blondey mccoy on his latest collection for thames
We speak to the i-D cover star about Disney, punk and embroidery and present an exclusive first look at the new collection.
Why did you decide on Thames as the name for the brand?
Well I grew up skateboarding at South Bank, it's where I met all my friends, and one of two places that I draw huge inspiration from, the other place being the West End and central London in general. Other than an overall fascination with the Thames and what lies in it, the river itself is what divides and also connects the two places which mean most to me I guess... I always feel that strong short names stand out more amongst everything.
How has it developed since the first collection, except for being bigger?
Yeah the first collection was obviously smaller and all printed. Spring/summer 15 is definitely equally loud, there's a lot of embroidery which I've always loved. Working with Palace has opened up a whole new load of possibilities that I just wouldn't have been able to entertain before. For example, I wouldn't know how to go about getting full tracksuits embroidered, which are actually my favorite pieces in this line. So I think the quality of the clothes is noticeably better, and I hope they sort of speak for themselves in that sense.
There's quite an irreverent sense of humor in these pieces, what was you biggest inspirations for this line?
Yeah I guess that's just natural, Thames is a product of it's environment like everything else. It is born out of a subculture that stereotypically shows a blatant disregard for most things that seem to get taken seriously. As a brand, Thames is super influenced by punk culture, and everything that sort of seeps into it even now. I feel like that's paid respect to in even the littlest things, like the hand drawn scrawny artwork, centralized 90s-style logos, and sleeve print too... more obviously. I hope that while the brand has a huge integrity, it's true to its influences in cherishing the imperfections of it all, and being able to treat everything as a bit of a laugh.
Why did you decide on Metropolis and Disney to reference?
I did this t-shirt in the first line, which had stills from the 80's film Maniac laid out like a skateboard sequence on it, and the feedback was really interesting. I heard that the people buying the tee were of an older generation, like the generation that actually remember that film coming out! Up until then I'd assumed that the brand only really appealed to the young guns. So I definitely wanted to do something of that style again with this line, and Metropolis is such a killer movie. I love the sci-fi vibe and I love the idea that not just the 'cool kids' but also comic book nerds would be into it, haha.
Disney was such an easy one, I've always really aesthetically loved the hand drawn cartoons, especially the old ones that always seem to have really sinister undertones to them. The graphic is of Peter Pan and Mary Poppins having a punch up and the plan was for it to be just like the cartoons in that it's funny, and looks really good, but carries a strong message too. In this case they're obviously physically fighting over growing up, or losing that sense of carelessness and naivety that Thames, just like Peter Pan is so much about. Deep...
How much help have Lev and Palace been when designing your own line, or are you trying to do it yourself? What advice did he have?
In the beginning there was a bit of talk about how essentially, Thames could not look anything like Palace, for obvious reasons. I'll leave it up to all of you to interpret but as far as I can see, they're very different and that's because Lev and Gareth let me have total control of it creatively and just do my thing. Whilst the designing side of things is just me, it's always really good to be in the office and just around everybody because there's always something that wouldn't necessarily work for Palace but would for Thames, like patches for example, or just generally getting inspired by what everyone around you is playing around with in there. Thames to me is Palace's punk little brother. Palace is very influenced by hip hop and house music for example, whereas Thames is obviously more guitar based.
Whats your dream for thames?
Hmm, a big old flagship store in town where the Queen works the till please. Give it 5 years.
Text Felix Petty
Photography Alasdair McLellan
Styling Gabriel Pluckrose