VENTED TALKS VIRGIL, PARIS POP-UPS & WARPED REALITIES

VENTED TALKS VIRGIL, PARIS POP-UPS & WARPED REALITIES

by Stella Hughes
6 min
VENTED ©

If you don’t know, get to know: VENTED is the clothing and lifestyle brand set to dominate your home and wardrobe. Switching between the two by following whatever founder Josh is more interested in at the time, the brand has already landed some heat in major retailers across the country, and is now delving deeper into the fashion world with new collection ‘LA HAINE’.

Popping up in Paris before the collection’s official release, for VENTED, it’s all about connecting with the community: explaining how and why the collection is the way it is, as well as the design references and overall aims of the brand. Poking fun at the concept of sportswear and drawing on inspiration from icons such as Thierry Henry and Virgil Abloh, we caught up with founder Josh to chat all things VENTED.

VENTED ©

Hey Josh, great to catch up. I thought it was super interesting that you describe VENTED as a ‘streetwear lifestyle project’ – can you explain this term a bit more?
Of course. The idea behind it is a personal reassessment of what the brand actually was – throughout my explorations of what I want to make, I realised I wanted to make things that complement your lifestyle. Obviously my ashtrays and home furnishings are a signature of ours, and they’re not heavily branded, but more designed for complementing a lifestyle (as well as for convenience). But this all lives within a streetwear realm. 

Do you have a preference for making clothes or homeware?
You know what, I’m a little bit ADHD so I go hyper on one, then hyper on the other. For example I was just making basic clothes before the ashtrays, and used the first skatepark ashtray as an avenue for expression. I was frustrated by the limitations of making tees when we couldn’t afford to do cut and sew – I could print on blanks, but that didn’t inspire me. The initial ashtray came from a need to make something that we fully believed in and could identify with. I designed a product that me and my friend were capable of producing with not a lot of money, and yeah, still follow that process to this day you know.

It’s a corny story but I sat down on New Year’s Day and thought ‘do I really still wanna do this?’ – then sketched out 10-15 products that I really wanted to make. A lot of them were in the skatepark / swimming pool esque silhouette. I was heavy into Nigo, and had just got his book for Christmas, and was inspired by him and the whole BAPE universe. I think that taught me that it doesn’t have to be clothing for it to still be cool, and for it to be adopted by the cultures that I’m making for.

So to actually answer your question, that was probably the moment where I was most into the homeware stuff, and didn’t make any clothing for a year, but now my head is heavy in clothing – I’m really excited about the new ‘this is not sportswear’ collection. This has excited me more than any before, which is always good.

VENTED ©

Nice! So you debuted this collection in Paris – what went down there?
It was amazing. I love Paris as a city, and I love the people, you know. I was excited to build an audience out there and it really held up. My highlight was meeting them all and being able to connect in person, interacting in real life. The engagement there was amazing – I chatted them through the collection, the ideas behind the graphics, and how it all comes together, and got a refreshing reaction. You could see it click.

For sure – context changes everything I find. You mentioned Nigo and BAPE as major inspirations, who or what else are you inspired by?
Style inspirations would be people like Pharrell and Ye – very obvious but they’re people I grew up idolising and they put me on to so many movements and brands. I also identify to some degree with the Grime scene. I’ve always had an interest in it – I used to screen print our tees because I’d met Jammer and he said that they used to press their own vinyls before there were record stores in East London. I think it’s people who inspire hustle – Jay-Z, Skepta and the movements they create.

So I’ve heard great things about the house / incense burner you made in collaboration with Maxi Millz – what’s this about?
Yeah, this is a cool piece. I designed this with my partner and in collaboration with Maxi. We were just sat there chatting in his house, and asked him to come up with one thing that he wanted to make. The house was it – there would be a houseparty, everyone would be swimming, chilling, then we thought the smoke could come out of the chimney. It was drafted years ago, but obviously the pandemic slowed things down, but it’s been in Selfridges and in Paris, and will launch in London soon.

VENTED ©

Finally, let’s talk about ‘this is not sportswear’.
So I work part time at Louis Vuitton, and have always been a fan of the brand – especially under Virgil. In his final collection, there’s an idea that went across some bags called ‘THIS IS NOT MONOGRAM’. It’s clearly the LV monogram, but it’s Dali-esque and warped. This resonated with me, and was an idea I wanted to bring into my own work.

It just clicked one day that it plays with the identity of the monogram – it’s hard for me to tell you what VENTED is, but I can tell you what it’s not, and do that in a tongue-and-cheek way. Sports icons have impacted how we dress now, and impacted our sportswear, but we may not even trace it back to them. It’s paying homage, but also being a different and modern take on different perceptions of identity. I remember thinking ‘I really need to run with this’ – playing with garments that were initially engineered for something, and analysing what they will actually be used for. You can see this a lot on the ‘flight suit’.

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