Behind Kontroversial

 

Everyday Inspiration for Unique Pieces and Individual Style

Everybody sees the world differently - so why live by the rules that stop you being who you truly are? You have the right to break the mould.

Our gender neutral clothing features creative nods to hip-hop influencers, 90s fashion trends and street art - creating a collection of unique pieces designed for a lifestyle where no justification is necessary - just freedom of expression.

We’re a generation of individuals; fighters, activists and artists, all striving to create a better world. And this is what influences our designs the most.

Our Kontroversial Creative Director, Kate Friar is most inspired by everyday mediums that create unique and individual effects.

‘The Beauty of Bleach’

It takes colour to add colour. I love using bleach in my designs as it gives each piece a slightly different touch - it never falls in the same place and tones will always vary. Techniques like this keep a more hand-rendered look and feel; much like graffiti. While constantly pushing boundaries, it also keeps things loose and free.

‘Defected’

Some items feature a more ‘dripped’ effect, for example, many of the edges on our prints have ‘defects’, which I much prefer, as I never strive to have everything done/overdone. Nobody is perfect, and the Kontroversial collections always reflect this level of  authenticity.

‘Always Accessible’

All of our bleached products (such as the Charcoal Acid Sprayed Hood, and the Black and Orange Sprayed Rust Tee) are bleached using unique effects and methods - while using simple items you’ll find around the house. I feel this reflects the Kontroversial of breaking down barriers and keeping things real.

Our Charcoal Hood was actually created using a spray bottle that you use to spritz your houseplants! I loved the way it gave a slightly uncontrollable, chunky spray.

The Rust Tee, on the other hand, saw the use of a fake tan bottle, as this gave a more delicate, fine, misty effect. Prints on other Kontroversial items, such as the Black Hood, are achieved by hand (whilst wearing rubber gloves), which keeps things nice and individual.

Each item is then left to set, whereby a kaleidoscope of colours are in constant development, until the product is dry. As the bleach also bleeds off into the fabric slightly, each segment of pattern is completed gradually, allowing me some control over working out which areas need more attention.

‘Sustainability’

With sustainability in mind, bleaching actually works to benefit this. Our process only requires one rinse of water - unlike other methods, such as screen printing, which can take up to 50-60 litres of water per meter of fabric. I think this environmental awareness is something that our audience are keen to support, so it’s something that we try to consider in all elements of our design.

I have a very abstract art and experimental mentality when it comes to producing my fashion designs. I have always pushed myself into using different materials, methods and techniques - which I think is key to the Kontroversial philosophy. 

I also think it’s important to credit serendipitous moments in design. There’s no such thing as an accident, as these are the incidents when you’re most likely to discover something new. For example, one of the things I have ‘accidentally’ learned is that although sewing thread doesn’t change colour when bleached, it does create a nice contrasting stitching effect - especially if the fabric around it is bleached, giving the design more depth and a new element to the clothing.

‘Inspirational Design’

All of the Kontroversial inspiration comes from the streets, but from various aspects. I pay careful attention to the words and colours we see around us, and the different ways we can interpret them as individuals.

Cityscapes are full of endless possibilities, but there are definitely some key urban elements which feature across my designs more often than others.

I have so much respect for graffiti as a kind of visual communication. On one hand, it’s a great way to transform dull, urban landscapes into creative spaces, there’s also a communal aspect to it. In some cases, street art is actually viewed as the voice for the voiceless, and although it is sometimes frowned upon within society, there’s no denying its inherent connection to so many cultures; let alone our freedom of expression.

 

While the physical forms, spray-textures and colours are one of the most forthcoming elements within the Kontroversial collections, it is also this relentless and bold spirit which I most hope to put forward.

In terms of composition and silhouette, I sometimes look to the sky for new influences, as bold, modern structures within architecture are often extremely inspiring and refreshing. The same goes for the many textures found within buildings; from tough, exposed brick and solid, industrial concrete... to smooth, glassy reflections and strong metallic structures often found in scaffolding.

I play around with all these factors and combine them with the hues and colours of the city; the glaring intrusiveness of streetlights and the subtle mirroring of sunlight in windows. Even music forms part of my inspiration, as this can influence mood and ambition.

I have a very abstract art and experimental mentality when it comes to producing my fashion designs. I have always pushed myself into using different materials, methods and techniques - which I think is key to the Kontroversial philosophy.

I also think it’s important to credit serendipitous moments in design. There’s no such thing as an accident, as these are the incidents when you’re most likely to discover something new. 

Overall, I’d say that the Kontroversial collections are inspired by life - our state of constant development and our unwillingness to bend to the rules around us. If our individuality is what makes us strongest, I say we celebrate this. Kontroversial is streetwear for those who strive for better. We work to create change, and we allow everyone to be their most authentic selves. We want you to be whoever the hell you want to be. 

#F≠ckTheRules

 

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