From receiving a DM from Creative Director Edison Chen last Summer, to collaborating and showing at CLOT’s PAST.PRESENT.FUTURE NYFW runway show earlier this year, Expert Horror is a collective to keep on your radar. Fashion and streetwear is no longer just in the hands of retail and luxury giants, but in those of people who dare to create and communicate what’s true to themselves. And Expert Horror is doing just that. Launching our much anticipated “Blood-Line” project with Expert Horror today, we got to chat to the team of many talents about how it all came about, and what’s coming up for the brand.
How did the collaboration with CLOT come about?
One day last Summer we were out in Manchester, England and we had a message from Edison on Instagram. It was after midnight and we were in a cab. The next morning we said, “Did we really see that message? Was that real?” We had to double take because we were a new project and we didn’t think it could be possible that we would have caught his eye at all. We checked again and there it was!
We knew CLOT and the amazing product they put out. Recently the awesome CLOT x Nike Air VaporMax was a standout shoe... We loved that shoe! We also knew Edison from his role in ‘Infernal Affairs’ as well as a few other movies. For us it was a really amazing link. After it sank in we replied back to him and offered to do something for CLOT and then took it from there. We sent a few designs back to him and his positivity was amazing.
What was the conceptual process behind the "Blood-Line" collaboration with CLOT?
It was important for us to go back to the CLOT team with something that stood out whether that was because it was different or impactful. Secondly it was just as important for us to make something that represented Expert Horror Style.
It could be seen as quite ‘bad taste’ to use a blood bag with the word CLOT, but blood and the colour red were two things we all imagined in our first ideas so in the end we couldn’t move away from this theme so it had to be in the design.
We also like to create new elements for our collaborations and have new art work for each so we wanted to make a font and an illustration that were unique for this one collaboration only. The ‘Blood Line’ font would have no relevance anywhere else so to us it was CLOT only and uniquely theirs.
As a team of collective artists, designers and illustrators, how important is collaboration and sharing different points of view or expertise?
Collaboration is essential for us and conversation and sharing ideas is essential. Of course if one person can take and improve something, once we all agree that this will ultimately benefit the project, that’s what we do. Similarly, if one artists work is strong enough to make a collection then likewise we all stand behind it and celebrate it- there’s no one rule other than working together is key and along the way from beginning to end, the process involves the collective.
Will we be seeing Expert Horror grow into other areas such as music and film?
It seems impossible to avoid music, film, photography, theatre, fine art, spoken word, fashion or any process if you’re interested in expression and if you have curiosity. We’re small but we want to make things that are true to our ideals. If a film project comes along or if a gallery wants to hang work we will get behind it.
Our friends BAADNEWS are involved in making music and performing - they are exciting and talented guys. We collaborated with them on a series of t-shirts last Summer which were very limited but really popular. We will work with them again- maybe this year as well as working on another music themed project called ‘The Last Recorded Sound’.
This will see mainly merchandise, t-shirts and clothing but if it suits the project we would consider somehow having a musical element to our output. There are no film makers in the EH collective yet but we are open to working with anyone creating interesting content who might want to work with us. We would never say no to a film project.
We want to expand genres too and we want to connect with activities wider than just performing arts. Something else we’re working on this year is a collaboration with London Based Cycle Project ‘Real Velo’. A few of the EH guys are huge into cycling and have ridden for years. They’re connected with Real Velo and wanted to make a project that placed EH graphics onto cycle clothing as well as bike culture inspired graphics onto t-shirts. This will start to come through in the early Summer.
How has being a collective in London affected your creative process or motivations?
London is a great city. We’re from all over the UK, USA and Asia and so influence come from all over the world from Indonesia to Liverpool but London is where we are based and it is where everything happens for us. There is a lot of art, music, food, fashion and inspiration here so there is often no better place to be. The world is in London and we love it but travel is essential and it is just as important to add context to your environment by seeing the world.
We come back to london because we love it but we love Tokyo, New York and Hong Kong too. Without understanding how other cities, towns or even whole countries operate saying you love London has no reverence or meaning. Similarly without seeing how creative people work in Marseille, France or in San Francisco USA it is impossible to understand the relevance of working in London at all.
Do you think there are similarities between Hong Kong and London in that sense?
Perhaps East meets West is a cliche now. Our histories allow us to map out our differences and talk about the time when we had distinctly 'different' cultures. Indeed, geographically there are still many differences between how we all live but these 'different cultures' are giving way to a new culture where we share many ideas and many practices that have evolved out hundreds of years of ongoing exchanges. This newer, modern, evolving culture is accelerating and the commonality between all destinations around the world and all people around the world is becoming more apparent.
We see so many people from Hong Kong, China, Korea and the wider Asian continent in Europe influencing our culture while learning from it too. Similarly there is cultural appropriation in China of what would be considered typically 'Western ideas". This is the exchange that has gone on for decades - accelerated more and more of late by developing factors.
Technology, easier movement of people, education and migration are such factors that aiding acceleration towards a more singular, shared world culture. Everything from gender ideals and morality to fashion and design are perceived on a global scale now. For this reason we see London and Hong Kong as sharing many cultural and very real similarities. There is creativity, invention, entrepreneurial endeavour and inspiration coming out of ever more places around the world from Japan to the Middle East nations. Hong Kong takes its place in the world as influencer alongside all others.
Where do you see street wear heading, especially after being a part of our "Street Couture" showcase at NYFW?
Street wear is undoubtedly now at the forefront of fashion. If Prada, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga have no problem embracing street culture it truly has become a staple of the fashion language from high to low.
Where do we see it heading? Well we began to make things because we wanted to make things for ourselves so maybe this is where things will go with more and more people choosing to make their own clothes- a step on or a progression from styling themselves and picking their own outfits. Perhaps streetwear will go back into the hands of the people who truly own it and their vision will be to steal it back! Maybe that is too much of a 'Hippie' attitude!
I’m not sure 'streetwear' really belongs to the brands - it belongs to the consumer and they decide what it is. Gucci Loafers, Supreme t-shirt... who knows what it is unless people on the street decide to wear it and give it meaning. The CLOT show in NYC was awesome because it showcased fashion on those who truly owned it, curated by those who chose it, for people who truly respected, understood and admired it. It was an extremely authentic presentation and we were extremely proud to be part of this incredible happening.