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October 17, 2017
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Andrea Crews S/S 2011, Paris Fashion Week. Photo courtesy Hélène Giansily.
A piece from Andrea Crews F/W 2012. 
Photograph courtesy of Andrea Crews.

For the fiercely experimental art/design/activist collective, Andrea Crews, clothing is not just a medium of style but also a purveyor of creative reinvention catalysed by ethical, social and economic choices. The Parisian-based group aims to explore the needs of an abused planet by using recycled or post-vintage clothing as a medium for message-filled collections. Discarded clothing provides an opportunity for creative transformation, and with a little industrious reappropriation, the group recognises that every piece has the potential to be an exclusive apparel item. 

In experimenting with clothing, the collective also plays with the meaning and function of pieces, turning purses into hats, for example. Each season, the group brings together stylists, illustrators, musicians, video directors and performers, to present its collections in live performance-fashion shows and create unique collection videos.

To learn more about the Andrea Crews collective, their ambitions, collections and collaborative inspirations, I spoke with Raymond Cole, Andrea Crews' press officer.

Silvia Brambilla: Why the name Andrea Crews?

Raymond Cole: We chose the name because of the simple fact that "Andrea" is a male and female name - so there is a mask to hide the face of the brand. "Crews" refers to the different crews of people involved in the collective.

SB: How would you describe the philosophy and creative process of Andrea Crews? 

RC: Andrea Crews emphasises personal creativity, experimentation and independence in creating clothes and accessories that are unique and flexible. 

Our creative process is based on sort of a mixing game. The first experimental phase consists in reinterpreting second-hand clothes (classics of other brands), by using back-stock and by cutting. Every piece is individually handled according to its initial function and potential. Prototypes are then selected according to a theme to create a simple and unusual collection every season.

Andrea Crews emphasises personal creativity, experimentation and independence in creating clothes and accessories that are unique and flexible.

Andrea Crews also prints basics in association with artists (sweatshirts/t-shirts) which are edited in limited series: screen-printings, drawings, flockings in hallucinating colours and materials.

SB: This year, Andrea Crews is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the release of the book, I AM ANDREA CREWS. Tell me about this project and how readers can get involved.

RC: I AM ANDREA CREWS is a retrospective photography book compiling 10 years of projects, collaborations and collections of fashion art activism by Andrea Crews! The book represents our passions, actions and values. One thousand copies will initially be published by [the] publisher, B42, and sold at Paris concept store, Colette

Readers are invited to help us create the book by financing it through the KISSKISSBANKBANK website. 

SB: The Andrea Crews platform seems very collaborative, encourageing a strong creative community by combining artists with the general public - even children and teenagers. It also has a very strong eco-concept, how would you describe these aspects of your brand? 

RC: Andrea Crews interfaces with public spaces, art centres, galleries and invites artists from different backgrounds to join our creative platform. The only "entry requirement" is to stem from the same pop, experimental and playful universe. 

Andrea Crews experiments with
second-hand clothes to create
unique new pieces.
Courtesy of Andrea Crews.

Andrea Crews values creative energy. Our workshop is a platform where art and fashion are intertwined. The garment is a medium, the clothes we re-interpret are an inexhaustible source for inspiration. Between naive art and underground counterculture, the crew directs "flash videos," ten-hands wall-drawings, living sculptures, unexpected decors, festive performances and incredible parties.

Andrea Crews believes in a sustainable development economy. Designers, technicians and trainees work together on a common project and are able to use their particular skills to express their individual talents. Andrea Crews' dynamic is a source of cultural, technical and human interactions. Our ethical and innovative concept is based on an auto-production system, allowing us to initiate independent projects. 

SB: The Andrea Crews website features an enigmatic statement: "Everybody is Andrea Crews." What does this mean?

RC: Andrea Crews is more than a brand; it's a movement in the art and fashion industries that everybody can join and be a part of. In our philosophy, the creativity behind all our activities is an active space of freedom.

SB: Andrea Crews collections will no doubt appeal to an international audience. Where is it possible to find your items?

RC: You can buy Andrea Crews on our website.

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