Despite the constant designer musical chairs and occasional country-hopping, fashion is at it's core a strictly timed, well-oiled machine. Each February and September, we see the new collections, and some months later, an ad campaign will come out to promote that very collection, just as it is about to hit stores. Those campaigns are often more of the same, as well: the industry's most in-demand super models dressed in the most standout pieces from the season. Rinse and repeat.
Occasionally, however, a brand will opt for a project that bucks the trend. Today, Frame Denim is doing just that, announcing their new, season-less collaboration with Bruce Weber. Unlike the traditional fashion collaboration—of which Frame has done with the likes of Sasha Pivavorova and Lara Stone—the Weber project does not involve the famed photographer designing his dream pair of skinny jeans. Nor is he simply shooting the brand's latest pieces on a model.
Instead, Frame founders Erik Torstensson and Jens Grede opted for a much more creative approach. Both long time fans of the photographer's work, the pair struck up a friendship with Weber, during which talks of some sort of collaboration came about. Rather than determine a certain season, the designers decided to keep it open-ended. So, they sent over a box filled with denim, asking him to send back his own interpretation of the pieces.
What Weber sent back was a collection of truly unconventional portraits of different models, including '90s supermodel Elaine Irwin and, in true Weber form, a dog, wrapped in denim, including turban-like headpieces crafted outed of pairs of jeans and denim button-downs. In short, no topless girls in a pair of low-rise jeans here (although one image does see a male model sitting at a sewing table in the buff). The images will soon be posted all-over New York City, as well as posted online and potentially featured in upcoming projects. Here, Torstensson and Grede exclusively talk about how the unlikely project came to be.
When did you first meet Bruce Weber?
We met Bruce through a mutual friend and fashion designer Victor Alfaro for the first time at Bruce’s house in Miami four years ago and have been friends since then. Stepping into Bruce's world is like stepping into one of his images—just wonderful.
What about his work do you admire? No one has been of such importance in creating the iconic American image as Bruce through his editorial work but also through translating Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren’s identity in imagery through so many years.
How did the idea for the collaboration come about? We were talking to Bruce about a different project that fell through and Bruce said, 'Send me some jeans, and we'll do something with Frame some time.' So we did. The “idea” here is to work in a way which is rare today, we didn’t have a deadline, there was no other brief than our conversation, and Bruce had totally free hands to create whatever he felt was right and excited him. We wanted to give Bruce complete creative control over the project, we sent him a box of denim asking nothing of him except to send back his own interpretation; his point of view on denim today.
What were your expectations when you sent out the box of denim? Bruce shoots so freely that the best part of his project was not knowing what the final result would be.
What were your reactions to the results? Like any of Bruce’s images, we were over-consumed by the beauty of them. We were overjoyed with Bruce’s fresh interpretation of denim and while there was a cohesiveness to the images, each were so different and provoked a new emotion every-time we looked at them. It was also a very personal moment for us as Bruce have been such a big inspiration for us in our professional life for so long it was a milestone to get to collaborate with him on our own brand.
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