Portraits Paul Phung
Styling Lune Kuipers
Hair Atsushi Takita using Bumble and Bumble
Make Up PERCY @ Les Doigts Management using MAC Cosmetics
Models Grace J @ M+P Models / Daragh Sheridan @ D1 Models
Words Siska Lyssens
talks to DROP about the course he’s taken.
In Primitive’s new East-London boutique space, a new label occupies the rails. Printed green and light-coloured garments in supple fabrics hang next to sturdier leather pieces. Interestingly shaped hats and provocatively-named ‘bra’ bags complete a collection that breathes a confident tomboy spirit.
The man behind the brand is Joseph Nigoghossian, who launched his first namesake label in 2011. Since then, he’s been kind of side-tracked. “It’s still going-ish”, he laughs. “It was a project based brand. I’ve always worked full-time and freelance. When I have an idea for something I always give myself time to work on different projects, rather than focus on an ongoing label.”
As fashion seasons merge nowadays, it made more sense to create pieces that aren’t region or weather-specific, but rather express a development of style and a continuity of concept. “Bracken has more to do with what I wear and with what the girls I know wear. I was thinking a bit more about the customer than I had done before.” His full-time experiences at fashion brands also formed him, Joseph explains: “I’ve worked in womenswear for a long time, and when I go shopping I am really drawn to look at finishes. I turn stuff inside out and look at how the seams are done. Generally, I like womenswear finishes and textiles a lot more than men’s. They are more the sort of things I want work with and I guess more the sort of things I want to wear.”
Bracken, then, unmistakably caters to Joseph’s own tastes, especially with the addition of accessories. “I always wear a hat and pretty much always wear a bag. I’ve been making myself hats ever since I could sew. So with Bracken I wanted to do a bit more with hats, make new hat shapes and bag shapes. I see Bracken as more accessories-led and hopefully it’s something I can get more creative with objects-wise. Accessories are something that I’ve always done a small amount of and that I just wanted to be able to do more of.”
But Joseph looked beyond his own needs for his designs too. Many pieces are unisex, with the idea of sharing between girlfriend and boyfriend in mind. But even closer to his heart is Joseph’s twin sister, who’s proved to be a huge influence on the development of this collection. “I think about dressing Joanna a lot. I think about the problems she has with clothes. She’s a sculptor in New York and it’s messy work. Joanna’s studio is like a building site, she even has a cement mixer in her studio. She’s always dressed for work, so when she has an opening to go to or she has to go out, it’s a really big transition, mentally, to wear typical womenswear. It’s pretty hard for her to shop and find something she feels like herself in.”
In many ways, Bracken is a lifestyle brand, but especially in how it reflects Joseph’s own lifestyle and interests. It took him some time to grow into his own, though, he admits. “I can see there are a lot of influences from when I was younger, things in my life that, when I went to Central Saint Martins, I tried to put out of my mind a bit. At that time, I wanted to develop new ideas. I was learning new things. After having worked in womenswear for quite a while, a lot of my older influences started to creep back into my life. That’s more what I’m involved in now, with my lifestyle in general. Skateboarding, graffiti, street wear and street culture.”
So does that mean Bracken is a sub-culture thing? “I’m not massively into popular culture, I don’t like pop music – I don’t go for that kind of pop culture icons thing. I’m quite into film, so an influence would more likely be a character than a person. I watch a lot of anime – I like Kay Akira. One of the first hats I did for Joseph Nigoghossian was based on her hat. The ‘bra-bags’ I did were based on what I had seen in the manga book Ghost In A Shell, where Major Motoko Kusanagi wears something similar… I would like to say Bracken is for everyone but I know that’s not true!”
Special thanks to Primitive London