Wonderland.

PUMA × KIDSUPER SS21

PUMA have dropped their second riotous collab with the creative artist collective – we caught up with the radical brains behind it, Colm Dillane.

AW20 Kidsuper Colm Dillane

Pictured: Colm Dillane

AW20 Kidsuper Colm Dillane
Pictured: Colm Dillane

In a time of very limited possibilities as a global pandemic reigns supreme, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they talk about the future. After a long winter while most of us are just about creaking back into life at the prospect of a return to normality on June 21st, the enthusiasm of which Colm Dillane rattles off his list of upcoming ventures is alarming – but to be expected considering his lightning-quick track record for innovation and expansion. The radical brains behind creative artist collective KidSuper, Brooklyn-based Dillane has expanded the moniker to cover paintings, art shows, a record label, music videos, films, but most famously, his streetwear label, which lives vibrantly at the cross-section of fashion, music, football, and art – and has racked up a frenzied Instagram following, as well as cult status among New York hypebeasts.

When fashion week had no choice but to go digital last year, brands scrambled to find new ways to present their work, but for Dillane, thinking outside of the box has never been an issue. The designer’s ingenuity saw him reimagine his runway as a surreal stop-motion film – titled “Everything’s Fake Until It’s Real”, with his heroes transformed into over 20 Barbie doll models. Quentin Tarantino, Kanye West, Freddie Mercury, Travis Scott, Stephen Hawking, Bernie Sanders and Elon Musk walked a virtual runway, while Queen Elizabeth II, Anna Wintour and the Obamas looked on from the star-studded front row.

Back in the summer of last year, KidSuper dropped its first major partnership, with PUMA, for a range of eye-searing clothing and footwear emblazoned with Dillane’s signature doodles. And now, the brands have joined forces again for yet another football-inspired collection, garish and experimental as ever, bringing Dillane’s artwork to life. Think co-branded design elements in hoodies and zip-ups, clashing prints, embroidered branding – even velcro tweaks which challenge the conventional look of a sneaker.

We caught up with Colm Dillane and talked about his SS21 collaboration, creating an Andy Warhol-like factory of creatives, and his big plans for KidSuper…

SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO two
SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO trainers
SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO hoodies

PUMA x KidSuper Studios SS21

SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO two
PUMA x KidSuper Studios SS21
SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO trainers
SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO hoodies

Hi Colm, it’s been a weird year! How have you been doing and how has everything affected your creativity?
So, I am a little bit inspired by obstacles and deadlines, so there are moments of this year that were inspiring. I think the main thing was that I did Paris Fashion Week; it went virtual and it was the first time in history that there wasn’t a catwalk, which I liked a bit better because it is more freeing. You’re allowed to do whatever you want.

How did you adapt?
If you could be creative and agile in this uncertain time then you could succeed. And so for Paris Fashion Week, the first one we did a stop-motion doll show that was really cool, and then the second one I did a short film and we raised a lot of money just to give back during the year. I also have a little studio space in New York that I wouldn’t say I leave that often…

Tell us about it…
Yeah, so it wasn’t so crazy because I kind of build my own little utopia, so its like a workshop space where I can do everything. Obviously we missed out on a bunch of opportunities that were going to happen this year, but we’ve been trying to make the most of it. I think an example is with this PUMA collaboration – we were supposed to do a soccer tournament to launch…

Ah, that’s such a shame!
That wasn’t allowed, so instead we did a cartoon series. It’s thirty minutes and it’s got Usain Bolt, Héctor Bellerín, Jessie Reyez, Action Bronson… It’s a pretty amazing cartoon, and I’ve always wanted to do a cartoon. That’s what I mean when I say these moments inspired me and pushed me to do things that I’m pretty proud of.

So if we start at the beginning, will you talk us through how KidSuper started?
I’m from New York City and I grew up and I went to high school in Brooklyn, and unlike the stereotypical American high school, the jocks weren’t necessarily like the football team and the cheerleaders weren’t the cool girls. In New York it was all about fashion. I had just moved to New York when I was 12 from the Midwest, and when I got to NYC I was shocked by this fashion thing because to me it was a little bit about it being wealthy. If you had money to buy cool clothes you could be cool. I wanted to make my own brand, so I started out spray painting t-shirts for people’s birthdays. And then slowly more people started asking for t-shirts, so we launched this streetwear brand called Brick Oven t-shirts, which started with ten people.

Then how did KidSuper come about?
Then I went to play soccer for a year in Brazil, and while I was there I was designing a lot! I came up with the KidSuper name, and thought it could be a music label, a TV show, KidSuper media, KidSuper records, KidSuper cartoon, KidSuper everything! It pushes me to be this like KidSuper character. I want to be amazing! I also thought, how cool would it be if KidSuper is like this childish name that competes with [brands] like Louis Vuitton. And we’ve gotten there with Paris Fashion Week officially, which I’m super proud of.

And how did it go from designs, and like a hobby, into a brand?
So from them there, I went to college. I turned my dorm into a store and everybody was coming in to my dorm to buy clothes. And then when I was a junior, I opened up a store in Brooklyn and lived in the back. When I was a senior, the top two floors moved out of the building all my friends moved in so I created this Andy Warhol-like factory of creatives.

And that’s how the whole collective thing came in?
From there I was getting known more from art which were on the shirts, so people were asking me to do album covers and music videos. And from there I also started doing art shows, and the art was inspiring me to push the clothing brand forward into high end fashion. I’m applying for the LVMH prize too, so we shall see.

SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO gown
SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO back of gown

PUMA x KidSuper Studios SS21

SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO gown
PUMA x KidSuper Studios SS21
SS21 PUMA X KIDSUPERSTUDIO back of gown

And so this is your second collaboration with PUMA, what kind of energy did you want to evoke from this one compared to the last one?
So, what they don’t tell everyone is that you design them pretty close to each other, so it doesn’t feel so disconnected. For me, I was trying to keep the same energy that the first one had, and obviously we got to make four to six completely original new shoes, and that was one of the main reasons that I was so excited to work with PUMA, because they were really allowing us to make KidSuper x PUMA shoes, whereas when you work with many other brands you just kind of change colours on famous silhouette.

What’s your favourite piece from the collab?
The painted puffer, which includes my artwork on it, and there’s the face camo print we created. I think the clothes are amazing and I love it, but I’m also super excited for things to do around it with PUMA. Like working on this cartoon, working on some soccer stuff, meeting these ambassadors, and becoming friends with people like Neymar, the usual…

What did PUMA mean to you growing up?
I’m like a diehard soccer player, fan, everything!

And how did the first collaboration with PUMA come about?
So right before PUMA approached me, I had done various small one-off things with brands, and I was pushing towards having my own shoe because obviously that’s the next step, and I wanted it to be soccer related. There is really no big brand that has tapped into soccer in NYC, so that was mainly my pitch. And PUMA offered the most possibilities.

And you have had some amazing names and faces wear your brand like Joey Bada$$. How does it feel when you see someone so prominent step out in KidSuper clothing?
So I came up in the hip-hop scene of New York, so Joey Bada$$ I’ve known since before he was very successful. So seeing it is crazy. The way I see it is, if you wear KidSuper we are best friends, so that is why I’m so excited to see people wearing it! Like, it is one casual conversation away from being besties!

And is there a dream person that you would like to besties with?
Ronaldinho. That’s really who I want. I like the outsider. The unexpected person. Dave Chappelle. Elon Musk.

And obviously it’s been a weird year – how do you think the future of fashion is going to go due to this pandemic?
I think virtual fashion is here to stay for so many reasons, but for me, it is easier, it’s limitless, it’s everything. Sustainability is a huge thing. I think building a brand that has a story is a huge thing. For me, I haven’t changed the KidSuper world since it started, and it’s always been about building a community and giving back, and collaboration, and working on different projects together, and ideally building these KidSuper spaces where artists can collaborate, sleep, everything that has always been at the heart of the brand. I want to push that even harder now that we have gotten more successful. I would like to open up different KidSuper buildings across the globe.

Is there anything particular that you are focusing on in 2021? What is next for KidSuper?
I just did this fashion show with a short film, and it made me want to make a movie. That is like a goal in the back of my head, so I have to write that. I have to do a second episode of the KidSuper cartoon. I keep telling PUMA to build me a KidSuper soccer field and they are like, it is not a no, so I’m like wow! I live in NYC so it’s really hard to find a spot to build soccer field, but that is one of my goals. So if I could get that, that would be awesome!

Puma x KidSuper SS21 drops on 13 March at Selfridges. Discover more at puma.com

AW20 Kidsuper Colm Dillane vertical

Pictured: Colm Dillane

AW20 Kidsuper Colm Dillane vertical
Pictured: Colm Dillane
Words
Maybelle Morgan
PUMA × KIDSUPER SS21

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