MILAN — Instagram has turned into one of the most effective arenas for talent scouting.
Venice-based creative Arturo Boem, aka Swampgod, captured the attention of Rick Owens‘ team on the popular social media account, where he posts images of the upcycled garments he likes to work with and customize. Brought to the attention of the American designer, Swampgod was called by the luxury brand to collaborate on a sustainable collection of upcycled pieces, which was presented on Tuesday at Milan’s multibrand store Modes, the exclusive retail partner of the project.
“I am loving the current conversation in the fashion industry about thinking more responsibly about production and waste, and in this positive mood I have asked Swampgod to alter some of our past deadstock in the same scotch tape spirit I started my collections 20 years ago. He ripped our old stock garments apart and reconfigured them into new pieces that end up deconstructing my deconstructions,” Owens said. “I found him on Instagram, of course, and realizing he lived down the island from me on the Lido in Venezia, thought it was a sign and invited him to corrupt and collage at our factory 160 kilometers away, making it a neighborhood project. Doesn’t hurt that he is the perfect model for his own creations.”
Swampgod selected around 40 pieces from Rick Owens’ past collections that he personalized with his signature touch. The capsule includes a range of bomber jackets, sleeveless tops, hoodies, but also accessories and footwear styles, which the young Italian creative decorated with effects mimicking the water stains on Venetian buildings.
“People tend to think about Venice in a very romantic and sweetened way, but us, as residents, we know all the difficulties that we have to face living in the lagoon, the humidity, the gray, the flood water…that’s what I want to tell with my work,” Swampgod said.
As Rick Owens chief executive officer Elsa Lanzo explained that the capsule, which features very limited quantities of each garment — some of the pieces are actually one-of-a-kind — is the first iteration of a project of sustainable capsules that the brand will drop in collaboration with local artists.
Lanzo, who attended the in-store launch of the capsule, also revealed that Owens and his team are gearing up to return to the physical format in September. “We need that, we miss that so much,” she said. “As Rick always says, the show is the real celebration of our work and we cannot wait to return to stage live events.”