By Joshua Langston
After attending Eco Fashion Week this last season we were left wanting even more, particularly from one of my favourites of the week: Stevie Crowne of =War Paint=. Viranlly and I were invited down to his modest studio in Vancouver’s West End for an afternoon of playing dress up and learning more about this emerging talent. If you know one thing about me, I just “HATE” having a rack of clothing pulled for me to play in…about as much as I hate shopping and champagne…. 😛
Stevie came down to let us up to his studio, dressed in a vest of his own design and skull shaped coffee cup with ACTUAL war paint on his face. Let’s just say this is the exact moment I fell more in love with Stevie and his authenticity. His studio space was modest, but as my eyes bounced around the room, the furnishings brought the whole =War Paint= concept to life for me. The walls were adorned with posters from movies like “Blow” and an eclectic range of musical artists including Rihanna, Nirvana, Bob Marley and The Stones.
There’s something to be said about sitting and talking to designers in their own studio space, so I took a moment to get into the Stevie Crowne mindset. Stevie fluttered around the room with his skull coffee mug in hand. Not even 5 minutes into our visit he was already doing a costume change, the first of many we would see this afternoon.
His beginnings with =War Paint= came from his own struggles finding clothing that expressed his personal style. In the last few years we have seen a major upswing in DIY culture. Something for Stevie just clicked; before he knew it he was unable to stop customizing clothing. Like a moth to a flame his, fascination with customization and hardware took flight and the beginnings of =War Paint= came to light. His inspiration comes in all shapes and forms from retro time periods, Pop Art and Nature, but his biggest inspirations are his friends and supporters. When I asked him what we would do if he didn’t pursue design he simply answered, “Something connected to nature, because that’s when I feel completely at my peak”.
We took a short break from chatting because I was getting “twitchy palms”, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of his pieces. His work desk was slightly pornographic for me: covered in customized sunglasses and studs of every shape and colour. I mean…he practically had to give me a shake down before I left.
He had a BOX of sunglasses all waiting to be customized (don’t be surprised if you see me in a pair or two in the near future). I loved the ones with leather cutwork and wire details, plus I could somewhat see through them creating borderline functionality. Honestly though, functionality doesn’t mean much to me if they make ‘the look’.
I tried on a pair of hardware-adorned gloves and fell in love. I would be the baddest biker bitch ever in a pair of these babies. While in my 5th costume change of the afternoon, we sat down and I asked a few more questions, because oh yea…. I’m actually working right now.
Joshua Langston: What was it like being a part of Eco Fashion Week? What kinds of opportunities has it opened for you?
Stevie Crowne: Working with Myriam LaRoche and the team at ECO has been a great opportunity. I enjoyed every last minute. I was excited with the turnout of the show and how it all worked out. Shortly after doing EFW06, I got in contact with a few friends back home who are organizing a Mosaic Pride Fashion Event on June 12th. I am ecstatic to now be a part of it- I can’t wait.
JL: What has surprised you most about becoming a young designer?
SC: The experience and collaboration with other artists and people on the vision. Bouncing ideas of off and working with others is the best part about artistry in my opinion.
JL: What is the best piece of advice you could give another aspiring young designer?
SC: Keep on creating, visualizing, and show the work that you can and are able to.
With such an infectious energy and a raw excitement for this industry, it will be interesting what will come of =War Paint=. Stevie is looking forward to next season at EFW and is planning to “take the customization further and give more options to the clothes’. Thank you Stevie for letting us come play in your studio. Until next time.. Joshua