Last week, we had the chance to sit down and chat with Bryan Ekassi, the founder behind the London-based brand, Fashion Criminal. We also had the opportunity to shoot this exclusive editorial with some of their most iconic pieces on Brooklyn-based musician, Johnny Buffalo.
Clothing – Fashion Criminal
Model – Johnny Buffalo
Interview/Photographer – Rachel Lynch / Nakid Fashion Editor
How did your brand start? Did something specific inspire you?
“The idea for the brand emerged back in 2014 just as a business opportunity and a way to earn some money on the side. It didn’t take off until October 2015 when it was actually launched over the webstore. Just to note, the brand is based on capsule collections, which are released consecutively every year keeping things diverse both for us and our clients. So our first release was a range of t-shirts with celebrity artworks, which we did in collaboration with one Italian artist. Following the release we decided to rethink the brand idea, its positioning, what message we want to deliver and we took a direction of bold slogans with a bold meaning. That’s when the rebirth of Fashion Criminal happened and we released the capsule entitled “Synthesis of Happiness” in June 2016, which included a very well recognised MDMA piece.”
How did you decide what kind of garments you wanted to make?
“It’s really simple. When you start off its much safer and easier to go with a specific product like sunglasses or a bag or a t-shirt. Of course unless you have a bigger funding then you can diverge. But for us it was a common choice of every small clothing brand – garments that are fast moving and easy to sell, which could be any common top wear piece like t-shirt, hoodie, sweatshirt…”
Is your clothing for men / women or both? Where do you stand as far as gender in fashion goes?
“This is actually very important for us. We believe in unigender experience so all our clothing is for both men and women. We actually work very hard to achieve unisex fits and to be able to satisfy both sexes. Gender gap in clothing has really decreased in the last few year and we hope it continues like that.”
Who is your ideal consumer?
“We don’t want to limit our consumers to a specific group or a subculture. It’s really for everyone. We have customers from all over the world – Japanese hypebeasts, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, French artists and etc so its for everyone who feels what we are doing and want to be part of it. Only thing I can say is that we are building a lifestyle experience and everyone is welcome to join in.”
What was growing up for you like? Did you go to art school? Where did you learn to design clothing?
“I’m from Paris but lived all over the western world while my business partner was born in Ukraine but moved to the UK at the age of 15. You know when you’re a kid everything is easier, you dream more and then grown life strikes and messes everything up (laughs). My business partner Brayan who designs for the brand didn’t go to art school but was always passionate about art and how to make things look good. So he learned everything himself from Photoshop/Illustrator to basic clothing design.”
Does your personal life inspire your brand?
“Of course, you can’t fake it! The brand goes along with it. That’s where you take all the inspiration from. I feel like the best stories are the ones that really happened.”
What’s next for MDMA?
“We are currently releasing our basic collection in April with a range of colourful sweatsuits, after that we got MDMA t’s coming and we got something special coming this summer. I can’t disclose what it is but it’s going to be a new capsule with wider selection of ready-to-wear pieces.”