Taken from Issue Four of Sister, The Swag Issue. EIC of Polyester Zine Ione Gamble sits down with original London street wear pioneer, creator of the Cassette Playa label, Carri Munden.
First emerging in the mid noughties alongside the nu-rave movement, Carri’s hyper colourful brand fused playful post internet graphics with classic sportswear shapes, giving birth to it’s own aesthetic movement. Rejecting super shiny catwalk presentations in favour of championing her friends and the clothes they wore on a day-to-day basis, Carri became one of the first designers to peddle street wear shapes in a high fashion context, “clothes and style to me is communication. Street wear has always interested me more than high fashion because it is more accessible”, Carri explains. Working with bands such as Klaxons and Late of the Pier, as well acting as contributing fashion editor for nu-rave style bible Super Super, her label grew alongside the rise of her peer group as important cultural icons of the time.
Presenting four times at Topman’s sponsorship initiative MAN during London Fashion week, as well bagging herself best menswear designer nominations and Nike collaborations, Carri - perhaps surprisingly - views the label as a unisex endeavour. “I’m inspired by how girls wear sportswear and men’s street wear. I think it’s something UK and European girls do especially well”, interested in the rejecting of stereotypes that arises through ignoring gendered clothing years before Selfridges co-opted the term ‘agender’, Carri finds the idea of gender free fashion a dull topic. “Subversion is more interesting than uniform styles, gender and identity is something to be played with”, Carri continues, “I find it more interesting and also more sexy when a girl wears menswear, or a man wears a colour that’s traditionally more feminine.”
Working as a female designer creating unisex garments, Carri is only too aware of the gender gap and inequality at play amongst her various sources of inspiration, one of the most prominent for her personally being the skating community. “I don't skate as I’m way too dyspraxic, but I have always been interested in skate culture. Eighties and nineties deck graphics heavily influence my work”, however the more Carri invested herself within the scene the more she noticed its issues towards women, “I remember when I went to the premiere for the Supreme film 'Cherry' I couldn't believe that the only girls that feature in the film were flashing their boobs. I don't believe that there are no female skaters out there, but maybe they are not getting the same- or right kind of- exposure”.
Flash forward and Carri is still peddling the same ethos however has removed herself from the London Fashion Week schedule, instead deciding to produce mini collections every so often alongside collaborative work with Skepta. amongst other musicians. “I like designers and brands that create their own world or subculture - know themselves, what they stand for and what they believe in”, citing emerging designers such as Hood By Air and Meadham Kirchhoff as well as skate giant Palace as her modern day clothing inspiration, one common thread tying them all together is the sense of individuality and strong social-political motivations.
Wanting to reconnect with the real world despite her affinity for all things digital, the line of t-shirts and casual pieces featuring psychedelic florals and tie dye prints symbolise, “a form of future hieroglyphics I create when producing graphics. You can communicate across language and culture barriers with emojis, memes, images and video.” Despite the endless possibilities opened up by new methods of communication, Carri finds the experience dehumanising to a certain extent, “as much as I’m interested in virtual spaces and fantasy, I also believe that nothing should ever replace real human interaction and physicality - humans needs to dance, fight, hug + fuck t o g e t h e r”. Contrary this worry, her label, styling, and consultation work all remain built on the support of her friends and professional collaboration. So, being so well hooked up, what’s her word on the street? “Can I give an emoji instead? Right now I’m all about the Narutomaki swirly pink and white fish sushi emoji. Spiral, trippy, wheel of life, future psych..” Despite her love for all things i0S, Carri seems anything but disconnected from the IRL world.
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