Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova
Animal Bandido are a fashion label with a difference. They’re totally anti-establishment and detest the omniprescent multi-national fashion empires that exploit workers and fabrics, and are on a mission to create a renaissance for struggling manufacturers who cannot compete with the big boys.
Their collections range from the vibrant to the downright whacky; weird and wonderful creations which illustrate fruits and other objects make up there range, which includes knitwear, fabulous graphic prints and casual basics with a twist. Viewing their collections draws comparisons to Jean Charles de Castelbajac, nutty nu-raver Carri Mundane and knitwear brand Sibling. I caught up with Zosen and Claudia, aka Animal Bandido, to find out what’s behind this fresh new label…
What made you guys team up and create the street-wear label Animal Bandido?
Claudia: We started to talk about this project in September 2007. I finished studying fashion design a year before that. I was designing my own collections, doing super-limited editions that I sewed on my own.
At the beginning I was sceptical because I had collaborated on projects before, and most of the time it’s very difficult to agree with the ideas of other people. I thought I’d give this one a go because our backgrounds are different, each of us bringing different ideas and ways of working.
Zosen: I printed my designs on t-shirts for years and I collaborated with fashion designers, but I wanted to go forward producing other garments and control the process. Animal Bandido was born to make something in collaboration and use different techniques; Claudia brings her experience with the patterns and fashion design and I with the graphics and design in general.
But, day-to-day, we both take part in every process.
What does the label represent for you?
The label represents other way to create pieces and to show our stuff to as many people possible.
Zosen, you are a well known urban artist in Barcelona. What made you move into fashion?
After the zero tolerance law against street art in Barcelona, I decided to use another techniques to spread the word. Using my graphics and colours on clothes, it’s another way to have a presence on the street and give the message to the street’s citizens.
Also, it’s interesting for me to experiment with other media and other people – it’s a great way to learn.
Claudia, tell us more about your background, in fashion?
I studied a degree in Fashion Design in Barcelona and then studied millinery at Central Saint Martins in London, followed by jewellery workshops at Casa Espiral, Barcelona.
I interned with Alberto Tous for his fashion show for Barcelona Fashion Week, and then began designing my own collections and selling them in little shops in Barcelona and Berlin.
What makes you different to big fashion corporations?
Well, there’s only two of us! There are no hierarchies; we work together and are both involved in everything, all the time. We produce everything locally, we pay worthy salaries, and we keep our manufacturing quantities reasonable to avoid waste.
Illustration by Natsuki Otani
Do you think your label is art or fashion led?
Our clothes are fashion, but treated as small pieces of art. We don’t follow the trends or encourage throwaway fashion, as the corporate giants do. We create and manufacture to order (for shops and customers) again to reduce waste.
Do you usually agree on everything? How easy is it to compromise when working as a creative partnership?
Claudia: It depends on the project, normally we just discuss everything thoroughly, allowing both of us to express our point of view. Sometimes Zosen is forced agree with me when we are talking about patterns and shapes or different ways of finishing a garment, but he controls more in graphic and web design!
We always try to be equally satisfied with everything related to the brand.
Do you experiment with anything else apart from clothes?
Zosen: Oh yes! We do many things, the most recent thing being a sculpture to present the new collection, that we installed in our studio to photograph the collection against.
It’s huge and gives so much new life to our studio that we are hoping to relocate it to some public space.
Claudia: Zosen always has a million and one projects on the go: a giant mural for the people on walls in London, an exhibition of customised records in Rome…
Now I’m coming up with a few surprises for September for Animal Bandido.
Illustration by Yuann Shen
What does Animal Bandido support?
We support the national textile industry in Spain, as opposed to the over-production and the exploitation of the third world. We pay people fairly. We’re behind a renaissance of the companies that became obsolete as a result of insurmountable production levels in third world countries; we want to give the possibility of growth to small companies so it’s not just the yucky multinationals that dominate the local market.
What makes Animal Bandido unique?
Our fabrics have our own original and unique designs printed on them. We make no more than 100 items per piece, so they are truly limited edition. When you consider that we now sell in Basel, New York, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Zaragoza, Sweden and Nottingham and our pieces are divided between those places, there aren’t many per country.
What’s up next for Animal Bandido?
For the summer we’re launching printed bikinis and swimwear; lightweight hoodies using prints from the collection and a new, retro-inspired one. We’re also looking at launching accessories.
Alberto Tous, Animal Bandido, art, barcelona, Barcelona Fashion Week, Basel, berlin, Carri Mundane, Central Saint Martins, Claudia, Ethics, fashion, graffiti, Graphics, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, london, Madrid, Natsuki Otani, new york, nottingham, print, Rome, Seville, Sibling, spain, sweden, Vinyl, Waste, Yelena Brykensova, Yuann Shen, Zaragoza, Zosen
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