Fashion designer Fred Butler is known for her colourful, creative aesthetic. Her sculptural work often and easily crosses the boundaries between art, fashion and design. Working with photographers and stylists to create bespoke pieces as well as producing her own collections, Fred’s clients range from Nicki Minaj to Nike, Lady Gaga to Vauxhall and everything in between.
Now her inimitable work is on display in a special exhibition curated by Ryan Lanji at KK Outlet in Hoxton. Fred invites you to enter a ‘futuristic temple where she will unveil abstract shrines inspired by a utopian future’.
Tomorrow is the last day that you can experience this entirely unique exhibition so make sure you get down there fast! In the meantime, read out interview with Fred to find out more…
HOW DID THE PROJECT COME ABOUT AND WHY DID YOU WANT TO SHOW YOUR WORK IN THIS FORMAT?
KK Outlet contacted me to ask if I would like a solo show. I love to try out different platforms for sharing my work so an opportunity to have an exhibition was a dream come true! The work I make is a very intuitive process and I’m never really sure how its going to turn out and in a lot of cases I guess it could be classified as an object of art as much as accessory design. In this way I could display my archive for people to spend time looking at my labour-intensively constructed pieces which hasn’t happened previously with live fashion presentations.
WE’VE HEARD THAT IT TAKES THE FORM OF A FUTURISTIC TEMPLE… WHAT INSPIRED THE EXHIBITION?
I have a theory that if we all individually take responsibility for our actions it could potentially make the world a better place! If we inspire others via one to one contact and experience, it might just cause a ripple effect and open everyone up to being more positive and proactive for peace. I wanted to convey this message with an imaginary future planet where this has happened and I chose a few of my friends who have these qualities to celebrate as prophets of this movement. The exhibition is constructed in shrines to these personalities which kind of turn the gallery into a temple environment so you can absorb the uplifting vibes and leave feeling empowered and energised from all the colour!!
WHAT PIECES ARE YOU SHOWING? ARE THERE ANY THAT ARE PARTICULARLY SPECIAL TO YOU?
The work on display is a kind of retrospective and its been a fun journey working with the curator Ryan Lanji cataloging everything I have made because I forget so much!!! Its all stuffed away in boxes in my attic or given away to friends. I think one my favourite pieces is a silver iridescent helmet that I made for my friend ROWDY_SS who has lent it back for the show. Its lush to think that pieces are treasured and cherished in little pockets of people’s homes as artefacts like this.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT WHEN THEY VISIT? ARE THERE ANY ELEMENTS OF INTERACTIVITY?
Firstly there is a soundtrack in the space which Todd Hart mixed specifically for the show to set the tone of the spiritual experience with cosmic Afro Beat and contemporary world sounds. Secondly, the shrines have frames as the main focal point which were a collaboration with “Install Archive” which they named “Portable Altars” . The four constructions are totally unique, tailored to the myth I devised for each character but all have doors designed to move. In an ideal scenario we would have loved visitors to play with the pulley’s, ropes and hinges but once I dressed the contraptions with my shnickle shnackle they became more of a spectacle than a piece of functioning design.
WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE HAVE YOU HAD SO FAR?
“…full of joy, love, positivity, and light…just what I needed” (Instagram testimonial from photographer Tara Darby)
WE’VE HEARD THE YOU’RE SHOWING ARTWORK AS WELL AS PIECES FROM PREVIOUS COLLECTIONS – DO YOU FEEL LIKE ART AND FASHION ARE SIMILAR IN MANY WAYS?
I’m never really sure what art is to be honest. If you make something to resonate with someone else, in whatever format, surely that’s art? Therefore if you happen to be able to wear it than it must fall into that category?! Its all taste at the end of the day, and that’s highly subjective.
I absolutely love fashion photography / imagery so it was integral for me to include this as new work in the narrative. I approached artist duo Walter Hugo and Zoniel, as their portraits capture true characters and a moment in time that will become important works. To celebrate my specially selected “prophets” this would be the perfect paring and luckily they said yes! These black’n’white pin-hole camera photographs were hand-tinted and gilded to highlight my accessories which turned out to be a lush vehicle to document the fabrication. The way Zoniel interpreted and painted the iridescent plastic was so tactile and beautiful! Perfect!
IS YOUR PROCESS OF CREATION THE SAME WHETHER YOU ARE CREATING ART OR FASHION PIECES?
I don’t really distinguish the two apart from its usage. For this I knew that it didn’t have to fit a body which was a relief as I was free to make any form. However I do enjoy the challenge of tailoring a construction around the human frame so I’m happy either way. The satisfaction of extracting ideas from my head into a 3D outcome is always the objective.
WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT COMING UP IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS?
It’s all classified info at the moment but one project has arisen from my hobby of running and the other from my favourite day of the year – Carnival. So safe to say, I’m very excited, chuffed and can’t wait to unveil whats being plotted!
‘Travelling Mac Fred On A Q-Tip For A Tribe Called Guess’ is open until Wednesday so head down tomorrow!
Find out more about the exhibition on the KK Outlet website.