Defining Fictional streetwear: using ‘dead stuff’ and making it into something new, reimagining these materials in their own image – the idea of death runs through the entire project
Jonno Rattman photographer
Daniel Giordano works with materials he finds in the area. He recalls when Newburgh, NY was a place alive with industry and says he is able to find industrial detritus from those days while walking along the Hudson river. «I’m working amongst, in, on and between old sewing machines, a bunch of roles of fabric» says Giordano. In a recent collaboration with streetwear brand Eden Power Corp, Giordano’s space became a playground for photographer Jonno Rattman. He came to Newburgh to put Eden’s newest line OCEAN graveyard restoration in relation to Giordano’s work. The photos captured in stark black and white show the artist and his pieces against an industrial backdrop along with models sporting clothes from Eden Power Corp calling attention to the death of our oceans. Photographer Jonno Rattman came to meet Giordano in New York without a plan or a fully-formed idea of how this particular production would be approached. What interested Rattman about Eden’s line of clothes was their utilitarian nature. He says it evoked to him silhouettes and styles of 1960’s French worker uniforms but instead of workers the clothes were hanging on skaters. The photos show models like Rob McCurdy dressed head-to-toe in black sporting a hoodie, jacket, and jeans.
McCurdy’s long blond hair highly contrasted against his dark clothes and a background of two headstones in a graveyard. Rattman was taken with Giordano’s work from the very start. «Daniel’s work is like lets plasticize some mascarpone and like deep fry a motorcycle» he goes on to say that while the work is «completely fucking off the wall» he also says the work makes sense given what Giordano is trying to say about consumerism while referencing his Italian heritage. Rattman explains his connection to this idea of conservation and how it is reflected in his work as a photographer. He sees a heavy link between photography and recycling saying photography is essentially an act of recycling. «It’s either referencing itself, it’s either referencing other art. It’s either making a copy of something that only exists in that moment that then can be recycled into something else».
Eden Power Corp street style
Eden Power Corp: according to the co-owner and co-creative director Isaac Larose this is an eco-conscious brand. Larose says the brand had to re-think their materials once they realized that processing polyester for recycling polluted the water with microplastics. Larose recalls this realization saying «when we realized recycled polyester led to microplastics shredding» it led him and his brand to rethink how they source material for their garment lines. Speaking about the OCEAN graveyard restoration Larose says «this collection is entirely made of natural fibers». Deciding to make this line entirely from hemp and recycled cotton Larose says «the goal of Eden is to put the spotlight on stuff that already exists».
Daniel Giordano artist
Giordano sees a connection between himself working in the studio and Eden Power Corp upcycling materials to make their garments. He says they are both using ‘dead stuff’ and making it into something new, reimagining these materials in their own image. This idea of death runs through all the facets of this project. Giordano says he works next to the Hudson river about 60 miles from the city. He sees the Hudson river as dead. Saying the river is polluted, you can’t fish out of it and explaining that it’s full of industrial detritus which washes up on its shores. Jonno Rattman uses this motif in the settings for his photos. While some photos are in Giordano’s workspace some are taken in a graveyard. This theme of death is portrayed without sentimentality, a highly concentrated proclamation on the current state of our oceans. According to Eden Power Corp’s description, the brand’s newest line aptly named OCEAN graveyard restoration is a «commentary on the death of the oceans and the people who spend their lives trying to restore them».
Eden Power Corp OCEAN
The line includes items such as recycled hoodies with the brand’s logo along with shirts that specifically reference climate issues specifically plaguing our oceans. A black t-shirt with the word ‘ACIDIFICATION’ splashed across the front of the garment reminds consumers of the issues our ocean currently faces. The problems facing our issues are real and critical, and this brand is making a statement by designing workwear as an homage to people who work on restoring our oceans. Isaac Larose clarifies the thought process behind Eden Power Corp saying it is a fictional company. «Every season we kind of tackle the uniform behind a specific department», says Larose. The company has previously tackled the uniform behind the fictional departments of solar energy and permaculture. Their third collection is their ocean collection building the stories of the people wearing these uniforms mixed with personal styles. This makes the intention of the collection as functional against climate change. While workwear and industry are traditionally paired this collection imagines the industry of climate change and how those workers would marry function and fashion on the road to environmental restoration.
Larose imagines the workers that would wear this line. He says maybe they are more into art than surfing, pondering their existence and how they would connect with the style of Eden’s OCEAN graveyard restoration line. He says the black and white photography of Rattman and the artistic style of Giordano work so well with this brand because it brings a new perspective to the project. Larose says it helps reveal a «different side of the ocean». He speaks about how the brand is trying to make a positive impact on the oceans by helping a coral reef restoration project in Mexico named Takata raise funds for their research by launching a special line of t-shirts. Larose also says Eden will be printing the photos from the project with algae-based ink. He reinforces his previous statement by saying that this technology already exists and the focus of Eden is to highlight that these are not new innovations in the fashion industry. Photographer Jonno Rattman says that good art takes you to the space of questioning «what the fuck is going on, what does this mean, and what do I mean in relation to it». By parsing out doses of recycled reality directly linked to our natural environment this creative collaboration creates layers of questions for a viewer. By choosing to wear a street style with the words ‘GREAT BARRIER’ accompanied by a Celtic cross does raise questions. Rattman says «the most crucial thing is raising questions and not necessarily providing any answers». As a photographer Rattman understands and explicitly explains the ephemeral framework of his craft and the fiction implied in every click of the camera. This collection of streetwear dives through layers of fiction and presents itself as streetwear with a secret mission. There are a lot of questions linked to every facet of this collaboration including the method artist Daniel Giordano used to deep fry a motorcycle. While these collaborators are all commonly linked in the process of conservation, and exploring functionality of found objects, their methods are fodder for self-reflection. How we interact with our environment is deeply personal and simultaneously a vast, rippling global effect. Questions raised by creative collaborators Daniel Giordano, Jonno Rattman, and Isaac Larose serve as a reminder that while the world isn’t always what it seems it also is shaped by our unique perspectives.IMAGE GALLERY
Artist Daniel Giordano lives and works in Newburgh, NY in his family’s defunct garment factory. HIs choice of methods and materials are inspired by his family and the Hudson Highlands area. He is slated for a solo exhibition at MASS MoCA in 2023. Photographer Jonno Rattman has offered his dramatic views of the present for publications such The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. He has also prepared exhibitions as a master printer. He splits his time between New York City and Pennsylvania. Isaac Larose is based in Montreal. He works with partner Florence Provencher Proulx as co-director and co-creative director of streetwear brand Eden Power Corp.