The British designer is celebrating the 80th birthday of Batman in a capsule collection.
Calling all comic book fans… British designer Marc Jacques Burton, founder of the brand MJB, has teamed up with DC comics to celebrate the 80th birthday of Batman with a buzzy capsule collection: Batman x MJB.
Launching at Selfridges, the collection is comprised of two exclusive pieces: the Batman x MJB x Selfridges balaclava hoodie and t-shirt. At the launch event, the iconic bat signal illuminated the first floor, with two Lamborghinis and two Mercedes G-Class (customised by Marc Jacques Burton with white Batman art drawn all over the black chassis) ferrying in a guest list drawn from film and music.
We caught up with Marc Jacques Burton to discuss the MJB brand philosophy, the intricacies of luxury streetwear, and a highlight with Giggs…
Tom Hardy, Migos and more. The MJB label is known for its affiliation and popularity with artists and touring musicians who exemplify your brand ethos and philosophy of designing for the man ‘living his dream’ …
The top end of the MJB brand is Stage Ready: those are the very limited, often hand-painted pieces, often with art integrated in them, and they are for musicians to have on the stage, so they’re one-offs. From that process of working with that individual – because every musician is different, everyone has a different energy, a different background, a different kind of purpose – from that energy I create the clothing. But then that filters down into my mainline collection that I then show at Paris Fashion Week, so everything is interlinked. It’s only in the last three years that we’ve shown at Paris fashion week and become an actual brand, before it was just kind of a project on the side.
Duality is both explicit and implicit in the construction and connotations of your signature balaclava and double hoodie; it’s luxurious and practical, but also politically loaded…
Recently I worked with the British rapper Giggs, who finished his European tour with a sold-out show at Wembley. For a few of the songs he had the Joker hoodie on and he zipped it up and closed it as he had said how, only three to five years ago, if you had bought tickets then, before the concert even happened it would get shut down by the police. It was a beautiful moment. Not so long ago Giggs had his shows shut down, and I was told I couldn’t be a fashion designer as I didn’t go to fashion school or come from that world. With all the artists I work with, you see a pattern. We were all relentless in keeping our dream alive. Often there were very difficult times, but we kept going.
You examine both characters, the Joker and Batman in your pieces – will you talk a little more about this?
I have two very different sides, so I associate with both. As a kid I was really obsessed with Batman. It was a big part of my life. The logo of my brand, MJB, is an actual bat so you can see the influence it’s had over me! Basquiat drew a lot of bats, and there’s also a wrestler called the Ultimate Warrior: he also had bats on his outfits … With the archives it’s insane – Batman was created 80 years ago and there have been so many iterations of the comic book character. DC comics here in the UK were incredible in opening up the archives, so as a designer you just have so many creative ideas when you look at these archives. But both characters are incredibly similar, they’re almost the same person – they just grew up in slightly different circumstances. The Joker could have become Batman and Batman could have become Joker. As human beings we all have different sides to our personalities. That’s why I love being a designer and that’s why I love working with a project like this.