Liam Hodges has teamed up with Ditto Press to release a book based on the designer’s obsession with pirate-radio culture, DIY elements and the uncontainable energy found in the rave scene – source material present in his SS16 collection.
Locked On is as compelling as it is subversive. Publications submit to graphical and editorial conventions that can be stifling for any creative; Hodges has overcome these by staying true to a rebelliousness that is inherent to the book’s subjects and his creative ethos.
Glyphs, graffiti, camo patterns and imagery come distorted, twisted, flipped and pixelated to create multidimensional impressions and compositions both hard-hitting and culturally juicy. Furthermore, you have South London poet, Hector Aponysus, providing a spoken-word piece, 6×4 photograph inserts from his collection and risographic prints – epic in all proportions.
Lewis Firth: Can you give us an integral theme (and reasoning for it) from the book?
Liam Hodges: The whole way through my education I produced these research books and presentation packs that featured a mix of found pages, photocopies, fabrics, etc. It was a process that I had been missing since starting my label, although we still do it digitally. We wanted to produce something that was integral to the brand, yet new. A large part of SS16’s graphics involved coding messages, distorting text, creating codes for a new group of people. The book is a manual to this. It’s a collection of research, print experiments and backstage images. There didn’t need to be much text as that wasn’t really the point, people can work out the signifiers and the attitudes from the images we created. For me it was a nice way to finish my time with Fashion East. For my customers it’s a way to get closer to the bigger vision of the brand, beyond the pages of magazines, catwalks and clothes.
LF: What has been the core creative driver with you and UK’s pirate-radio culture? What affinity do you have with the scene?
LH: Pirate radio of the 90s and onwards was something I grew up with: Rinse, Kiss, etc. For me there was a gravitational pull towards it: this idea of spending hours working on this station, with your mates, playing the music you want, doing things your way because the mainstream or commercial radio didn’t cater for your wants and needs. For me there is a real value in that. I see that idea as something to aspire to, and it’s a value that underpins the brand—a new value for aspirational.
LF: Spoken-word artist Hector Aponysus’ work features in the book. Apart from the connection with him and your SS16 show, why was it important to you to include him in the book?
LH: The book is an extension of the SS16 collection. Hectors Not Anything/Everything was a really important part of the collection: we wanted to create a celebration of it. Although Hector wrote this piece after I had made the collection, we went through the garments and discussed the narrative I was trying to communicate; it’s something I couldn’t translate into words. But for me he really pinned it down. Not everyone was at the show, not everyone heard him perform live –again, this book is about extending the theatre and narrative of our catwalk to a wider audience.
LF: “We soar through the morning, yawning at the scorn of conforming” is a line from Aponysus’ Not Anything / Everything – what is about conformity that continues to challenge you as a designer? And how is that reflected in the book?
LH: The stance against conformity comes from a boredom and dissatisfation with the current status quo, challenging things that we feel disconnected with is exciting. If everyone keeps toeing the line nothing will ever get better, from the fashion industry to the world as a whole.
The book is out March 2nd at Machine-A, Liam Hodges and Ditto Press.
liam hodges SS16. Photo by Harry Clark