Images courtesy of (b).stroy

(b).stroy wants to destroy (to make things even better)

Following the release of their hyped concrete-dipped Nike trainers, the Atlanta duo spill their fashion fill.

Co-founders Brick and Dieter

For (b).stroy, it’s all about the future. Inspired by design­ers like Rick Owens and Raf Simons, their for­ward-think­ing col­lec­tions are cre­at­ed for the post-apoc­a­lypse gen­er­a­tion – or neo-natives” as they’ve so right­ly coined them. 

But what does one wear to the dystopi­an after-par­ty? The world has been destroyed and resources are sparse – you’ve got to recy­cle, reuse and make do with what you got. Cue the (b).stroy’s onslaught of intrigu­ing recon­struct­ed gar­ments, raw mate­ri­als and out-there silhouettes.

The brain­child of Brick Owens and Dieter Grams, the two start­ed the label back in 2012 before the mass influx of streetwear in lux­u­ry fash­ion – mak­ing good on their future-pre­dict­ing design approach. Now with streetwear hav­ing firm­ly found its place in the main­stream, (b).stroy is an organ­ic voice with­in the com­mu­ni­ty. Just look at their last New York pop-up, that saw indus­try big dogs Heron Pre­ston, Aleali May and Matthew Hen­son all pop their heads in. 

And who can blame them? Despite only being 21-years-old at the time, their first col­lec­tion made nation­al news after they held a ful­ly-fledged fash­ion show in a sub­way sta­tion. They sent mod­els dressed in decon­struct­ed garms up and down Atlanta’s Lind­bergh Mar­ta Sta­tion in the mid­dle of the day com­plete­ly unin­ter­rupt­ed. An elab­o­rate ruse to call out the under-devel­oped tran­sit net­work, which they attribute to the Repub­li­can state’s desire to keep black peo­ple in the inner city. 

Oth­er cat­walks have been just as con­cep­tu­al, too. Their Art­ful Silent SS19 show saw half the onlook­ers receive head­phones to lis­ten to music whilst the oth­ers sat in bleak silence – a state­ment about elit­ism and exclu­siv­i­ty” accord­ing to the pair.

For their lat­est pop-up, the duo head­ed back to their home­town and teamed up with inter­ac­tive vin­tage retail­er” No Sig­nal. The first of its kind, the lifestyle store hopes to cre­ate a space for young cre­atives to express them­selves – some­thing the design­ers also feel is extreme­ly impor­tant for the city’s youth. How­ev­er, there was one item that had locals flock­ing to the two-day event: the atten­tion-steal­ing con­crete-dipped Nike shoes.

Aside from being a mas­sive­ly impres­sive design feat, the sneak­ers share a deep­er mean­ing – a mes­sage that cen­tres around sol­i­dar­i­ty. Read on to learn more…

How did the two of you meet?

Dieter Grams: We met in Atlanta. We grew up in the same city but on the oppo­site sides. Typ­i­cal­ly we’re not sup­posed to get along cos our city is East ver­sus West. We were pushed togeth­er because we were just weird in a sim­i­lar way. We would meet each oth­er halfway, just to get away from the peo­ple who didn’t get us in our home town and plot on how to make some­thing of ourselves. 

Brick Owens: And world domination. 

How did (b).stroy come about? 

D: We want­ed an out­let for our­selves and for our friends. Oth­er peo­ple who were cre­ative in a sim­i­lar way. We were con­sid­ered weird and now it’s main­stream to be into fash­ion and to not be gay. But at that time it was like, you like clothes – you’re gay. We don’t fit into the box­es that were made for us so we want­ed to make a plat­form for peo­ple like us who also don’t fit. 

B: We fig­ured that if we were to put on shows and to make clothes, there’s enough room for us to express our­selves and prove our abil­i­ty to express our creativity.

What does (b).stroy stand for?

Listen now: What does (b).stroy stand for?

The per­spec­tive that we speak from is neo-native, it’s some­thing that we cre­at­ed but it’s inspired by brands like Rick Owen that are post-apoc­a­lyp­tic, but our per­spec­tive is after that. After every­thing has been destroyed, you have this emer­gence of the survivors.That’s why it’s futur­ist, because it’s after what we cur­rent­ly have knowl­edge of.”

So you kind of pre­dict­ed the main­stream appeal of streetwear in lux­u­ry fashion?

D: Fash­ion as a sport has become real­ly pop­u­lar, so we’ve kind of annoyed at every­one cos they’re just find­ing it. We’ve been here, so it’s kind of like our world of it being an obscure thing has been destroyed. Now that every­one is here, it’s a new world that we have to live in with every­one, which is fine but we just want our place in. 

What informs your design approach? 

We always approach design from the seem­ing­ly impos­si­ble direc­tion so we can test our abil­i­ties. We like to try things that seem impos­si­ble at first, and then take as long as it needs to take to develop. ”

Tell us about your recent pop-up in Atlanta. 

Listen now: (b).stroy x No Signal pop-up

And what about the con­crete-dipped Nike train­ers that you were showcasing? 

D: As it’s art, we obvi­ous­ly want peo­ple to give their own mean­ing but for us, it’s about sol­i­dar­i­ty. There’s noth­ing more sol­id than con­crete. We’re always think­ing about the impos­si­ble. We want to look at the most dif­fi­cult thing to bring to life, cos then we know there are going to be less peo­ple there. That’s kind of how we assure our­selves that we’re doing some­thing new and excit­ing – some­thing that hasn’t been done before, that seems almost impos­si­ble. Con­crete shoes seem like an impos­si­ble thing to do. When Brick first said con­crete, I said it was per­fect because if we were able to pull it off, that would be what was impres­sive about it. 

B: It’s also because of prob­lem-solv­ing abil­i­ties. Design is about today’s prob­lem-solv­ing. So con­crete shoes is a state­ment about sol­i­dar­i­ty and hav­ing your feet on sol­id ground from an aes­thet­ic point of view. And also about con­struc­tion – about destroy­ing and creating. 

What’s the cre­ative scene in Atlanta like?

B: It’s inter­est­ing. There’s a lot of cre­ativ­i­ty com­ing out of Atlanta but as far as mak­ing clothes and build­ing a sus­tain­able busi­ness of mak­ing clothes, Atlanta is a lit­tle tricky because it’s not a place with great resources in as far as mak­ing clothes like New York or LA

If you’re from a state below Vir­ginia 100-years-ago, 120-years-ago, there were slaves. There’s just been so many things that were more impor­tant than art, more impor­tant than fash­ion going on here. So if you want to do art, or if you want to be tak­en seri­ous­ly in fash­ion, unfor­tu­nate­ly you have to move to New York, Paris, or a city that’s already known for that thing. Or you have to spend your life build­ing an infra­struc­ture but you may nev­er see the ben­e­fits of your work.”

So what’s next for (b).stroy?

D: We have anoth­er pop-up in LA at the end of August. Then we have anoth­er show in New York in Sep­tem­ber. We’re work­ing on new sil­hou­ettes, new cuts for den­im and T-shirts – just things that put us more in a sig­na­ture space so peo­ple can recog­nise us a lot more eas­i­ly mov­ing for­ward. Obvi­ous­ly, we have some crazy things like the dou­ble-edge jeans, but we’re going to be mak­ing more sub­tle things that are as equal­ly recog­nis­able just through the small details.


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