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Sourcing inspiration from various global subcultures and its innovative designer Hideaki Shikama’s own personal collection of collectibles, Children of the Discordance continually works intuitively with deadstock and vintage fabrics to create one-of-a-kind garments. For 10.10, Shikama presents a capsule collection of reworked pieces crafted from upcycled paisley bandanas and reconsidered Harley Davidson T-Shirts. As the collection distorts the American dream through a Japanese filter, Aljadid invited London-based designer, creative consultant and curator William Cult to place his lens over the top. The result is Imagining A New Americana, a series of still lives that shift the hegemonic all-American narrative by adding multiple voices and a kaleidoscope of perspectives.
Building on the abstract close-up images of vintage T-shirts documented by Bob Foster, WiIly collaborated with the photographer for Americana Still Lives which places household objects that each of them own alongside the craft-rich, detail-heavy Children of the Discordance pieces. As we pinch ourselves to determine whether we’re living through an American dream or nightmare, Willy introduces the series in his own words and details why now, more than ever, America needs to reflect and refract its vision away from its own tired fantasy.
“The old idea of Americana is perhaps not a lie but a fantasy. A fantasy of wide open spaces but only if you are white, otherwise the cops or the ‘Karens’ will get you. A fantasy of men in cowboy hats smoking cigarettes, but please, leave out the genocide and oppression of Native Americans. Americana is a carefully constructed and edited white male fantasy.
As we become more connected in the Digital Age, the farce is hard to maintain. America is in freefall and the proverbial American Dream is turning into a feverish nightmare. When taken to its extremes, the great white American male fantasy shapeshifts into guys in MAGA hats shooting at BLM protesters, fascist youths with tiki torches being called ‘good guys’ and patriotism becoming synonymous with racism.
Yet, the world still has a fascination and desire for the ‘Made in USA’ cultural label. Perhaps because it’s steeped in capitalism and make believe, and as a world we relate to both. Most European cultures can picture their origins but not their end. America is incapable of doing either. Its origin is a lie and its end is unimaginable. The lack of self-awareness has been America’s strength but technology and the Digital Age are forcing the country to do some soul searching.
Ultimately, America is pop culture’s stream of consciousness and a bottomless pit of kitsch. But it needs to move away from its cis-het white fantasy. Cowboys can be gay and look like Little Nas X, the open spaces should be safe and include monuments to black historical figures, while a cultural dialogue needs to happen with Mexico instead of the great MAGA wall. That’s the kind of American culture people want to consume or at least the kind that should be imagined. These images created in collaboration with Robert Foster invite us to imagine a new kind of Americana for the 21st century because America can no longer afford only one way of looking at itself.”
Photography Robert Foster (@fosterfoster20)
reative Direction William Cult (@williamcult)