Google × Christian Cowan

Google partners designer Christian Cowan for new #ReallyBlue Pixel project.

As anyone who’s used an electronic device to fulfil their fashion week needs will be privy, fashion and technology are the ultimate dream team. Better than Daphne and Celeste and more enticing than your local fish and chips, when the two hook up only good things can happen. Something CSM alumni – and creator of the Selfie Hat, beloved by Laga Gaga and 50 Cent alike – Christian Cowan has long known as gospel.

In-between stints on America’s Next Top Model and making his NYFW debut, the Cambridge born designer has come up with the only pair of jeans phone lovers (they feature a pocket the perfect size!) need care about: the world’s only Really Blue jeans.

Partnering with Google – with whom we’ll be celebrating our Spring 2017 Issue launch tonight – Cowan’s designs are the latest phase of Google’s assault on the industry; a follow up to previous collaborations with Jeremy Scott and Michael Kors. Here, the two celebrate the Pixel, Phone by Google in the super limited edition ‘Really Blue’ which, handily, is available to pre-order now. We grabbed five with Christian to learn more…

So when did you interest in fashion begin?

I was 12, I was always very creative and loved painting. I then got very into music videos and was a real child of the internet. I began playing with fabrics with a tiny sewing machine, it really grew from there.

And how did that lead to you designing clothes?

I loved the escapism of fashion, it allows you to curate this whole fantasy world with each collection. I found real life so dull, so I decided to create a world that I found interesting and exciting and could feel at home in.

How would you describe the Christian Cowan aesthetic?

It’s definitely youthful, self-aware and bright, however the main vein that runs through all my work is the distortion of the familiar; I love to take garments and items and play with their proportions and textures to create a whole new perspective on the idea. I like to make sure it never gets stagnant – every season grows up as I do.

You recently made your New York Fashion Week debut. How did you find it?

It was my first ever runway show, so it was a whole new experience which was crazy, but fun. Paris Hilton walked in the show and I had my dream team working on it, so I really couldn’t have been happier. However, it was the first day of NYFW and there was a crazy blizzard so that made everything a bit harder!

Tell us about Google. You’ve just paired up with them for these new ‘Really Blue’ jeans. How did that happen?

I’m so excited about it! They reached out and asked me to brainstorm ideas with them around the limited edition launch of the Pixel phone by Google in Really Blue. We threw a bunch of ideas around and then all agreed on the final concept. The whole process was really organic, it was the perfect fusion of creative fashion design, innovative technology and style.

“I found real life so dull, so I decided to create a world that I found interesting and exciting and could feel at home in.”

Sounds good! Tell us more about these jeans…

Well, Google have released their Pixel phone in a brand new colour they have created called Really Blue. So, of course, we all agreed that we should create jeans to match the Pixel, so people can finally have Really Blue jeans. Then they asked me to sketch up a range of ideas, we chose our favourites and then I began the production process. As the colour is brand new we couldn’t just buy the fabric, so I worked with dye houses across New York to come up with the perfect shade. It wasn’t easy, but the end result is fantastic.

Incorporating technology into design is obviously nothing new – you’re the man behind the Selfie Hat. But why do you think fashion and tech make such good bedfellows?

I really do believe that fashion and technology belong together. They are two huge industries that are constantly outdoing themselves every few months! Both industries look to revolutionise what they had done a just before, and I love that; it’s the constant pursuit of improvement that makes fashion and tech the perfect match!

So do you think this is the future of fashion?

I do, fashion and tech play such vast parts of everyone’s lives, it only makes sense that the two should merge and work together cohesively. It’s just the beginning for this.

You make a strong argument. What piece of technology then, couldn’t you live without?

I think everyone would say their phone! I have been using my Google Pixel and it really does everything and more, so I would really miss it if I didn’t have it!

Sebastian Ayala (top image – shot on Pixel, Phone by Google) and Oli Kearon
Kassandra Powell
Takuya Morimoto
Make Up and nails:
Sergio Alvarez
Cassey Chanel @ Wilhelmina, Bom Seol Kim @ Select, Toby Huntington-Whitely @ Models One
Google x Christian Cowan

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