INTERVIEW WITH... C.LIT & TAKE OFF YOUR CLOTHES

If you're looking for your fix on fresh and chic designers, look no further. These two Brooklyn-based gentlemen have got a grip on the market for creative and wearable pieces with a minimalistic coyness. I recently met up with Craig Hunter and Ben Reingold of Cubist Literature and Take Off Your Clothes for a lovely show around their studio and a good talk about style and their current and upcoming lines.
 Please enjoy a piece of the convo:

EÀLM: What gave you the push and inspiration to go into fashion? With Cubist Literature as well as your collaboration with Take Off Your Clothes?
Craig: I used to hate fashion. I thought it was unnecessary and shallow. Which it can be. But over time (thanks to Ben) I began to appreciate the designers who presented things I'd never seen before. I'm especially drawn to avant-garde and conceptual designers, like Martin Margiela and Comme des Garcons and Sandra Backlund. These designers show things I'd never seen before, so I love that. There was nothing in particular that made me want to go into fashion. I think it's just a matter of my surroundings. Things happened naturally. This is also the case with Cubist Literature. I started it in college. I was tired of academic life: writing papers, studying, preparing for office jobs... Those things stopped being interesting to me. I'd always had creative inclinations, so I was interested to see what I could make with my own two hands. 
My collaboration with Take Off Your Clothes just made sense. Ben and I are always bouncing ideas off one another, and we're pretty much inspired by and interested in the same things. We get along beautifully, too, so I thought it just made sense.
Ben: I wanted to make clothing for myself that was not available. I was interested in experimental fashion and sewing, so I tried to try new ideas with affordable and available secondhand materials. Take Off Your Clothes developed from the interest in affordable avant-garde clothing.
EÀLM: The textiles you are using as you get into the planning of your collection for next year are amazing. What were you looking for in your selections?
Ben: I enjoy comfortable, functional, approachable textiles. I like t-shirt cotton jersey because it can be reworked in new ways while retaining its everyday ease. Spandex blends are nice to work with because they flex with the wearer. The new collection uses new high-tech nylon-spandex meshes and neoprenes that can be sculpted around the body, yet are able to comfortably stretch and breathe.
Craig: Mesh and sheer fabrics. Jersey, of course. Things that are wearable, but still remind us of our inspiration.
EÀLM: I definitely am digging the feel of the creepy hospital influence on the current collection, is there a story that was maybe running through the back of your mind during its creation?
Craig: Ben can answer this because he came up with the concept. I liked it, so I was along for the ride.
Ben:  I love horror and fantasy films and the Italian horror movie "The Beyond" was the starting point for Spring-Summer 2011. The movie is about a Louisiana hotel that is cursed as a gateway to the seven doors of hell. When the curse re-awakens, the doorways act as pathways between time and space that transport inhabitants between the hotel, a hospital that used to exist on the same site, and purgatory. The SS11 collection presents a woman who is held in a mental hospital to test whether she is really seeing into a parallel, fantasy  dimension--one where hospital bedsheets are floating capes, the staff are wearing sheer and fetishistic medical uniforms, and the ink blot test is surfacing on clothing.
EÀLM: I love how varied the options are in styling each garment from the collection, and the pieces are so multifunctional! What are your favorite suggested ways to pair and wear the pieces together?
Ben: I love separates and Take Off Your Clothes hopes to inspire new ways to layer and style your wardrobe. In SS11 I like to pair a fitted base layer with an oversize or sheer outer layer--hook and eye leggings with a ink-blot bandeau, wrapped in the gathered bedsheet cape or illusion mesh cardigan. Or you can use blue sheer illusion mesh leggings with the oversize pillowcase tunic. We hope to open up the ways people see and wear everyday garments and styles, and we're always excited to see customer interpretations of TOYC :)
Craig: Wear the illusion cardigan with the surgical skirt. And experiment with the hook and eye closures on the surgical
tank and leggings! It's always very sexy to show a little bit of skin, but still leave things up to the imagination.



Wanna see more? 
See studio pics from our visit at Eclectic à la Mode on Facebook

Take Off Your Clothes and Cubist Literature can be found at takeoff-yourclothes.com and cubistliterature.com , and on Etsy at etsy.com/shop/takeoffyourclothes and etsy.com/shop/cubistliterature


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