RE HE ICK CL
THE SWAG REPUBLIC
DESIGN IMAGE SOUND WORD
WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
â€œEvery act of creation is first an act of destruction.â€? - Pablo Picasso
B eing a believer of this from a young age, I have now launched an online publication. To those who follow technology, or follow a fashion of some kind. This publication is a slap in your face. The SWAG Republic: Representing the unheard, forgotten and innovative. DESIGN . IMAGE . SOUND . WORD I wish to welcome to you to a non-culture Publication. Our content will feature a few well-known names and Many unknown. Though we celebrate the innovative individuals in different fields. Love and Light Alexandrea Elliott Editor-in-chief/Graphic Designer
BY NATASHA ANDERSON AND LAUREN HOWELLS
How many professions can one man have? According to Kanye West, the number is limitless. Over the years we have witnessed Kanye the rapper, Kanye the “serious musician” and emphatic performer, Kanye the producer, Kanye the egotistical educator, Kanye the fashion designer, Kanye the philanthropist and who could forget Kanye the speech interrupter? For someone who wears so many creative hats (often on backwards), there’s always going to be concern that the music profession which initially catapulted him to worldwide critical acclaim will suffer more than the handpicked audience at his Paris fashion show. 4
Since it’s inception in France in 1943, Paris Fashion Week has been a mecca for the industries stylish and elite.This highly anticipated week on the fashion calendar showcases the latest Spring/Summer and Autumn/ Winter collections of luxury fashion houses, including Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dior to name a few. On October 1st, 2011, at Parisian high school Lychee Henry IV, Kanye West, critically acclaimed hip hop producer and musician debuted his highly anticipated women’s fashion line, DW. The collection, named after his late mother, Row fixture at countless fashion shows over the years. Revered by many as a style icon, Donda West, was unveiled to a stellar hand West was voted one of the top 10 most picked audience of fashion editors, stylists, stylish men in America by GQ Magazine in 2009. That same year, he collaborated with jouinalists, designers, and an array of A list both Nike and Louis Vuitton and created celebrities including Mary Kate and Ashseparate lines of footwear. His passion for ley Olsen and Lindsay Lohan. Expectations the industry for all aspects of the industry were high for West’s latest venture. This was also led him to being a fashion columnist for the moment he has been dreaming of his lifestyle magazine Complex. After Kanye’s entire life. Kanye’s well documented love of infamous outburst at the VMA’s he took fashion began at a young age, the avid fan a break from music and moved to Rome where he interned at Fendi. being a front His obsession with fashion led him to tell one fashion magazine that design was more important to him than music, but would his love of the industry be enough to earn him a credible name? There is a stigma attached to celebrities who launch fashion lines, there success doesn’t always translate to runway success. They are often faced with intense scrutiny by the often cynical fashion critiques. While some have proven to be successful and well regarded in the industry, such as Victoria Beckham’s DVB collections and Even the Row by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, others have proven disastrous, most 5
With Kanye’s reputation for having a penchant for the extravagant and theatrical, the level of anticipation for his line were high. However, it didn’t live up to the monumental hype surrounding it. While the reviews were mixed, it was met with mainly widespread criticism. On the whole, the collection was uninspired; it lacked cohesion and direction, an suffered from poor tailoring and craftsmanship. The collection was heavily influenced by other designers, including Balmain , Givenchy, Herve Leger and Pucci. Kanye achieved his desired look with the help of respected designers Louise Goldin and Katie Eary, and also through consultations with Central Saint Martins professor and guru of British fashion Louise Wilson. He also had some of the modelling industries finest, including Karlie Kloss, Anja Rubik and Chanel Iman. His use of heavy aesthitics and luxe fabrics,including over sized fur collars, suede and leather made his collection more suited for an A/W showing. There was an unusual array of hotpants, structural zips, skintight pants, beaded blazers, deep plunging necklines and slashed bandage dresses. The colour palette was simple, beige, white, black with hints of cobalt blue and red. While he won praise for his colour block pants, the rest of the collection was not well received.
“ Kanye is set to silence his critics by returning to Paris to showcase his A/W ready to wear collection in March ”
Before all the fashion shows and “flashing lights”, Kanye’s musical career began in his bedroom, where at the age of twelve he commenced creating hip-hop beats to accompany the video games he’d designed. Evidently, from a young age West harboured a plethora of creativity that was bursting to be released.
It wasn’t until he collaborated with the notorious rapper/producer Jay Z in 2000 that his talents were adequately commended and thus Kanye West the lyrical genius was born. Of all the creative hats Kanye wears, it is his lyricist cap that fits him the best. There is no subject West won’t tackle in his songs and he isn’t afraid to articulate his opinions and political views to the world, regardless of the ramifications. In 2005, during a live telethon to raise funds for Hurricane Katrina victims, Kanye West asserted that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” and the backlash and public reaction was unprecedented. In a television interview five years later, Bush admitted that West’s very public outburst was the “lowest point” of his presidency, exemplifying the power of Kanye’s convictions and the widespread amplification of his voice.
Just last month, West endeavoured to channel his burgeoning creativity by announcing via his widely followed Twitter account the launch of his new design company, DONDA, which he asserted will “comprise of over 22 divisions with a goal to make products and experiences that people want and can afford.”
This gross venture has been met with skepticism as it seems DONDA (also named after his late mother) lacks a direct focus and is a somewhat indulgent attempt “to collectively affect the world through design.” Kanye, the perennial narcissist, firmly believes that DONDA will pick up where Steve Jobs left off in terms of revolutionizing the world as we know it by aesthetically improving everything “we see, hear, touch, taste and feel.” Talk about an ambitious and ambiguous undertaking. It appears that not even Kanye can articulate what the DONDA design initiative will achieve or how it will operate, but it certainly will be entertaining to see if Mr West and his creative minions can pull this one off.
SO THE QUESTION NOW REMAINS:
HAS MR WEST SPREAD HIS “GREATNESS” ACROSS TOO MANY SLICES OF ENTREPRENEURIAL BREAD OR IS HE SIMPLY ONE OF THE MOST INTELLIGENT AND CREATIVE ARTISTS THAT THE INDUSTRY HAS EVER WITNESSED?
PROFILE BY GENEVIEVE WOOD
Holly Jaffe doesn’t want to be another celebrity photographer. She thrives on capturing life’s rare and candid moments, giving her chance to confine one image in time to a lasting photograph. Holly’s blog, Linger On displays just that; her own personal photo collection of nights out, festivals and road trips, spliced together with professional pieces that have been featured in various look books - each one beckoning for the viewer to linger on a particular image and not just pass it by. The notion of lingering not only lends itself to the title of Holly’s blog but also to its title artwork, a psychedelic head shot of a woodstock-esque character wearing rainbow lens glasses, with the third eye being the focus of the bold drawing. The concept of the third eye or the minds eye being able to see something else other than just the visual, is an idea that fascinates Holly and motivates her in her work. “That’s what I want to try to capture, things that go unnoticed, [I want to try] to captivate people and mesmerize them, making them feel apart of the image”. Holly says her inspiration derives from travel and wanderlust, nature and natural phenomenon’s and of course, music.
She lists her trip to Europe and Morocco as the catalyst for her major creative awakening. “It opened my eyes and I started to develop more of a sense of who I am and what I want to create for the world”. With such an abundance of creative talent all pushing the experimental now just a hop, skip and a click away, the most challenging part of the job (still) is getting noticed. However, it works both ways. The blogesphere acts as a source of inspiration, with Holly listing 4th and Bleeker, Frou Frou, Tabacco and Leather and We Live Young as some of her favourite blogs. In particular, We Live Young, a fellow photography blog, is listed as her very favourite. The reason being Holly says is because Nirrimi (the author) “documents her life so beautifully and I get lost in her photos. I love photos that give you an incredible sense of what the person was feeling, and you too then feel the emotions and all her photos have that quality.” This idea is ultimately what Holly captures in her own photographs. They are raw, intriguing, grainy and honest yet always striking. And if she could photograph anything in the world? It would be the deep south, just so she could take “weird and wonderful portraits.” Holly has shot look books for Luxe, On The Phone To Paris, Boddi and most recently her work has been featured in ‘Radio Gaga’ by Andrea Baker.
PROFILE BY JAMES BANHAM / PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLLY JAFFE “ GOING IN WITH A PREDISPOSITION; I CAME OUT WITH A REVELATION. “
Reputations of being set and confident in his ways, battling stereotypes and having a formidable character are all that swirled through my mind as I entered the glamorous warehouse that housed my source of conversation, Anthony Capon. After all, that was all I knew of him. The Melbourne designer and one of the creative minds behind the Et Al group - which houses the labels Showroom and Comma winner of Project Runway Australia season 2 and all ‘round nice guy, however, certainly knows his stuff and exactly how to impart his wisdom and thoughts on all things life, love, fashion and the industry.
nequins. Against one far wall hung Anthony’s latest Autumn-Winter collection, which comprises 30 new pieces all in eye-catching textures. This season’s look? Black. Fairly usual given the designer’s penchant for the dark, mysterious and head-turning. He explained to me that Et Al and his personal label a.Concept have a very distinct style, which mostly involves black and white. The summer, though, is looking toward colour and bright fluorescents, which Anthony says they can always try, but it’s not quite his style.
Draped in his signature black garments ‘ A.Concept ’ is Anthony’s baby. It was born comprising of sheer, textured fabric and a from his passion for design and is funded wickedly high pair of black heels, Anthony and housed by Et Al, whom sells his collecgreeted me with a smile and a tentative gait tions through two of their stores. that welcomed me to his sartorial lair. He loves it and is happy to take charge of His office is a gregariously messy, hygienically the label, entirely on his own. clean, well-kept haven of design and creativ- He’s been with them for around five years, ity. With colleagues buzzing around desks, in so was fortunate to have Et Al behind him and out of stockrooms and enjoying the last when in the dim, dark past – nearly twofew meagre minutes of their evening impris- and-a-half years ago - he embellished his onment in the office, Anthony showed me skills on the legendary Project Runway Australia. They wanted to ‘cut the crap’ and around the sun bathed and warm space. help him out, removing all the hardships and Images and swatches of fabric and designs struggles of starting a new label with no fiadorned the walls of rooms littered with ac- nancial backing. cessories, swathes of fabric, paper and man15
When it comes to what he does, there is no second-guessing. Anthony loves creativity, to be creative, live and work looking and believing he is as fabulous as he can be and be damned if anyone tells him otherwise. It’s this attitude I thought was the most profound. He creates his pieces because he visualises them. Anthony envisions everything that his hands make as being a part of a stage show, some sort of performance or coasting down a runway. He says that’s because of his childhood stage show influence. As a three-year old he was very heavily involved in Irish dancing – a unique talent that still rears its head every now and then, “Usually when I’m excited, a little jig comes out”, he mentioned. It’s
He made quite an impact on the Australian fashion scene when he publicly appeared in skirts, which surprised the veteran wearer Anthony explained, “The skirts are a part of my wardrobe because they’re easy to wear and I believe they’re a great piece to own. “I don’t think everyone can pull it off and I don’t want to see some pooncey little guy walking around with a skirt because he thinks it makes him look pretty. They can actually be a really masculine thing – look at ancient Rome, Scotland, Braveheart - but dmittedly, they’re not for everybody.” It’s the influence of his dancing history, combined with the way he envisions work that result in some stunning pieces, full of texture, layering and lines that complement each other harmoniously and allow for wickedly easy movement.
Anthony’s enthusiasm for his work, his “singular, bachelor lifestyle” – without a refrigerator because he hates to cook – his talents, confidence and goals are very infectious, which as it happens, affected others around the country in a moving moment he had never experienced before. During his time in the spotlight as Australia’s fashion world watched wannabe-afterwannabe designer try and fail on national television, something happened. Anthony’s aesthetic and his way was not only received by thousands of Australians, but embraced. He had an affect on boys, girls, men and women of all ages and from all walks of life who witnessed, embraced and encouraged him and what he had going on
“I wore a fucking watering can on my head for god’s sake,” he reminisced. “But that didn’t stop people from contacting me and letting me know how much I’d inspired them.”
What was most notable about Anthony’s newfound recognition for his style and persona was that he’d managed to touch the lives of many people of varying ages so much so they felt compelled to embrace their own life for what it should be.
People contacted him online and made mention of their inspiration by his confidence, willingness to admit to the world his true self and lack of care for whoever thought he was different because he chose to wear heels, a man skirt or other albeit out there bodily embellishments. Some even came-out to him because they didn’t know who else to turn to; a heart warming experience for the mere designer.
What he recalls most with a vague reminiscent smile on his face is that through his time, he has been approached by wives on behalf of their big, masculine husbands to inadvertently introduce the meek men from afar. “It was hilarious because these women would come up to me in the street and say, ‘Hi, my husband just wanted to introduce himself, but he’s too embarrassed to come over. He loves you and thinks you’re so great’,” he said. Admittedly, many of these guys didn’t quite know what the hell Anthony is about, but he loved the fact they were willing to admit their appreciation and see him as just another cool guy with his own unique thing going on. He appreciates and respects – as he too is – people who are simply real.
When Anthony first moved to Melbourne at the young age of 21, he knew what he wanted to do and made friends along the way who helped him foster his creativity. One of his best friends was as creative and expressive as Anthony himself. A favourite memory is one of a night out on Melbourne’s Gertrude Street. It involved a skirt from an op-shop, a podium, no doubt plenty of alcohol – to feed the designer’s fanciful drinking habits - and the skirt’s spontaneous alteration with nothing but a pair of scissors during a performance in the middle of the club for no one but themselves.
He sees this as a testament to his creative nature and unpredictability. From this muse, Anthony learnt the phrase embrace the freak, or basically, you are who you are so be the most fabulous person you can be. He tries to stick to this mantra every day. While he doesnâ€™t necessarily believe he is a freak, per se â€“ he lives as best he can by shying away from nothing, and living to the beat of his own drum. His confidence, creativity and zest for the person he is are infectious. Having come a long way since the days of studying fashion at a TAFE in Canberra, Anthony is taking his life and what he has by the throat and forcing it in the direction he deems worthy. He is not out to change the world one fashion-lover at a time, not out to impose his man skirt and heel wearing ways on every Australian man, nor out to convert every fashionisto into a clone. He simply wants to be who he is, rock a fabulous black ensemble and live a happy, fulfilled life. 20
QUITE A CONSPICUOUS GOAL FOR THE INDUSTRY BUT REVOLUTIONARY IN ITS SIMPLICITY. - JAMES BANHAM 
Follow Anthony Capon / Twitter @ANTHONYCAPON
VIKTOR & ROLF
CONTENT BY LAUREN HOWELLS
Welcome to the world of Viktor and Rolf; an extravagant wonderland of surrealist illusion and structural beauty. Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are the Avant Garde duo behind this unique label. These visionaries of the fashion world are masters of haute couture; their designs are a meticulous blend of stylish, glamorous fashion and beautiful works of art.The pair met while studying at the Arnhem Academy of Art and Design. They gained recognition for their designs in 1993 when they won the Salon European des Jeunes Stylists prize for young designers. The eccentric duo’s runway presentations over the years have been elaborate conceptual masterpieces, blending cool irony with chic couture. One of their early fashion shows “Russian Doll” (A/W ‘99/2000) had model Maggie Rizer positioned on a revolving platform, with the designers dressing her, layer by layer, in nine different jewel encrusted dresses.
Their fashion show in 2001 featured each model wearing scaffolding with their own lights and music: each essentially carrying their own fashion show. For the debut of their menswear line “V &R Monsieur” the designers were the models, changing outfits onstage. Other notable presentations showcasing their unbridled imagination and creativity include a topsy-turvy show featuring upside down dresses and a backwards soundtrack, and their show entitled “Black Hole” an all black collection where the models faces, hands and legs were painted black. While these shows captivated the fashion press, they failed to have commercial success. In 2000, they moved from haute couture to ready-to-wear, and collaborated with H&M designing a line for the highly successful Swedish brand.Their line included chic trenches, tuxedos, motif blouses and full skirts. Other collaborations include a range of couture false eyelashes Shu Uemura in 2008, and a luggage line for Samsonite in 2009. The Viktor and Rolf label now includes shoes, accessories, lingerie, eyewear and perfumes, Flowerbomb for women, and Antidote for Men.
Their Fall 2008 Ready to Wear collection was inspired by the word “no”, to represent women who have a voice and who stand up for themselves. The word no, along with “dream”, “wow” and “yes” were incorporated into the collection in many forms, including sequins, painted on models faces and three dimensionally popping out from jackets. The middle Ages inspired their Fall 2011 collection, the show beginning with a giant drawbridge being lowered onto the catwalk. The models faces were painted blood red, and the collection featured strong shoulders, armor like pleats, large floral motifs, oversized ruffles and frills and unstructured dresses.
Their Spring/Summer 2012 collection was a total contrast to their previous angry blackclad offering, with the presentation being girly and doll like. The show began with their trademark dramatic staging, with the models entering the catwalk by walking through a skirt that opened like a curtain worn by French musical duo Brigitte, who sang throughout the show perched high above the crowd. The collection was a feminine array of cocktail and party dresses with oversized stitch detailing, dramatic ruffles, satin bows and lace, and mesh and lace embellishments. The models wore ponytails with red eyelash extensions and heels with ruffled leather detail.
In October 2011, the designers released their debut book, a collection of twelve fairy tales. Beautifully illustrated by the designers, their surreal fairy tales take the reader on a journey of luxurious escapism.
THE HIGHLY INFLUENTIAL DUO CONTINUES TO BE REGARDED AS FASHION ROYALTY, AND ICONS OF THE INDUSTRY.
WATCH THE THRONE
- BEN COOK
There were only two hip hop acts this festival season really worth watching; Kanye West and Odd Future (honourable mentions go to Das Racist, Spank Rock, Snoop Dogg and Kid Cudi). Both have a propensity for controversy, oodles of talent and a vision for world domination, but are at different stages of their musical careers. While Yeezy enjoys the dream combination of critical and commercial success, and has done for the better part of a decade, a year of relentless hype and attention has propelled Odd Future into the mainstream pop culture zeitgeist, with the rap collective set for similar heights, and showing no signs of driving slow.
Mr. West is going through a prolific phase of his tenure in music-making at the moment. A couple of years ago, with his back against the wall and the world’s negativity in his ear, he could have easily imploded, creatively, or faded from public life, but instead he used all the hating as fuel to turn My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy into a modern masterpiece. This was as intentional a career move as releasing a mixtape is to a new rapper, whether Kanye was aware of it or not. Bouts of self-sabotage are just par for the course when you’re an international icon not content with complacency. It needs to be Kanye vs. the world. At the same time, he wants the world’s respect and attention. It’s a love/hate relationship where the talk hurts but the sex is great. And just to show the world he’d won, a year later he releases a swaggering collection of ghetto beats and bravado raps with his “big brother” Jay Z, boastfully titled ‘Watch The Throne’.
Odd Future crept up on the scene in 08’/09’ with a barrage of, mostly individual, mixtapes from the majority of the group’s members. These were hit (Tyler, the Creator’s ‘Bastard’) and miss (Hodgy Beats’ ‘The Dena Tape’) affairs, and it was only in 2010, when the songs were better and they’d built up a rep for a crazy, energetic live show, that things started to solidify. Twenty-eleven, though, was OF’s breakthrough year thanks, in large part, to a Strokes-level amount of water-cooler hype and an Arctic Monkeys-level of Internet buzz. These guys (and girl) weren’t the new saviors of Rock music though, they were young hoods from the ‘burbs of LA making murky hip hop, sonically and lyrically. They represent the new hustlers of the Internet generation, transplanting street-level methods into the digital domain. You made a mixtape (an actual, physical tape/CD), sent it to friends (in person), and if it’s good your friends sent it to their friends (also in person!). Same principle now, only the neighbourhood’s a lot bigger. Last year, they also got put through the toughest test a recording artist can go through these days; They released an album and asked people to pay money for it.
In these two artists, an assumption on the current state of hip hop can be extracted. Kanye West pushes the boundaries of creativity, hip hop convention and what a hip hop track can sound like, looking to the other arts for inspiration. Odd Future push the boundaries of society, censorship and the system, looking to the past for validation. The throne, at the moment, is Ye’s to lose, with time and infinite amounts of potential on OF’s side. Is there room for two at the top? Does hip hop have anywhere to go? Evolution in music is natural - essential - to the creativity, and popularity, of an artform. The oscillation of going forward, just to have the ability to go back is the creative lifecycle. A few years ago there was a claim that hip hop was dead. It’s not dead, it’s just finding out what it wants to be. 28
HOW THIS QUEEN OF CONEY ISLAND’S DEBUT ALBUM HITS ALL THE RIGHT NOTES
LANA DEL REY CONTENT BY NATASHA ANDERSON
It’s difficult to believe that just twelve months Lana Del Rey, whose real name is Elizabeth ago Lana Del Rey (and her plump pout) was Grant, has been ripped to shreds by critics at minding her own business in London, creating a little album that she assumed would be released independently and lost amongst a
every interval of her meteoric rise to fame, so it’s natural for there to be a large amount of interest as to what those large lips have to sing about.
thrashing sea of online starlets. Well both Lana “Born To Die” is a substantial debut pop offerand her luscious lips were wrong. Within a ing that effortlessly pervades a number of genres from hip-hop to
few months she had
signed a major label
blues to alternative
deal with Interscope/
Polydor Records and
nelling the pseudo-
released her debut
heroine that she’s
single “Video Games”
coined a “gangsta
which went on to
Nancy Sinatra”, Ms Del Rey is certainly
become a YouTube
in her element and
sensation that is sit-
vocal comfort zone
ting at nearly 27 mil-
throughout the 12
lion hits. With over 20,000 comments on this tracks. video alone, it appears that everyone has an The title and opening track, Born To Die, is a opinion of this doe-eyed darling, her music and whether or not her swollen lips (which she insists are 100% real) are the result of a visit to the plastic surgeon’s office.
sophisticated and cinematic composition that is both haunting and mesmerizing. Lana’s deep and lush vocals croon over a symphony of sustained strings and it is evident that this is no elementary release from the enchanting New Yorker. 32
A perpetual theme of endless love is interwoven throughout the album as Lana sings “I will love you til the end of the time” in the Western blues-inspired Blue Jeans and “heaven is a place on earth with you” in the wildly popular Video Games. Utilising eccentric vocal trills and unconventional melodic lines, Del Ray cements herself in the realm of Bjork, Fiona Apple and other timeless songstresses with the catchy Diet Mountain Dew. Influences from Tori Amos and Kate Bush are evident in “Off to the Races”, a quirky ditty that unleashes her inner Lolita and details her relationship with a mysterious lover with “a cocaine heart.”
The track “National Anthem” serves as a tribute to American patriotism and cleverly analyses the nation’s money-hungry culture, beginning with the unmistakable sound of July 4 fireworks and cheers from Independence Day revelers. Del Ray pronounces that “money is the anthem of success,” proving that she doesn’t only pen songs about love and loss but indeed possesses an astute social opinion that she isn’t afraid to express. “Radio” is by far the most infectious song on the album. With its “sweet like cinnamon” melodic lines and punchy hook, it effortlessly blends the best of both the hip-hop and pop genres. In short, Born To Die is an extremely impressive debut from a truly intriguing and exciting new artist. Critical backlash aside, the blatantly cruel jibes that have saturated the Internet about everything from Del Ray’s Jolie lips to her slurred singing style are irrelevant and unwarranted. She is intoxicatingly beautiful and immensely talented so why should she be punished? Has the general public become so averse to the marriage of talent and beauty that they are compelled to berate a complete stranger by posting abhorrent comments onto online forums? Let’s give the girl Lizzy Grant a break and focus on Lana Del Ray the artist. Let’s put aside the fact that she’s a bombshell babe and enter the musically mesmerizing world that is Born To Die. So close your eyes and open your ears because you might even like what you hear. 33
THANK YOU FOR READING ISSUE
1 DONT FORGET TO FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER FOR ALL OUR LATEST NEWS