The tights that Windish Michel proposes on its Web site have a weird life of their own.
Each pair is imprinted with an eclectic assembly of faces, still-life prints and geometric shapes that seemingly change and adjust with every leg movement. These surreal images are the collages of Brooklyn-based artist Cameron Michel. Together with partner Vashti Windish, Michel founded the line of upscale hosiery in 2012, which he says can be best described as “eccentric.”
“It takes a certain personality to wear them,” he admitted. “They challenge you and they can look weird, but they are really fun and interactive.”
Printed by Digital Artwear in Miami, the tights marry an intriguing mix of motifs Michel scouted from image libraries and books or simply shot himself.
“There are pictures of people, but a lot of it is nature, which gives it an organic feel,” he said.
However, the printing process was not without challenges, said Michel, noting, “The first prototypes came really messed up, a little rough and imperfect. But now the colors pop really well” on a blend of synthetics and cotton, using more advanced technology.
This fall, the collaboration will be extended to other artists, which will undoubtedly increase the current crop of three styles.
“We also want to branch out into leggings and bathing suits,” said Windish, who also runs the ShopWorship Web site in New York with partner Sara Villard. Worship stocks the funky hosiery as well as vintage and independent contemporary designers. (It plans to open a store in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn in the next month.)
Michel added that “the ultimate thing would be to stretch the aesthetic to entire walls of swimming pools.”
Michel acknowledges the kaleidoscope effect in legwear, swimwear and swimming pool walls sounds extravagant. But it’s an artistic approach that can easily be done with modern technology. “It’s actually affordable to do this,” he said.
Retailing at $80 a pair, the hosiery line is distributed exclusively in the U.S., though the duo has started reaching out to retailers abroad, mainly in France, the U.K. and Japan.