A Flashback Fantastic Is Taking Millenials By Storm
Naomi Campbell, Michael Jackson, Cindy Crawford, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Linda Evangelista and now Aaliyah. They all have something in common. They’ve all been worked into THE FAN’s collections since their launch last year. If you want to join the likes of Adwoa Aboah, Jourdan Dunn and Elsa Hosk, who’s been seen sporting these lately, you may be out of luck. They’re all limited edition prints and some of them are already long gone. The latest collection, a tribute collection to Aaliyah, is currently in sale exclusively at high-end department store Selfridges in London as part of their Music Matters campaign. Whilst design duo Elle Azhdari and fashion stylist Cristina Aranda-Garzon are hard at work getting ready to launch a fourth, sports-inspired, concept in March 2018, Elle found time to share her story with us.
Please tell us a bit how you got started.
For as long as I can remember I have been a collector of “things” and obsessed with imagery. I have collected books, magazines, posters, random pictures, clothing and record covers with amazing graphic art. This has amounted to some sort of personal archive.
One thought I kept returning to was that everyone is a fan of something. My obsession with nostalgia boils down to what I was drawn to as a teenager. I’m a child of the eighties — I lived my life through 80s/90s superstars, films, books, over the top graphics, magazines and naturally MTV. So it made sense to start a label that would release ‘concepts’ based on my personal collections and idiosyncrasies.
How come you celebrate icons of the past?
People actually ask me this all the time! I think that the past, present and the future all collide in my approach to creativity — the past informs the present and the future. Culture can’t really exist without something coming before it. I think it’s important to highlight that and make the younger generation aware of what existed before them.
In my opinion supermodels like The Big Six (Naomi, Linda, Christy, Cindy, Claudia, Kate) don’t exist anymore. They weren’t just supermodels, they were celebrities in their own right — they were up for living a glamorous and public existence. The generation that followed the supermodels shied away from that sort of fabulosity and scrutiny.
Taking this vision and turning it into a reality, there must have been some bumps on the road.
Our first collection was based on Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine covers. We scanned some of the covers and turned them into colourful photo patches, which we then hand-stitched onto pre-made bomber jackets.
We only made 60 bombers and 150 screen printed t-shirts. 2 weeks in, we received a cease and desist letter from Interview Magazine. Luckily, we were already sold out (Although a source told me later that Interview were actually big fans of the jackets!). When we started THE FAN, I didn’t know much about licensing deals at all so that side of the business has been interesting to discover. For the latest collection, we worked closely the Aaliyah estate to ensure the THE FAN of AALIYAH collection was fully licensed. ◆
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