Q&A | Brain Dead x A.P.C.
In the middle of Sunset blvd. In Silverlake, I am standing with Kyle Ng, from Brain Dead, where he freshly finished a laid back, end of summer dj set. Playing songs at dusk that remind us this season has come to an end. He is wearing a piece from his new collaboration collection with A.P.C., a selvedge denim bucket hat with the classic Brain Dead logo, used to block the late LA afternoon sun rays away while he spins. You could call this a modern day block party, located in the adjacent parking lot to A.P.C.’s neighbors next door, Retrosuperfuture and Le Labo, with a catered authentic taco truck and cold Dos Equis being handed out. The correct way to bring this summer to a close. Creative director and A.P.C. founder, Jean Touitou, is present at the reception later to join our discussion on why he wanted to bring LA’s Brain Dead and A.P.C. together for an unlikely project.
CM: “What’s your first moment of exposure really to A.P.C., was it the petit standard movement that got you familiar with the french designer label?”
KN: “Well you know, growing up I wasn’t a streetwear guy. I never grew up liking Stussy or any of those brands. I was into Skateboarding and then I got into art, I was wearing Dickies and Wranglers. Mostly vintage shit. A lot of vintage t-shirts, very indie rock guy orientated, mesh hats, actually a lot of vintage mesh hats. When I found A.P.C. I was really taken back how simple the overall look was and is, but more importantly how the direction of the brand is so beautiful. The representation of art and music A.P.C. really represented with my deep love for the two, especially my style, so then I started wearing it all the time. That’s all I wore for a really long time, I was also a lot skinnier at the time haha, it just looked right, the french look. So as I got older, it seemed like Jean was able to balance his brand collaborating with other established staple brands like the american heritage brand Carhartt for example. I didn’t really understand what collaborations were then, I viewed collaborations as something fun at the time, but when I saw what Jean was doing with A.P.C. at that time, it was much different and gave me a better understanding. I was just in love with how simple he would mesh his brand and another or another designer together naturally. When Jean put a logo on an article of clothing it was done really beautifully and clean.
Kyle Nga of Brain Dead calls Jean Touitou, founder and creative director of A.P.C. over to our chat to elaborate more on how the collaboration between Brain Dead & A.P.C. came to be.
CM: “I was telling Kyle, I had to dig into my closet and find my Butler New Standards and bring them out of retirement for the event. Me and Kyle were talking about his introduction and how his beginning love for the brand formed growing up. We wanted to get your point of view on how the collaboration came to be. Was it seeing what Kyle has been doing with brain dead, further pushing boundaries with the brand’s graphics and unique cut & sew pieces the past couple years?
JT: “I didn’t conceptualize that far. I just thought this is like free minded people I wanted to be around eventually. I have feelings a bit around the idea of feeling paranoia around big corporations, so everyone independent should operate with another and latch on. It’s a real jungle out there. I’m glad to be apart of a community that doesn’t have a name, with Kyle’s brand and some other brands. I’m glad we are doing things together, the work comes naturally. I personally wasn’t involved so much in the actual design process, it was between Kyle and Judith, who is my wife and runs the studio.
CM: “I read the collaboration collection is inspired and based off an early 70’s experimental film correct? ‘Future Shock’.”
KN: “Well the film is based off the book with the same title, Future Shock, all about the idea of information and data overload. The main thing is I think we both have a lot of philosophy in what we do, I don’t want to say that in a pretentious way haha but in a way where we have our own ideals. That how we wanna see our life. We both see things very similar, agreeing on that there’s a freedom we both want to express with this collaboration. There’s an element that I like about 70’s films that are psychedelic and surreal. We never saw the movie and I love that idea of kind of translating something totally fucked up and different, as well as maybe fun. That’s the thing ‘Future Shock’ is so political but I like the fun aspect of it. Making something that has this mutant mindset. This inspired by 70’s Carl Sagan, science-fiction era. The thing is, everything is so futuristic orientated now. People think as future as modern. Going back to what I love about A.P.C. and Jean, is that people think he only represents conservative contemporary wear but his roots are really deeply involved in punk and hip-hop just as much. People only view what the brand represents as conservative and clean. At the time of streetwear, that’s the most subversive thing you could have done. While all of Jean’s friends are making streetwear, he's making beautiful tailored clothing. From him working with Kanye to the upcoming next collaborative release with JJJJound/Justin Saunders, he works with people you wouldn’t expect. So we knew working A.P.C. we needed to come with a mindset, not just putting something on a t-shirt.
Following the interview the two participated in a duo like, b2b dj set. Playing sounds of psychedelic rock where Jean previously explained to me he was heavily involved in that scene. This was followed by a short film premiered on a projector showcasing cult electronic-musician Jerry Paper, sporting pieces of the collection in theatrical cgi-infused choreography. As well as an appearance by Virgil Normal co-founder and celebrated stylist, Shirley Kurata.
Shop the collection here