8DIX is a London-based streetwear brand founded in 2012. Named after the German artist Otto Dix and inspired by the freedom and eccentricity of his work, 8DIX blend fashion and art in a fun and uncompromising way. This week, they collaborated with the art project RUEFFA and launched a pop-up store in Old Street Station. Highlights include a six-foot tall boxing glove with a ‘Basquiat’ portrait and a 14 kg dollar bill dripped in crystal resin... We chatted to the founders of 8DIX, Jordan and Luca, to find out more about this unconventional brand.
Can you sum up what 8DIX is like in a sentence?
Bold, like the outspoken person at the dinner table that might make a situation a little awkward and fun at the same time.
What brought you to the world of fashion?
Luca: Well, I was studying to become a vet and I was really into science. I think two things made me change my mind. One was discovering Vivienne Westwood and the second one was losing weight - I was a super fat guy and I couldn’t be bothered to dress with “pieces”… I was just wearing XXXL comfortable adidas trousers. When I lost weight I thought: ‘Hey! Wait a minute! Now I can look pretty too!’ So the first thing I bought was a Viv’s t-shirt. But I was always interested in art and paintings, so even as a vet I would have always been a bit ‘strange’!
Why did you chose Otto Dix, the artist, as the inspiration for the brand?
It’s the name of one of the most important artists during the World Wars. Otto Dix was representing the society at the time and we thought it was perfect because that’s what we wanted to do too. And of course, his name…isn’t it great?! There’s a grotesque kind of beauty to Otto Dix’s paintings. A politician or a prostitute - it didn’t matter, the characters are always strong. His recurring themes of money, war, chaos and human degeneration are a mirror to what’s going on today. He captured catastrophe perfectly. We always wanted to have a fashion label with art story behind it and nobody tells it better than Dix. It’s always relevant. Even the logo we use comes from a painting of his where he’s clawed his name in big red letters on a huge black canvas.
You say that you blend the worlds of art and fashion, how do you think these two worlds affect one another?
We see fashion as the highest commercial art ever. Fashion IS art, but affordable, practical and wearable. The most interesting moment is the beginning of the collection when you make lots of research, exhibitions, travels and everything looks like a mess of colours on the mood board and you know that at the end of it, in 6 months, it’s going to be perfect and simple because creativity found its way through millions of decisions and steps.
In the last two years you've not only become incredibly popular, but have also collaborated with the likes of Katy Perry and Lily Allen, what do you think is the secret of your success?
Like most things in life, we believe there is not one defining factor but rather consistency in what we do and the eagerness we maintain in doing what we do since the very first day.
Why did you decide to launch a pop-up and why in Old Street Station?
It was something we had been considering for a while and when the opportunity came up to merge it with Rueffa, we seized it. For young artists, designers or start-ups the way forward will always be collaborations, making the most of all the different resources and insights. Old Street Station is the perfect location for us, we knew we would be engaging with a young and savvy consumer there.
Do you think it’s important for a fashion brand like 8DIX to have offline presence?
We think it is fundamental. Though we can work wonders online nowadays, it’s always important to have an organic conversation with your audience.
How did you approach the design of the store?
The mantra was practical and functional design, with a twist that rings true to our brand, with elements such as our stick figure mannequins and colorful vinyls.
How does Rueffa complement your designs?
There is an underlying theme of consumerism that is recurrent between Rueffa’s art and our clothing, all coupled with a very strong aesthetics and skillful execution that really complement the two when seen side by side.
Do you think pop-ups can help young fashion brands to raise awareness and get in front of the right audience?
Certainly. It is great to be able to have a direct contact with the end consumer and personally share the passion we have for our brand and values.
What advice would you give to aspiring fashion designers?
Always keep your curiosity alive and thoroughly enjoy the process.