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from the archives: Remembering joe bates with a past interview from sister by sibling’s ss14 collection

Back in 2008 a trio of fashion designers formed. A triple threat that would forever change knitwear as we know it. Ferocious creativity, fused with fearless risk taking and a lengthy portfolio divided among them; Sibling was born.

Made up of designers Sid Bryan, Joe Bates and Cozette McCreery, Sibling and Sister by Sibling quickly shot to fashion superstardom. Winning numerous prestigious awards and respect within the industry. Their rare combined ingenuity, playfulness and unprecedented talent cemented Sibling as a cult label with a  lengthy celebrity following and a highly devoted fanbase. 

Collections in the past have included everything from knitted biker jackets, sequinned leopard print, Swarovski studs, their iconic balaclavas, giant pom pom headdresses, and in there latest SS16 men’s collection; even some sneaky bare bums!

But most of all, despite their daring aesthetic, accolades and tremendous success, all three of them have remained absolutely lovely, witty and down to earth.

So it was with great sadness this week to find out joint creative director Joe Bates passed away, following a long battle with cancer. Member’s of the fashion industry and Sibling fans far and wide have paid tributes and continue to express their condolences across the press, and on social media.

Whilst the loss of Joe Bates is incredible and much too soon, his legacy within the trio and the label will no doubt greatly continue to live on. x

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At the beginning of last year I was lucky to steal a few minutes with a very very busy Cozette to chat past collections, smiling on the catwalk, and the pressure’s of bringing a new member into the Sibling family!

You guy’s must be one of the hardest working brands in the business! How do you manage?! Do you ever find that one “Sibling” is taking up more of your time and attention?

COZETTE MCCREERY: No they both take up all our time! It’s just how it is when it’s your own ‘baby’.

What is it like being Mummy and Daddies to two of the biggest labels in the industry?! 

They work in tangent, you can’t switch off from one and ignore the other as it just doesn’t work out that way. Everything especially for AW, seasons overlaps, etc. Sometimes we’ll be sampling women’s and selling men’s while designing men’s again for instance. There are 3 of us though, so really it’s quite a big team compared to other new-ish design houses. Frankly you just have to get systems in place and prioritise. At the moment I should actually be sorting women’s SS14 deliveries!

Does your inspiration for each collection ever cross over between Sibling and Sister by Sibling?

Oh yes. The mood board starts for one and kicks off the other. For both selling and press it makes sense, especially now stores are buying into both collections. It really helps to have some kind of continuity even if it’s only colour pallet. Shapes are totally different though or at least will be until we decide to launch women’s pre collections, then the references need to match the men’s themes slightly better in order to work.

A ticket to Sibling and Sister by Sibling is one of the most sought after tickets during LFW and LC:M. Recently you’ve brightened things up by swapping out the typically moody models for big smiles. What inspired you to change it up from what we usually see at the majority of  other shows?

In all honesty it came from looking at the general press coverage for LCM. Every single journalist would comment that models were looking glum because, well you would looked pissed off if you were wearing THAT wouldn’t you?!  By general I mean every LCM designer not just us! It’s hard for boys I think because of Zoolander, but Blue Steel is funny…. until it’s applied to your catwalk.

Anyway I thought, what if the guys looked relaxed and comfortable? What if we asked them if they’d like to smile? We chatted with our stylist Matthew Josephs about it backstage and he too felt that our moods are always happy and joyful so why not. Praise should be given to the guys though all of whom were BEAMING even the ones wearing knits made of plastic Scoobies (admittedly these models were slightly older and had worked with us before so got totally behind the idea). God love male models!

And it was so successful (it came across as being quite rebellious even) that we did the same with the girls: we wanted it to be fun. Having fun shows a huge amount of confidence and is very attractive off the catwalk so why not have it on? Matthew asked some of the girls to fan themselves with their clutches. So camp, but it worked brilliantly!

You, Sid and Joe have designed so many unbelievably iconic pieces? Do you have favourite?

Oh gosh that’s like being asked to pick a favourite child! There are so many pieces I think it’s more down to looks. For our recent men’s collection we worked with an incredible Italian factory on a knitted blazer. The denim cagoule over grey leopard is a favourite, the crochet jacket belted over the navy knit stitch is very subtle for us. All 23 looks make us proud.

Both labels Sibling and Sister by Sibling have a pretty strong fanbase. Your obviously adored in London but as you have been travelling around showing the collections, where have you felt your biggest Sibling supporters come have been?

Japan has always been our strongest fanbase, and we actually get stopped in stores there! That’s quite something, but the USA is rapidly catching up! No doubt due to a really strong menswear press presence there and the fact that Pharrell has been snapped wearing SIBLING.

What first pushed you to create a Sister by Sibling?

The timing just seemed right, and we thought why not?!

Do you feel like your male clients are more daring than your female clients or vice versa?

SIBLING is colourful and sparkles so it’s natural to think that perhaps he would be more daring, but then you see a skater in Tokyo wearing a cardigan from our Social Zombie collection with his jeans and Vans and it looks so effortless. Then that doesn’t seem daring at all – if that makes sense?

You were featured on the cover of 10 Magazine in Sibling’s very iconic ‘Pandas Rock Balaclava’ What was it like being covergirl for the day?

Hysterical! I know the photographer Sean Thomas so we had fun with it. I’m both Panda and Knit Monster in the magazine. I never THOUGHT that 10 would put it on the cover, but they did say that once they saw the images it was a no brainer! I think they were pretty amazing to have gone with it; boy did it stand out on the newsstand. Clever!

Lastly any hints on what we can expect from Sister by Sibling this coming fashion week?

Merino wool and merino wool and yet more merino wool. The look we offered at the European Final gives a good hint. Other than that we keep schtum. We like surprises!

www.siblinglondon.com

 

Words by Tracy Kawalik and Cozette McCreery

Photos by Tracy Kawalik, British Fashion Council, Catwalking.Com, SHOWstudio

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