This summer, the ICA are hosting an exhibition on rebel designer Judy Blame, presenting a snapshot into the creative mind of one of Britain’s major talents. Divulging the intersections of fashion, art, music, style and authenticity, everyone’s favourite intersections, that is – Blame challenged established hierarchies by creating jewellery and other accessories from a myriad of found, everyday materials. Think safety pins, bottle tops, badges, plastic bags and toy soldiers; the results of his highly original DIY approach have rendered him one of the most sought after, free-thinking designers in the industry.
During the ’80s Blame, together with John Moore, founded the Dalston-based House of Beauty – a craft collective at the heart of the London club scene towards the end of the decade consisting of celebrated artists such as Dave Baby, Fiona Skinner, Christopher Nemeth, Richard Torry and Fiona Bowen. From this flourishing scene, Blame went on to form creative collabs as a consultant with the likes of heavyweight designers, who’ve become nothing short of contemporary icons, ranging from John Galliano, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton’s Kim Jones to cutting-edge Japanese innovator Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons, and the British iconoclast, Gareth Pugh.
As a stylist, Blame has produced iconic fashion editorials for seminal publications, including everyone’s favourite throwback bible, The Face and BLITZ, where he worked together with a range of influential photographers such as Juergen Teller, Mark Lebon, Jean Baptiste Mondino and Mark Mattock. His intuitive capacity to produce emblematic images that exemplified radical elements of popular culture and fashion steered him towards an extensive career in the music industry as an art director and image consultant for titanic figures spanning genres: Massive Attack, Boy George, Kylie Minogue and Bjork.
We caught up with Blame for a short, sharp, quick-fire Q&A and asked him about the themes of the forthcoming exhibition and the context of his work more generally.