Midnight Studios' Shane Gonzales: A Q&A with the Punk-Inspired Designer
Shane Gonzales, founder and creative director of Midnight Studios, is the next big contemporary designer emerging from the Los Angeles fashion scene. His clothes have been featured on the likes of A$AP Rocky, Ian Connor, Lil Uzi Vert, Joey Badass, and more. Gonzales' garments highlight moments in punk culture, giving a refreshing outlook on the streetwear industry. We spoke to Shane to get the inside scoop on his evolving company and FW17 line, out today (Nov. 7).
When did you start your brand, Midnight Studios?
I can’t recall an exact date or month anymore, but sometime around early 2014. It’s kind of a grey area, because I was printing "Midnight" on random shit before then with no intentions of really creating this brand or making it what it is today.
Would you consider your clothes to be predominately menswear, womenswear, or unisex?
When it comes down to classifying it as one “genre,” I would say its predominately menswear. However, I’m working on making the line a bit more unisex and approachable for women in upcoming seasons. I think nowadays the line between menswear and womenswear has become so transparent that it really doesn’t matter anymore. Women wear men’s clothes and vice versa.
When you’re brainstorming ideas for collections and individual garments what is your artistic process?
My artistic process always kind of starts at a thrift store. I’ll find one thing I like randomly after digging for an hour and it evolves into several styles or at least sparks an idea for more. Sometimes I’ll be revisiting a band’s music catalogue and I’ll base an entire season off their music and personal style. It all comes organically and changes on the state of mind I’m in at that moment.
How has Punk culture influenced your designs?
Punk culture is really the forefront of Midnight Studios. It started with a DIY attitude and perspective while keeping those roots throughout the growth of the brand. Over the years we’ve done our best to translate Rock & Roll history into our collections. FW15 was in collaboration with Steve Emberton and the Sex Pistols. FW16, with the Stone Roses and SS17 with Julia Gorton and her archive of punk photography and artworks.
On Instagram you document your film photography capturing moments from a wide range of celebrities: Skepta, Gucci Mane, A$AP Rocky, and Mick Jagger to name a few.When did your interest in photography begin and how has it influenced your career as an artistic director?
I developed an interest for photography early on. I bought a camera at 13 and tried to learn digital photography, but unfortunately never really figured it all out. I kind of dropped that whole passion when I started creating clothes. Recently, I realized I wanted to start documenting some of the places I’ve been and people I’m with on a day to day basis. I came across a film camera about a year ago, and learned how to use it very quickly, so I just bring it with me everywhere now.
Last year, you and Virgil made a series of shirts and hoodies together. What was that collaborative process like?
The process behind Midnight Studios/Off-White was nothing more than a few texts and facetime calls from what I can remember. It started with a pre-existing concept I’ve been doing with reprinting vintage shirts. The discussion of collaborating together came up and the idea of splitting garments in half and reconstructing them seemed fitting. I made some samples, texted images to Virgil and that was it. He picked them up, took them to Paris with him for his FW16 show, and next thing I knew they were in all major Off-White retailers.
If you could dress any fashion icon in head to toe Midnight, who would it be and why?
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalterof Daft Punk. I’ve been a huge fan of them for at least 10 years now, and it’s always been a dream to contribute to their list of incredible fashion moments and synchronized outfits.
What was your inspiration behind your last collection, Safety Pin?
“Safety Pin” was a very simple collection for me garment-wise. It was focused on Julia Gorton and her archive of punk imagery and collage works. I used traditional silhouettes like hoodies, straight leg jeans, rain jackets and stuff like that, all emblazoned with bits and pieces of her works on each.
What can we expect from your FW17 collection?
For FW17, I brought in one of my favorite bands and the godfathers of “Goth” Rock, Bauhaus. The collection is one of the largest to date for me and ranges from T-shirts to oversized sweatshirts to suits. We’ve also collaborated with GUESS Jeans for our new range of denim jackets and jeans.
In the future, what areas do you hope to grow and expand on in the fashion industry, and why?
I could grow in a million different ways, but I’m just focusing on longevity and taking my time to perfect the present state of the brand. Eventually I want to do runway, expand into footwear, open flagships worldwide, and continue to collaborate with my friends and people who inspire me.
To shop Midnight Studios FW17 line click here.
Written by: Morgan Vickery