CULTURE

A Talk With "Sprayground" Founder David Ben David

The designer sat down with Popdust to talk about Sprayground's latest collection, and working with Dave East.

Everyone from Saweetie, Young Dolph, and Jacquees, to Young Thug and Dave East, have worn David Ben David's iconic streetwear brand: Sprayground.

Its safe to say the brand has taken over the urban fashion scene and found a sweet spot in Hip-Hop's upper echelon. The young designer, who even has a budding rap career of his own, sat down with Popdust to discuss his latest collection and describe his special relationship with streetwear that stems back a decade. Intending to revolutionize a market "known for utilitarian purposes," as David puts it, the designer amalgamated his passion for colorful graffiti with his uncanny eye for sophistication. Each design is bursting with personality, and a closer inspection finds every piece to be durable and of extremely high-quality. His latest collection, titled "The Inverno Collezione," is no different. Loud and kaleidoscopic, David's latest work is all about embodying the colorful idiosyncrasies of popular culture. "I wanted to create something that all fans can resonate with," David said, "Whether that be art, video games, iconic comic books or music, all the things I love, especially coming from a background of street art."

How did you creatively shake things up this time around when designing Inverno?

The colors are something else even compared to Sprayground's past work. This collection was launched in conjunction with Art Basel, with a theme around pop-culture. I wanted to make sure this was felt throughout the whole line. "The Inverno Collezione" captures the wow-factor of comic books, video games, and fearless street art.

What pop culture moments specifically?

It celebrates the popularity of video games like Fortnite, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter, [along with] the icons of legendary comic books, including Deadpool, Harley Quinn, The Joker and Black Panther's famous motto "Wakanda Forever." It [also combines] the magic of classic art including street art versions of the Mona Lisa and Salvador Dali.

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How did you connect with Dave East for the Colombian boot campaign? That promo film was crazy.

I contacted Dave because he was one of the first people to see the boot in person. I just instantly fell in love with them and the Colombian vibe, and he shared in my passion, so I knew this was someone I wanted to be involved with. That all opened the door to our latest collection, Global Money, which we created in collaboration with him on MLK Day. I took inspiration for the collection from Dave East's global ambitions, and I wanted to create a bag that artistically includes every currency from each country around the world. We love collaborating with like-minded creatives!

Sprayground


What does this collection say about Sprayground?

We aim to bring art, design, music, travel, and the sixth sense into fashion to revolutionize a market that was known to be for utilitarian purposes. This collection is no different – I wanted to create a collection that brings together all aspects in a stand-out way, and this demonstrates our continuous growth and rebellion in that market.

How do you continue to find ways to push the culture forward with your style? What's your process like? What made you guys decide to get into shoes?

Culture is a huge part of what we do. Our recent concept, the Colombian boot, was created after I received a call from the Colombian Army that they wanted to promote 'Made In Colombia' boots to mark the end of the war with the rebel army after 50 years. I was so intrigued, and I flew straight to Bogota to meet with the government and visit the army factory. The factory had been in business for over 35 years, producing high-quality army boots that were made of Italian leather and built and tested for all terrains.

How did that inspiration turn into the boot?

Taking inspiration from these boots, I took their classic design and added Sprayground's iconic "Shark Mouth" on the back heel, a hidden zipper on the tongue, and named the boots "Fuerza Cobra" with its original use in mind, for paratroopers. There it was, our first-ever shoe. They were so popular they already sold out, so we're already working on a new design.

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As Carrie Bradshaw famously said, "Every year the women of New York leave the past behind and look forward to the future. This is known as FASHION WEEK."

While any real New Yorker knows that Sex and The City is a rose-colored depiction of the cockroach-filled-hellhole we happily call home, surely the show at least nailed its representation of fashion week. After all, it's a week devoted to all things shiny and inaccessible: beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes in elegant rooms with mysterious locations. Yeah, someone vomited on your Reeboks on the L train during your commute home to your 4th-floor walk up, but surely, despite all the things New York turned out not to be, it's still this one thing: the home of high fashion and unimaginable glamor.

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Fashion

NYFW: Leanne Marshall makes vintage glamour new again

The collection's flowing dresses and modern separates are bound to be all over the red carpets next season.

by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

Leanne Marshall's Fall/Winter 2017 collection, which debuted February 12 at Skylight Clarkson Square, made Old Hollywood glamour and ethereal beauty new again through expert draping and modern cuts. Cream and champagne tones were offset by reds and blacks, providing balance to even the most angelic, floating gowns.

By Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

Chiffon and charmeuse were instrumental in creating the dreamlike shape and motion of the gowns, proving a dress need not be a ball gown to exude all the elegance of a modern princess. Draped accents on some silk dresses amplified the silver screen siren aesthetic, while separates defined a new kind of formalwear. One particular ensemble consisted of a scarlet silk top with angular shoulder cutouts, worn with a cream-colored tiered lace skirt; other two-piece styles included shiny black silk wool off-shoulder jackets worn over full cream colored chiffon dresses.

by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows

Models wore hair in intricate waves at the crown with straightened ponytails, and makeup was almost of another, more undone sort of look: smudged smoky black shadow and true red lips. While each dress alone was truly fare for dreams, the final look—a strong choice in black—elicited gasps. A strapless black down in organza and silk wool, with intricate beading and floral organza details on the entirety of the skirt, was paired with matching beaded gloves. It's little mystery why Marshall brought this model back out for her bow: the unforgettable black gown was truly her piece de resistance.

Fashion

NYFW: Ane Amour works woodland magic

The brand's Fall/Winter 2017 collection is called "Daughters of Artemis."

By Dan & Corina Lecca Photographers

Early afternoon sun at Pier 59, filtered through the blizzard going on outside, made for a bright white space for Ane Amour's FW 17 collection on February 9, which was, by contrast, the stuff of Grimm's fairy tales. Black and royal purple were used almost exclusively, and on clothes that needed to nod to the fantastical and sinister.

By Dan & Corina Lecca Photographers

By Dan & Corina Lecca Photographers

Wide, hooded jackets and long lace skirts were prominent features, as were dresses with squared necklines that felt downright medieval. Correspondingly, models wore their hair in loosened french braids and some sported gold headpieces reminiscent of woodland princesses. And like most shows this season, the skin was the focus: models had dewy, bright skin and deep purple lips.

By Dan & Corina Lecca Photographers

By Dan & Corina Lecca Photographers

Though the collection made an attempt to utilize ruffled sleeves and skirts, its stronger touches were its more modern: simple wide-neck dresses, form-fitted lace, classic cuts and solid fabrics. Jackets and coats tended to be daring, such as a full-length lavender one with a big bow at the neck--but the little black riding hood, a belted jacket, was the most stunning. Also notable was a short schoolgirlish dress with an oversized collar: The dark fairy tale theme was evident throughout, but the simplest pieces proved not only the most easily wearable, but the strongest: not boring, just classic.
Fashion

NYFW: Hakan Akkaya serves super-villain intensity

Hakan Akkaya's Fall/Winter 2017 collection featured serious fabrics and a monochromatic palette.

Getty Images for Hakan Akkaya

Hakan Akkaya's Fall/Winter 2017 collection, which debuted February 10 at Skylight Clarkson Square, featured dramatic shapes and otherworldly pieces. Models walked out to intense, pumping house music, showing off the mostly-black collection, made of high-tech fabrics.

Gender was no object, as there was little distinction between what male and female models wore. The clothes weren't masculine or feminine, per se; they evoked something out of science fiction. And this seems little accident: models sported angular hairstyles, more than a little reminiscent of anime characters. Zippers were heavily featured; as were chunky shapes and materials like platform boots.

Getty Images for Hakan Akkaya

Getty Images for Hakan Akkaya

One of the more interesting inclusions was a stole, but made of a weatherproof, techy-looking material rather than fur. Similarly, the final look incorporated a winter coat in a more relaxed shape, akin to a fur coat, which the model wore just up to her wrists and let drag on the floor. The contrast between decadence and technology were clear (and not just because of the sea of iPhones in manicured hands). Also seen was a half-jacket, which is exactly what it sounds like: one jacket consisted of only one sleeve and shoulder, as if it had literally been cut in half.

Getty Images for Hakan Akkaya

Getty Images for Hakan Akkaya

If Akkaya's goal was to push boundaries, the mission was certainly accomplished, although the pieces that leaned toward the classic were not unsuccessful either: dresses with huge plumes at the chest, jackets in shiny patterned material with sharp, pointed shoulders were lovely. Akkaya has a talent for taking risks that, without a doubt, pay off.

Fashion

NYFW: Rinat Brodach is here to fight

The Fall/Winter 2017 collection featured seriously dramatic cuts and unusual styling that means business.

Courtesy of Supreme Publicity

Rinat Brodach's Fall/Winter 2017 collection, which debuted February 9, was supposedly inspired by "the spirit of a fighter," a sensibility which echoed through the powerful but understated looks. Though the clothes were fairly minimalist, utilizing a neutral black/white/grey palette with touches of peach and blue, the tone of the show was a quiet storm.

Models' hair was slicked back sharply, and some wore a splotch of terracotta-pinkish dye at the roots. All wore chunky Doc Marten boots and intense makeup, often with bleached brows (bleached facial hair on the male models) and dramatically bronzed skin that, probably by no accident, resembled armor.

Courtesy of Supreme Publicity

Courtesy of Supreme Publicity

Some of the standout pieces, in fact, were the prints, especially one oversized shirtdress in a white and black abstract pattern. But neutrals made their statement as well, through structure: shirts with wide necks and unfinished hems in athletic fabric, dresses and tops with lots of excess fabric intentionally gathered in a random-looking fashion. Asymmetry was a frequent feature as well. The collection included several one-sleeve shirts and dresses with cutout shoulders; one memorable piece was a blue ankle-length sweater dress with one long sleeve, both cozy and polished.

Courtesy of Supreme Publicity

Courtesy of Supreme Publicity

The best pieces were, surprisingly, pantsuits. Slim-fit pants with big, pointy-shouldered blazers stole the show, commanding power and attention, and in fact were more structured than any of the dresses or menswear. But then again, maybe there's nothing surprising about style and command in a pantsuit at all. Not anymore.