I remember hearing about SVSV around 6 years ago and having no clue what to think about the brand, I just knew I wanted it. The brand had an allure that was so visually appealing, it truly captured me. I didnt know how to take the line, seeming to be more art than fashion house, something that was refreshing to digest. Serum vs Venom began in 2003, a part of The KDU the worlds largest private design society, David Genseler the man behind it all blessed us with a bit of his time to talk about SVSV and what is going on in this digital generation.
Was there a reason behind SVSV being so hard to attain when you first started?
I wanted to create something in contrast (and conflict) with an industry that I did not see eye to eye with. I saw massive problems with seasonal retail calendars and the pressure they placed on the design process. I wanted to focus on the design and end consumer, not the industries acceptance of the brand.
Why the change now?
I realized the brand had bled into some form of a personal art project for me and not a brand. I was honestly more concerned with my own vision and blind to anything else.. including the consumer. So, I rethought the entire project and started placing the focus on the business model, instead of the garments. I discovered some new ways of thinking about how to achieve a balance and decided to relaunch. Innovation begins, more often with the realization that it (innovation) is needed, not just desired. I realized the business of fashion was the weak point… not style or marketing or image or product.
Whats the inspiration behind this new collection?
Semantics aside, but there are no new collections, just a new beginning point. We will begin to make garments again, and focus on producing, what we consider to be the highest quality product we can produce. I challenge the idea of “a collection” and think it is language and thinking of the old guard. In terms of where we are pulling inspiration from…
I would say the same as before, just seen through older and hopefully wiser eyes. I am attracted to utility. I like military spec gar, extreme outdoor gear, colliding with workwear, glued together with timeless tailoring tradition. Some pieces in the new offering are simple at first glance, then reveal more and more complexity. I have always been, in all my work, very aware and concerned about “collisions” and nothing has changed this time around.
Do you feel we are teaching creativity out of our children?
I dont have children (I am working on it…) but for now, I just have cats and clients. haha. I think in general, it is smart to allow kids to be kids. I think children need time to develop social skills, much more than their ability to master gaming or other forms of technology. I think the speed in which they “mature” is now forced by technology and media. My dream is to raise children that are “aware” of that which influences them and make sound decisions.
Recently you spoke about there not being any rebellion going on. Why is that a problem in your opinion?
I always said, it is the youths responsibility to challenge and disrupt the current powers that be. Today, kids are so excited to be “the same” and you dont see radical shifts in style or behavior that is not easily traceable back to some brands marketing strategy. It feels like the future is so scripted at the moment, because those attempting to write (or control) it have such easy access to the consumers (youth) via various digital interfaces. If technology failed completely for one generation, we would most likely begin to dream about the future, instead of texting and climbing the digital tower of babble.
How does one find that balance of rebellion and making money?
Oh it is not as hard as you think… it is part of the economic laws of competition. There is ALWAYS a group that feels disjointed from the norm and willing to walk a different path.
It starts with the mindset of the Designer… do they want to be different and at least attempt to be unique, or commonplace and predictable. I personally do NOT want to be like everyone else I see walking around. I don’t want to adopt the same ways of thinking, eat at the same “hot spots” or own the same “hot” things. I am happy pursuing a different way… at least attempting to create something original, even if it is not the fastest way to profits. You have to truly believe in what you do and stick to it… if you produce quality, success will follow.
Your thoughts on the fashion industry right now? The Americana movement, where is streetwear?
I am not interested in any genres, such as streetwear, I am interested in an energy that often comes from youth. I think the streetwear moment came and passed and was defined by an energy that was aggressive. I think as many of those brands attempted to “fit” into the changing tide of style, they lost their original voice, diluted their brand and faded away. Some brands stayed true and continue to do well… The Hundreds, ALife, Supreme… Neighborhood, visvim. There are also great examples of new brands, like HFCC (HellFire Canyon Club) that are about one thing, born from passion and do not dilute. Staying true to your core beliefs is ultimately what sustains a brand, chasing sales and constant expansion, ironically becomes the Achilles heal.
In regards to the fashion industry as a whole? I would have to say that “big box” mass digital retailers destroyed most brands. The digital experience is great, but it IS a simulated experience and fashion is a tangible thing. I think we will begin to see more and more brand owned and controlled retail and consumers happy to support their favorite brands directly.
I believe the Internet as a whole is taking away the longevity of brands. I feel like the minute you make it to hypebeast your brand is everywhere and by the end of the day, 6 updates later its gone and over with. By the time the product actually is available to the public the consumer feels as if they have had it already, and seen it because its been on every blog known to man. So my question is whats the answer or whats your opinion? If I were a small brand, I need to get the word out about my brand in order to sell but how do you hold back enough to keep it from being so whored out?
It is all about holding back and not busting your internet nut as often as you can… people love hype and forget about quality. I think it is about balance and the creators having a clear understanding about digital… if they understand how they want to use the technology, then they can avoid being controlled by it.
What is creativity to you?
Creativity is freedom. Creativity is bravery. Creativity is sometimes lonely and often frustrating. Creativity is never subjective.