Readers, meet Rose Pilkington: her magic manipulation of colour and form has us all hot under the collar. And yes, Rose happens to have designed the cover for Twin issue XV, but we swear we’re not biased when we say you’re guaranteed to fall in love with her work. Designs are playful, bright and hypnotic; she creates graphics to be remembered and stand out. With previous clients that include Jamie XX, H&M and MTV, expect to see much much more of Pilkington in 2017.
On the only snowy day in January, photographer Joe Quigg headed to east London to hang out with Rose and capture the woman splashing colour into your life.
First off, the cover looks amazing! What was the inspiration behind the design?
It was actually a very open brief which is aways a treat be given. Becky wanted to work with an artist to create some bespoke graphics for both covers, so I made them abstract and vivid so as be eye catching.
Specifically, what is it about the colour pink that you find interesting?
I have a life long relationship with colour, but out of the whole spectrum its the one colour that my eye draws too the most, and I’m not entirely sure why. Though i’ve never connected to the colour by its usual association, being categorized typically as a ‘feminine’ colour, which in itself is growing to be an old fashioned connection. Looking at my body of work I can see how subconsciously its made its way into most of my projects, as it is a sort of go-too for me. Funnily enough ive had a client or two who has requested ‘not too much pink’ in the past. For me I mostly judge aesthetically pleasing imagery by way of colour, and I believe pink emits positive vibrations and is a both calming but mentally stimulating colour.
You have a very distinct aesthetic, how did your style develop? Was there a certain point where you felt you had discovered your voice?
Things really started falling into place in my final year at Central Saint Martins (Graphic Design / Moving Image) I was literally given the opportunity to focus soley on subjects, themes and ideas that fascinated me and it was one of my most inspired times. It was also when I started learning 3D software which changed and informed the way I made my work.
There’s always a sense of movement in your work – whether it’s colour fades or through organic forms – what interests you about creating images that convey a sense of change?
Its hard to say, I think those sorts of visual decisions are instinctive, as is my approach to colour. I’m also constantly switching between moving image and still projects, so maybe that also has a part to play in it somewhere.
They say you should never stop learning. Irrespective of age and experience, the theory is: there’s always room to grow, and subsequently, improve. And that seems to be the ethos behind the new Mastered series, which connects some of the creative industry’s biggest names with a network of knowledge-hungry self-starters.
From Tim Blanks to Nick Knight, Val Garlands and Fraser Cooke – who will mentor specific courses in writing, photography, make-up and streetwear, respectively – the Mastered initiative bills itself as an online talent program, which aims to connect those looking to take their career to the next level, with the people capable of doing just that. Thanks to its online platform, it is education on a global scale, and offers access to some of the greatest minds, mentors and all-important contacts books of some of the various industry’s superstars.
One of the most interesting courses on offer, is the aforementioned streetwear program, who recently held a series of panelled-events in London, Berlin (with New York and Tokyo next on the list) – connecting industry experts with those passionate about, and working within, streetwear. It is also one of the only programs still accepting applications for places. So, with that in mind, we had a chat and took some photos with London panelist Carri Munden – in-between her working with Skepta on his new video – to find out what streetwear means to her.
OK firstly, can you tell us exactly what your involvement in the Mastered project is?
Mastered invited me to be on the panel for the London launch alongside influencers from Cottweiler to Gary Aspden. I will also be part of the Streetwear: Mastered programme, giving feedback as an expert to the brands participating.
How would you describe the other people involved as mentors – and why are they important within the realm of streetwear?
Fraser Cooke is someone who has universal respect across streetwear, fashion and creative industries. He is also someone who has been something of a mentor to me. He wisdom is incredible and he’s calm and kind.
What do you think the term streetwear means now? How has it changed – if at all – over the years?
For me streetwear is style – it is connected to but not defined by fashion. It is above all connected to culture.
What is your earliest memory of streetwear?
As a teenager I never fitted into a particular subculture but I was drawn to brands, whether than was Stussy (cult for me growing up), Kappa or even a Metallica logo. I don’t think I was even conscious that they were brands but I was aware of their differences and what they signified.
What was it that drew you to it?
I like graphics so I was always attracted to streetwear. I also love music and streetwear is always connected to music. I didn’t listen to Hip Hop, I only learnt about streetwear’s connection to Hip Hop when I moved to London. I grew up on rave, jungle and metal. Stussy for me was part of rave culture but also connected me to the skater boys I always fancied but who thought I was too weird or too chavvy (lol).
Historically, it was considered perhaps a more democratic way of being able to express yourself – be it politically or socially – through your clothing. Do you think that holds true today?
Yes I agree and disagree. I do not care about fashion I care about human connections and style. Style – what you wear and most importantly how you wear it – will never be erased. Humans will dress themselves in whatever they can access and it will alway be about personal expression, communication and status. What has changed now is how we communicate – i.e. the internet and social media. Clothing is still crucial but is now just a part of a constructed identity of “who you are” or more importantly who you want others to think you are.
Why do you think Mastered chose you to be involved in the project?
I hope because I have an individual voice. I think I’m in quite a unique position as a creative who has worked across high fashion, sportswear and streetwear; and I didn’t want to draw focus to it but other people have been mentioning it to me, but yes I am a woman…
Are there more women involved in streetwear than people realise? Or is it still a predominantly male-centric field?
There are a lot of women in streetwear actually, but I would change that to there are a lot of women in sportswear, in both Nike or Adidas for example there are incredible woman at all levels right to the very top. I have noticed this less in streetwear and I not sure why but as I mentioned in the panel discussions at the London Mastered event, there is something about the very nature of streetwear that is both very formulaic and very masculine – its obsession with one up man ship, whether that is a limited edition collectable piece or a detail on a jacket or a reference in a graphic that only an insider would recognise.
Streetwear is also a culture that has been inextricably linked with music in the past…again, is it still? And if so, are there any particular artists that you feel inspired by – or can see a lot of inspiration being drawn from – right now?
The last year I have been working with Skepta, his style is so British / european and so personal to him, it has been exciting for me seeing the influence of that globally. And absolutely artists like Kanye, A$AP Rocky – to be honest they have unprecedented influence when it comes to streetwear and style. It is powerful. We discussed this a lot at the panel discussion – how streetwear and fashion have changed and how they have and can influence each other. Artists like Kanye or Rocky are crucial in this discussion. But for me a lot of – at least within Hip Hop – artists’ connections with clothing or brands goes back to the one-upmanship I mentioned. I like weirdos – artists for whom style is a pure extension of the music and there are no boundaries or definitions when it comes to creativity.
How do you think something like Mastered benefits the people taking part in it?
It’s absolutely unique in that you would never have access to these people outside of this program. It’s also unique in because it is online is accessible to any one in the world. This is powerful to me, as I really think to be progressive we need to think outside of these same cites and centres of culture and industry.
Do you think it still rings true – to an extent – that it’s about who you know not what you know?
Yes absolutely your network is key, but it is not everything because if you have access to incredible people or connections it is nothing with out something to bring to them. Hard work and most importantly good, unique work is what will get you success.
What are you currently working on?
I am not doing collections or showing seasonly with Cassette Playa – I love designing clothes but it will be for other people or I will do collaborations or limited edition drops. I am enjoying being creative in other ways – I’m currently working on creative direction, styling and graphic projects.
To find out more about Streetwear: Mastered and the other courses on offer, visit mastered.com.
All photography by Joe Quigg with special thanks to Lock Studios