by flaunt

We make a visit to visual artist Shoplifter's "playground and candy store"

As I enter Shoplifter’s studio in Brooklyn, I feel like Alice stepping into Wonderland. Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir AKA Shoplifter, calls this spacious and bright abode her “playground and candy store,” where her life and art coexist. Today the video shoot for the collaborative collection between Shoplifter and & Other Stories is taking place, so every room is punctuated by Shoplifter’s sculptural artworks, the wearables rolling on hangers and the moving bodies wearing them.

& Other Stories, a company under H&M, is a fashion brand specializing in women’s clothing. It has launched a new collaboration with Shoplifter to translate her art into wearables. Shoplifter is an Icelandic visual artist who has resided in New York for the last 22 years. She greets me in her green and black patterned dress skirt and pants that she made for herself. Her initial engagement in fashion began when she was ten. Growing up in Iceland, “still an isolated and communist country” as she puts, she had not had access to fashion that satiated her taste. Therefore, she created her own outfits.

This interest in fashion continued into her art making—one of the most well known examples is her costume design for Björk’s album cover for Medúlla. The costume is made from hair, a media Shoplifter explores in depth in her artistic practice. She voices her excitement about this collaboration with & Other Stories for allowing her to make a coherent collection of wearables that are available to the general public.

From manicure to anorak, the collection is quite “hairy”—her past works of various braided hair are printed in bright colors on t-shirts and leggings, and her furry smiley face is transformed into a shoulder bag. The collection is not only rich in texture and color, but also transmits joy and playfulness. Calling herself a maximalist, optimist, and colorist, Shoplifter wants her items to be something that can break the routine of a stable wardrobe to provide fun accents. “Some people are afraid to be more colorful. I hope to encourage people to wear more colors!” The wearables, she explains, are to inspire creative fashion, in which there are multiple ways to wear a cloth. As an example, she shows how a scarf can be transformed into a shirt or a hair accessory.

With delight, Shoplifter views the new collection as a performance of her work on people. “It’s like my work has snuck out of the studio, and is hanging out with people in the world.” The collection is endearingly named “Shoppy’s Flirtation” by one of & Other Stories’ staff. Shoplifter adds with a mischievous smile, “I’m flirting with fashion. As in flirtation, you can do it again and again.”

The new collection is available in stores and online in Feb 2017.

Written by Inky Lee


Inky Lee