Interview by Daniel Jones
Despite their name, Shallowww are anything but. The Madrid-based label collective have been releasing specially curated lines of URL-themed wearables since 2011, each a limited edition. While the label uses, and is inspired by, the visual mindset of the internet generation, they reject their values – fast, cheap, new new new – in favor of quality over quantity. Their latest collection WEEE BUYYY GOLDDD uses logos and consumerist keywords to focus on the consumer as consumed.
Though the aesthetic is new, the methods are old-school. “What we do is inspired by the past,” says Shallowww designer Silvia Bianchi, “This is the reason why we choose the best cotton, best production, and best small companies, to make future-inspired stuff. We think these are the only real values in fashion.”
What led to the creation of Shallowww in the first place?
Berta [Muñoz] and I used to work as stylists, and we often felt like we couldn’t really find what we were looking for visually in our shots. Ricardo [Juárez] and I also worked together as experimental creative consultants for the project Barriobajero and – as with many graphic designers – we dreamt about seeing our stuff in print, being worn by other people. It seemed natural to join forces.
What sort of evolving role do you think the Internet plays in fashion?
I think the Internet is not a separate aspect of our life anymore. It’s everywhere, and it’s impossible to talk about fashion without including it. It’s the same as how digital art can’t be separated from contemporary art.
WEEE BUYYY GOLDDD focuses on the visual idea of transforming the human wearer into a brand or service. Do you see this as counter-cultural to what these original ideas represent?
There is a big trend logo going on this season, and we thought it would be fun to use this aesthetic to talk about what happens while you surf and what else is involved; for example the PRISM surveillance program, which we incorporated when Edward Snowden was exiled.
The press release mentions the chaos of ever-shifting tastes, which are changing faster and faster all the time. How do you see Shallowww changing, and how do you plan to “match” that shift (if at all)?
Every brand has a “theme”, and some months ago we were thinking about that and we came to the conclusion that as long as the Internet and technology continues to change, Shallowww will change and find new focuses. We love to observe people and to try to figure out what they’re waiting for. The idea of using 2k15 as the main theme of this collection is a way of playing with obsolescence.
And what do you think the needs of 2015 will be?
Maybe the ones we had in 1990. This is the funny part. Everybody is hustling to make the newest thing. But what we do is really inspired by the production values of an earlier time. This is the reason why we choose the best material, best production, and best small companies to make future-inspired stuff. We produce locally to sell globally. We try to find a new balance. This is why we set 2k15 as the expiration date. Two years, no collections, no seasons. Just soft, 100% cotton and a URL. We feel like big brands are now doing on their runaways what digital artists were making two years earlier, while still producing their super expensive stuff in China. I think the new generation of designers still has a chance to change these things, though.