MEAT is the new latex streetwear line from Alis Pelleschi and Bo Claridge. MEAT was born in 2012 after the girls met at university, moved to London and decided they had nothing to wear to go out in. So Bo started making latex outfits, mega-stylist Nicola Formichetti spotted them online, commissioned a piece for Azealia Banks and the rest is history.
Bo’s background is in design while Alis has worked as a photographer for i-D, SUPER SUPER! Nylon, WAD, Glamour, MTV and Vice among others. Their first offering “I luv you”, was inspired by Tumblr, the Nineties and Mattel’s most famous plastic couple. Their second collection “4D fantasy” was drawn from memories of “provincial British chav culture”, UK garage, sports centres and markets and presented with an exclusive mix from WHY BE and Lisbent.
The pair describe themselves as “digital natives” and the influence of online culture is apparent not only in the aesthetics of the collections themselves but in the footing they use to present MEAT garments. Their latest collection “BELIEVE” was launched on the eve of London Fashion Week and everything was streamed live; from the interactive green-screen visuals to the banging soundtrack by LA DJ Total Freedom and a live twitter feed. Produced by Logo and Just Jam, the presentation featured glitchy multiple overlays, screen-wipes and pixel bleed with keyboard text symbols and affirmative slogans like KNOWLEDGE, POWER, NEVER STOP LEARNING and MY MIND IS FREE splashed across tight power-dresses, oversize sweaters, pencil skirts and a lamina-snug all-in-one.
The collection is a testament to sass but presents a shift from straight-up sexual empowerment to wider forms of self-actualization; it is “designed for women of all ages who are taking control of their destiny’s, their careers, their environment and the technology that surrounds them, through their commitment to continual learning”. In an age of rapid technical innovation and social shift it’s exciting to see fashion being used as a platform for reflection, however provocatively or tongue-in-cheek.
Pelleschi and Claridge aren’t the only ones using fantastic plastics this season. Later in the week Sleek spotted latex and vinyl details at Marios Schwab, Antipodium, KTZ and Burberry. We asked MEAT’s polymer mavens about this resurgence, creative collaboration and the ideal MEAT babe.
Why do you think latex is relevant right now?
At the beginning of last year, we saw a massive gap in the fashion world for people using latex, away from fetish connotations. At the end of the day, latex as a material is very unusual and luxurious and I think the fashion world is starting to take note.
Is it latex<3 4eva or will you consider other textiles in the future?
We’re futurists and designers of many mediums, so we don’t want to ever feel restricted to saying latex is all we are and will ever be. We want to evolve, but we feel there is still so much to be done with latex!
Producing a fashion line is still relatively fresh ground for both of you, what’s been the most enjoyable part of the process so far?
We’re both creatives, so we enjoy the initial design process and production. I think by the end of each season so far we have been itching to get on with the next…but I guess that’s always the way, always striving to be better and create new things.
It’s great to see fashion being used as a creative platform, the live-stream collaboration with Total Freedom was awesome – any more cross-discipline collaborations coming up? Who else would you love to work with?
I think in this digital age it’s silly to not utilise the Internet and digital mediums to the best of their uses to showcase work. Our brand and collections are about all these different elements coming together: music, attitude, visuals, ideas. For us, doing a live-stream show made sense: creating this accessible, viewable, LIVE, exciting (anything-could-happen) show, away from what can be the boringness of standard catwalk shows. We love collaborating with other creatives. We’d love to do a collaborate with Givenchy, Harmony Korine, the Knife, Die Antwoord, so manny!
Who would you like to see in MEAT right now? Who is the Meat Babe?
Yolandi from Die Antwoord! But the MEAT BABE is any babe (male or female) who is full of confidence, power, sexiness, attitude and pride in being themselves.
BELIEVE was all about empowerment and being fierce. Would you call yourselves feminists?
I think feminist is an old word. We’re about empowerment of who you are, and that applies to anyone.
What was the significance of the fonts and slogans you used for BELIEVE?
We were interested in using particular fonts associated with branding and information to create the dialogue of new branding and information. You become the advert for power, knowledge, learning and Meat by wearing BELIEVE. It makes you believe!
Is being based in London so important to what you do?
There’s something unique about English design and culture, and London has always had this high concentration of creativity. You have to push yourself and your work to be seen and do something different and that in itself is exciting.
What’s up next for Meat?
We have a couple of exciting projects lined up over the next few months, whilst also expanding the empire. Keep your eyes peeled!
Keeping eyes peeled and skin tightly sheathed, here’s to the future of MEAT.
Text by Ella Plevin
Check out MEAT’s Autumn-Winter ’13 BELIEVE collection video now on Youtube.