It-boy/model/musician Bradley Soileau has made a name for himself in the industry with his punk attitude, and elaborately tattooed body. The former skater from New Orleans was scouted by a modeling agent on the street in NY’s East Village a few years ago, and since then Soileau has modeled for Public School, Alexandre Plokhov and Rochambeau, and has been most famously featured as Lana Del Rey’s boyfriend in several of her videos.
While being immersed in the fashion industry as a model, Soileau maintains interests in film, music, art, and design, and merges all of his creative pursuits into Blackfist -- the label Soileau launched last summer offering one-of-a-kind, handmade garments complemented by a series of DIY ‘zines, limited edition cassette mixtapes, and a short film, all created by Soileau with a little help from some of his many talented friends.
For SS16, Soileau brings Hurts So Good-- his second collection -- to Capsule Paris, New York and Vegas as part of the New America section. He will also be showing an art piece he had made for SS16 by artist Sarah Sitkin at Capsule Paris and NYC.
The brand will debut at NYFW:Men’s as part of the Capsule show presentation on July 16.
We spoke to Soileau about the new collection.
What are you bringing to Capsule?
I'm showing VOLUME 2 of the blackfist story at capsule. This collection is my take on the 80's thrash skate scene but with a twist, kind of a toxic avenger mutant vibe. I was a huge fan of the Toxic Avenger and Troma films in general so I wanted to kind of incorporate that into the collection. My brand is unique and special because it's my brand and it's me. I literally put my heart and soul into this. Everything is made up out of my mind. And it's coming from a real place.
Tell us about the brand:
I grew up on rock n roll and punk and hardcore. I lived that life actually so my references are coming from places I actually know and have seen in real life. A lot of people try and do a punk aesthetic or a rock aesthetic and it's kind of trash because it's not coming from an organic place. You can see that everything I do comes from a tea organic place and that's what will make blackfist stand out. Not to mention it's very art based, clothes are great but it used to be treated like and art and still is by a lot of designers, but I feel the art in fashion is lacking and I want to make art the forefront of my brand.
What inspires you?
My designs are inspired by music, feelings and current life situations. Also inspired by things I grew up with as a child, movies, comics, books, etc. I'm a very emotional person so a lot of the clothes I make come from my feelings. Straps, things that are droopy or hang, because I am kind of a depressed person naturally so things like that speak to me.
Music is everything. The brand wouldn't exist without music, it's always about music. Each volume is gonna be my take on different cultures and subcultures and genres of rock. So music is key. Each collection will have a soundtrack. I want the buyer to be fully immersed in the world of blackfist. Not just clothes, to me that's not enough. And what's more is the way I'm going about each volume, instead of season or collection, I am doing volumes and that was inspired by fat wreck chords punk-o-rama mix tapes
What is a key item for SS16?
A key item for SS16 are these crazy ass panel pants I made. They are comprised of multiple panels to make a pant and I think it's a piece I want to make a staple to my brand. Also I made an asymmetrical trench that is incredible. I do have a collab this collection -- I did a pair of denim with my friends who own the brand The End. They are based in Cali and good friends of mine and had a great fit that I really thought was perfect for this collection so we took the fit and modified it to my specifications. People are fickle about their denim so I thought it would be good to do denim with an established denim brand.
You’re making your Capsule debut. What do you hope to get out of being at the shows this season?
I'm hoping to network. Meet great stores, lock down the ones I want and meet press connects. Network, network, network. But I also wanna get way trashed and party cause you know there's always crazy ragers going on.
Who do you design for ?
I don't know who I'm designing for. Myself really, with a conscious mind for retail. I don't like things that you can't wear. I appreciate design and ability but I don't ever want to make something you cannot wear every single day.
I’m designing for a cool kid who likes to dress tight. Who wants to buy into something they can actually trust and believe in. Obviously punx but they can't afford this, so really just anyone who likes to dress. Each collection will be a different vibe, a different "hero" I had in mind during the design process. This collection the person I had in mind is a fictitious character. An 80's thrash punk turn mutant freak just trying to get by. Overall it's about me though. And as for menswear as a whole, I don't know. I don't follow fashion that closely. I don't want anything to taint my mind. It can happen subliminally and I’d rather not be influenced by anyone making clothes, but dudes are dressing up nowadays and that's fucking great. I wish dudes still weren't so safe. But I see menswear gaining a lot of steam and I'm glad to be involved.
Tell us about your background in the industry:
I got into fashion through modeling originally. So it's close to 5 years now that I've been involved. And the past 2 years of my life I've been learning a lot from friends. I worked really closely with 424 on Fairfax, without them and Guillermo I wouldn't be here now. That's where I learned a lot on the back end of things and they are just an incredible team of people and my family really pushed me. I also did some consulting for a few other brands and decided a lot of people play it too safe and don't have anything but clothes they ripped from another designer, and they have a great "aesthetic" but no actual meat and soul so I decided I needed to show the world how to really get shit pippin with fashion and art so I started blackfist. It's been a long road too. I had to deal with a lot of bullshit in the beginning. A lot of lies and shitty actions from shady production people. But I made it here and the next volume is really radical.