st century. “I’m interested in how our relationships with an environment and environmental phenomenon is hugely structured by specific ways of ‘methodizing nature’,” Liu says. “And A Curriculum on the Fabrication of Clouds is an invitation to reconsider and challenge our assumptions about technology and environment. The term ‘cloud’ is a topological trap. It’s a vortex of indescribable shapes. Anything that comprises many parts can claim to be a cloud. The co-option of the term is symptomatic of a state of being. A Curriculum is attempting to address the material body of the cloud before it disintegrates into a symbol of the digital. In a way, I hope the material imagination of the cloud can allow us to think beyond digital binaries – analogue or digital, on or off, this or that – and more towards a plurality of phases.” In Liu’s work, every drawing method developed to capture cloud becomes an experiment in constructing new ways of imaging the environment. “If we can understand technology as contingent on the cultural,

historical and social context in which a technique, a tool or a method of structuring the environment emerges from, then drawing is a technology,” she suggests. “Technology doesn’t stand apart from art. If anything, our imaginations on technology should move on from the aesthetics of its hardware and consider how it is already part of how we make sense of the patterns in the world, part of the substrate of living. I’m interested in how our relationships with an environment and environmental phenomenon is hugely structured by specific ways of methodizing nature. A Curriculum wants us to reconsider and challenge our assumptions about technology and environment.” She describes an ambivalent relationship towards the era of digitalization. Struggling with its ways of abstracting effects and relationships, she expresses a desperate kind of excitement for the future, fuelled by the frustration of the present. “It is not enough to be dealing with metaphors of our climate crisis or uncertainties,” she says. “Rather, we should be engaging as much as possible with the material, the specific and the contextual. I work to expand what technology defines and encourage an awareness that computational renditions of the world are not the world itself. It seems to be obvious, but as our identities, feelings, languages and articulations get siphoned through encoded systems into lower and lower dimensions, our ways of thinking enmesh with the way computation works. It’s hard to disentangle it from that one-to-one relationship and recognize the potential we have to relate to our environments in a plurality of ways.” In order to move forward, Liu see art as a crucial instrument in the process of making sense of the digitized reality. “Art carves a space for reconsideration. The hope is that in the act of considering, we develop care for one another (human or non-human), and continuously learn to move beyond crisis in the abstract.” 47

Second Skin

In the city, you can be who you want to be with seamless skin bodies beneath street wear Photography by motohiko hasui

Styling by koji oyamada

this page, top: skin body by SOMARTA, t-shirt by UNIQLO, pants by Christopher Nemeth, denim football pads by VAQUERA NYC above, left to right: skin body by SOMARTA, t-shirt by VENOM skin body by SOMARTA, t-shirt by VEJAS, Foodie by BALENCIAGA skin body by SOMARTA, one-piece by MM6 MAISON MARGIELA opposite page: skin body by SOMARTA, t-shirt by KANDA KEISUKE



OPPOSITE PAGe: skin body by SOMARTA, top by Skim Milk, pants by SLY this page, top: skin body by SOMARTA, t-shirt by UNIQLO, denim football pads by VAQUERA NYC above, left to right: skin body by SOMARTA, shirts by ST-HENRI, skirt by ZARA, vintage google cap skin body by SOMARTA, t-shirt by VEJAS, foodie by BALENCIAGA, pants by PIHAKAPI, shoes by COSMIC WONDER Hair: Yutaka Kodashiro Make-up: Yuka Hirata Model: Kaho Kobayashi


Pixel Perfect You’re wearing it but you’re not wearing it in the new world of digital fashion. The Forumist meets pioneers The Fabricant to talk about bringing digital techniques to design and what it means to the industry’s ethical future Words by Roxanne Nielsen

In recent years, the digitalisation of the music, film, art and fashion industries has been nothing short of extraordinary. Many creative professionals working within them have found new and innovative ways to work using modern technology, with the aim of challenging the traditional approaches and creating new forms of imagery and visuals. In other words, to Initialize. As for fashion itself, it is one of the latest creative industries to embrace technology and this is a change in which the team behind digital fashion designers The Fabricant are leading the way. Based in Amsterdam, The Fabricant consists of a group of creative technologists – pioneers, even – who use their skills and expertise in the digital to transform the way people view and choose clothing. The team uses tools from the film visual-effects industry, such as motion capture, 3D animation software and body scanning, to produce hyper-real digital fashion experiences. So it may not come as a surprise that the founder, Kerry Murphy, has a background in film and visual effects. He describes The Fabricant as “a digital fashion house, leading the fashion industry towards a new sector of digital only clothing. We operate at the intersection of fashion and technology, making clothes that are always digital, never physical.” So


what does that mean exactly? “We aim to show the world that clothing does not need to be physical to exist,” he explains. “The digital-only sector will explore new creative directions beyond the physical world by eliminating environmental impact. We are currently helping leading brands and retailers to explore this sector and the unlimited possibilities it offers.” The promise of such limitless opportunities seems to be a natural outcome of this way of working in the digital realm – it gives designers such as The Fabricant’s team the chance to appear to go beyond the bounds of normal perception in the creation of seemingly impossible macro shots, camera movements and lighting scenarios. They have worked with brands such as Soorty, a sustainable denim brand that supplies global retailers including Tommy Hilfiger and C&A, as well as the multi-brand fashion house I.T Hong Kong in ways that have proved to be original and extremely clever. Amber Slooten, The Fabricant’s creative director, describes their process as ethical, one which “wastes nothing but data”. Such sustainability is the direct result of working within the digital realm. “When clothing is always digital and never physical, pollution and waste reduction are non-topics. There is no need for samples, high retail stock levels or size

ranges. Digital fashion uses nothing but the imagination,” she continues. “The fashion industry is one of the most polluting [creative industries]. We see the opportunity to use technology to make it more sustainable by expanding the creative options in new ways.” The Fabricant has also collaborated with i-D to make a video demonstrating how digital fashion how the digitalisation of clothes is a positive for the industry and could potentially shape its future. The video consists of three social media influencers, who each talk about the exciting advantages of digitalising fashion, for example how it can be a solution to how fast-paced fashion impacts upon the environment. It is also a way to be more inclusive, especially in terms of size. One of the influencers and a plus-size model, Enam Asiama, says that “[Digital fashion] can definitely be a positive way of accessing fashion. Anything that discusses inclusivity of plus-sized bodies is going to be something that is internet breaking.” She adds, enthusiastically, “You wake up in the morning, take a selfie and do all the extra bits later!” As for Ashley, another model, she claims that, “What’s cool about digital clothing is that when you’re wearing it, [the team behind it] can manipulate it, so that way it

This page and opposite (left and top): stills from digital animations by The Fabricant. Opposite, main picture: Johanna Jaskowska in ‘Iridescence’ by The Fabricant, photograph by Julien Boudet

actually fits your body”. For these women, Instagram is almost a virtual runway, and by using technological advances, a digital fashion house like The Fabricant can create clothes that don’t have to physically exist to be worn. “For us, the digital-only sector returns to the heart of what fashion was always meant to be, to allow us to fully express our identities and individualities,” Slooten says. But it doesn’t stop there. The Fabricant sees many more positives in the digitalisation of fashion, such as having the flexibility to imagine, prototype and adjust the designs in any scenario at any time, setting the brands they work with apart from the over-used film and photo-shooting techniques and creating fashion stories entirely free from these constraints. In the same way that technology has been used in film, architecture and the music industry, The Fabricant believes that digitalisation will replace fashion’s old crafts with more efficient ones opening up new possibilities, and that the industry needs to move forward. “We believe fashion is in a state of flux,” Murphy explains. “Fashion has left itself in a precarious position by using linear processes that fail to allow consumers to collaborate, that have a notoriously toxic environmental impact and that fail to capitalise on so-called ‘phygital’ connections. This

means the industry is putting itself in a risky position by becoming irrelevant to the new generation of consumers.” Murphy sees that changing consumer demands translate into different expectations. “These same consumers are living digital lives, expressing themselves in multi-media virtual realities. They expect to be able to express themselves with no limits through fashion in a sustainable and democratic way. Brands will be able to answer their needs and increase their relevancy by embracing digital fashion.” The Fabricant is a pioneer in its vision of a future where fashion transcends the physical body. Its work is inventing a new terrain between fashion and animation that has never been explored before. By presenting a valuable alternative to existing photo and film content, and by combining these digital products in a clever way, clients can be better informed and brands promoted more effectively, all of which leads to higher conversions, fewer returns and better service on all channels. But what about those of us who aren’t influencers? And those of us who maybe have a hard time grasping the idea of digital-only fashion? “Owners of LPs and CDs could have said the same thing about the music industry,” Slooten reminds us. “Yet most of the music sales worldwide are now done through digital-music streaming. We need clothes to protect ourselves and we need fashion to express our identities. When most of our identities are built in digital and social channels, why would we need physical items to express ourselves?” At this level, it almost becomes a philosophical debate. As for its future projects, The Fabricant adds: “We are creating a new sector of digital-only fashion by connecting leading brands, creators and users. Right now, we can use all the input from our community to make a bigger impact”. It seems like an ambitious, hopefully achievable goal. There is no doubt that the work being done by The Fabricant is helping pave the way for an entirely innovative approach to fashion, from its visualisation to its end user. Fashion’s current unsustainable practices and their place in the climate change debate demand more than ever that there should be ways in which the industry can move forward in a more ethical, positive and environmentally friendly way. Digitalisation is a step in the right direction and just might be the solution.; the_fab_ric_ant 53

Mixing it Up Just as in gastronomy some years ago, something is happening in the world of cocktails. Bartenders are becoming ever more interested in physics, biology and chemistry. This is something that Schweppes acknowledged in this year’s Schweppes Signature Program. Now mixology goes molecular. Words by Tor Bergman special thanks to schweppes

There was a time when a cute-looking bartender with juggling skills was the hottest thing in the drinks industry. Today, it is a thorough understanding of the laws of chemistry that catches the eye of smart bar owners looking for mixologists. Just as the world of cuisine some years ago started to put test tubes and other laboratory equipment among their pots and pans, new mixology techniques are becoming more and more popular in cocktail bars around the world. Infusion is the new buzz word and rapid infusion methods have initialized a new palette of flavours in cocktails. Douglas Anasagasti, regional brand ambassador of Schweppes and an ultra-skilled mixologist himself, explains: “We have created the Schweppes Signature

Program with masterclasses for bartenders around Europe in order to develop the art of mixology and spread knowledge of new techniques. This year it felt natural to focus on infusions and we selected mixologists from five countries around Europe to take part in our celebrated masterclasses on the subject. The chosen ones are being judged on different elements such as style, authenticity and how they capture their vision in the resulting drink. Ambitions are very high, or, as our chef put it, they are transforming cocktails into a dish and a dish into a cocktail.” Schweppes has been at the front line of drinks and chemistry since 1783 when the founder Johann Jacob Schweppes was the first to develop a process to manufacture carbonated mineral water. Even today the


company takes great pride in its ability to produce such long-lived carbonation. Anasagasti is himself very interested in the chemical aspects of mixology and on broadening our views on what a drink could be. “Infusions can develop the cocktail and create a true taste explosion,” Anasagasti says. “The influence for this comes from molecular gastronomy in which ingredients are studied for their properties and incorporated into dishes to enhance the flavours and control the process of cooking. This is what we’re seeing in the cocktail scene at the moment.” And he is certain you’ll soon be sipping more of these multifaceted cocktails in a bar near you. But what is this infusion thing exactly? The dictionary defines it as: “Infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavours from plant

Douglas anasagasti of schweppes at work (top centre and above left), and the tools and ingredients needed by the professional mixologist (courtesy schweppes), with an 1857 illustration of chemistry instruments

material by suspending over time it in a solvent such as water, oil or alcohol.” It is simply a matter of steeping or soaking an ingredient in another substance, often a liquid. A good example of an infusion is Earl Grey tea, where black tea is infused with bergamot, a kind of citrus fruit, to create a new flavour. Other examples are the kinds of chocolate that are flavoured with orange or mint, but without fragments of the fruits or leaves present – these are the kinds of flavours we even think of as being natural rather than enhanced. When it comes to alcoholic beverages there is a multitude of examples. In Scandinavia, there is akvavit, a traditional style of distilled spirit flavoured with a variety of herbs – a classic case of infusion. Unfortunately, infusions like these need a certain amount of time to work, which can be minutes or even months, and time is always short when you’re working in a popular bar. This is where the equipment at hand becomes important, bringing kitchen techniques into cocktail making to create rapid infusions. High pressure is the key factor. The most important piece of kit is what a bartender calls a cream-whipper – a bottle with a siphon of nitrous oxide. Just put the solid flavouring ingredient in the whipper, fill it with the liquid to be infused, charge it with N₂O, swirl, wait for a minute or so, vent the gas out of the whipper and strain the infused liquid. This is an affordable method and it is all you need to do to start playing around with flavour profiles at home. There are other techniques, such as the rather complex vacuum machine and even the sous-vide, but this infusion method is an avenue of pleasure for anyone keen to try out new ingenious techniques. The world of cocktails is right now being flooded with new products and cocktails made from an infusion, such rhubarb gin, vanilla vodka,and whiskey and cinnamon. A popular drink at the moment is coffee tonic, in which the gin is infused with coffee and mixed with tonic and cold coffee. And soft drinks or mixers are also using this technique. Schweppes Premium Mixers Pink Pepper tonic water is just one example of a successful infusion, perfect to lift your gin and tonic to a new and unexpected level. “This is definitely the new direction for drinks in the future,” says Anasagasti while sipping a specially made fusion of ginger and mint – a fascinating taste, believe me. “We’re at the beginning of something very interesting. Bartenders are gaining more knowledge every day and it’s a great way of bringing different cultures and tastes into one. It’s mixology at its best.” Anasagasti is currently touring Europe together with master chef Dennis Huwaë to work with one bartender from each of Sweden, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland and Italy to take their cocktailmaking skills to a higher level in The Schweppes Signature Program workshops. The magnificent cocktails that will be presented at bar events in each of these countries will be a great opportunity to witness not only skilled bartenders working under pressure with pressured infusion, but also the initializing of a new era in cocktails.


Unraveling The Thread






Profile for The Forumist

Initialize issue 19  

The future starts here today within us and all around us. Technology in conjunction with creativity is offering us endless possibilities to...

Initialize issue 19  

The future starts here today within us and all around us. Technology in conjunction with creativity is offering us endless possibilities to...