MILAN — Simone Cracker’s Simone Botte and his business partner Filippo Biraghi would rather say no to the fashion business, stop making new gear and leave the industry.
Yet in their frequent reflections on how best to express their radical fashion proposition, the pair have found a formula for shifting perceptions and tearing down barriers from within, embracing a punk attitude they say is inspired by the late Queen, among others. punk Vivienne Westwood.
Her death last December and that of Pamela Rooke, known as Jordan, the legendary saleswoman at Westwood’s “Sex” store, struck a chord with Bott and Biraghi, who were already busy coming up with a coed collection a little more frantic than their debut fashion week show last June.
The brand has been on the market for 12 years and promotes a radical approach to fashion, sourcing (only upcycled fabrics are allowed), staffing only friends of the house and the concept of “punk kindness”.
The latter was not entirely appropriate for the current times, the duo said.
“We’re upset about everything that’s going on in the world,” Biraghi said. “Instead of promoting our usual ‘punk kind’ mindset, we’ve adopted a ‘but no’ attitude: The ability to say no is the only way we have to be free to articulate our own thinking.
“We’re a little bit upset that the world is going in the wrong direction, especially in fashion, because it seems like a separate bubble,” Biraghi said.
Rich in experimental techniques and upcycled fabrics, the collection pays homage to Westwood and ‘Der Struwwelpeter’, Heinrich Hoffmann’s German children’s book from 1845. It will be unveiled at a runway show on Sunday at 10am CET.
Decidedly more sombre than past shows, the collection includes tailoring that is draped, wrapped and tied around the body and covered in a silicone coating that cracks when first worn. The same goes for mixed media clothing coated to blend in with different textures. They got old blankets and draped them over the body as dresses and coats and converted old military gear and sprayed it.
The line-up is rich in hand knits created from non-woven yarns and evokes a collegial atmosphere that also nods to punk rebellion against institutions. The duo teamed up with Gaia brand Segattini Knotwear on a range of loosely woven, sheer mohair knits in neon colors and also mixed with mélange.
Another cobranding they developed also has a punk undercurrent. They got in touch with John Marchant, the gallerist and curator behind Ragged Kingdom, the fashion and lifestyle venture of Jamie Reid, the famous British punk artist best known for his ransom notes and cut-and-paste lettering, and his close collaboration with The Sex. Pistol. The brand has borrowed unsold merchandising from Ragged Kingdom and transformed it into new gear with a vintage feel.
The majority of the line-up consists of one-of-a-kind pieces, as these two creatives have increasingly recognized that these are the most in-demand items at retail.
“We changed our idea a bit and decided that we would no longer conceptualize the collection as a two-pronged, with exhibition and retail pieces. Buyers have been very appreciative of our unique products, perhaps because they look like flea market finds,” said Botte. “In the past, we were concerned that they were too conceptual for retail and intimidated shoppers.”
Distributed through the Garage showroom in Milan, Simon Cracker acquires new stockists every season, including the avant-garde Daada, as well as Wait&See in Milan.