INTERVIEW BLACK KRSNA
INTERVIEW - BLACK KRSNA
We took some time out to converse with the creative force behind BLACK KRSNA, and delve a little deeper into their creative inspirations and plans for the future.
Conjuring up collections of androgynous garments hand crafted from natural fibres, designed and constructed by Benji Chandler. BLACK KRSNA embodies the flow of the Japanese mind, Krishna and the spiritual self. Black is the signature colour and natural is the experience, a beautifully crafted collection adaptable for any wearer.
Read the full interview below.
Shop the garments from BLACK KRSNA HERE.
Uncon: Benji, were you a curious person during your youth? Tell us a little bit about yourself as well as any others who may help to create each collection?
BLACK KRSNA: I think I was quite a curious and strange boy growing up and in my youth. My mind was always thinking in the future and I was obsessed with any new product or trend. My mind was always pushing me to think why we do things, who we are as people, and what was considered normal. I had an obsession for Japanese culture and language which was highlighted completing a year student exchange in Japan. I was so intrigued how the Japanese could live in such harmony whilst living in such a futuristic age.
Uncon: How did you develop your initial urge to create?
BLACK KRSNA: I have always had an urge to create. My dream was always to study fashion at RMIT in Melbourne however that dream seemed as possible as becoming an astronaut. During high school and university I didn't see the creative path as a plausible career and moved to Melbourne to obtain a corporate job. I climbed the corporate ladder, and set myself up with financial security. However after having a complete breakdown after realising I had created a life for myself i did not desire at all, I took a year off to decide who i wanted to become as a person. After hitting rock bottom and having a year of reflection, I realised i had nothing to lose but to follow my dream; to become a fashion designer.
Uncon: What draws you to the qualities of your complex patterns? How do you intend for these qualities to emanate from your work?
BLACK KRSNA: Whilst studying fashion and textiles at university I found technical pattern making quite cumbersome and unappealing. To make patterns for a tailored jacket or pant was my idea of a nightmare. I felt the whole process was just so rigid and too perfect. I really wanted to break the rules, however i realised i needed to learn the rules to break the rules. In my second year of study we were introduced to the 3D pattern maker; Shingo Sato, and Julian Roberts for his subtraction cutting. This really opened my eyes to different styles of pattern making and helped me break out of the mould. I further researched the pattern making technique of Japanese designers, especially Rei Kuwaboto, Issey Miyake, and Yohji Yamamoto, and realised a pattern could be anything we imagined. The fabric, alone, is a pattern.
Uncon: Your work is also about a calm connection to the fabrics you use and their origins. What shapes the surface study of your work?
BLACK KRSNA: I really want my garments to look effortless. I dislike a contrived look. I use only natural fibres; linen, cotton, wools and leather. I feel this gives a sense a harmony and purity. Also only using the shade of black I love the ambiguous silhouette black creates. I don't think any other colour or shade can create such a silhouette. I am very calm and centered when I am sewing and creating and I feel that shows in my work.
Uncon: What is most important to you, in the development of your work?
BLACK KRSNA: To always keep spinning and never conform. From the start I have had people tell me that people wont purchase my garments, I'm not commercial enough, people wont understand what my spiritual brand is about. I always want to steer away from that. I always want someone to look at my garments and to make them think. Think about what it means to be a person, think about what the norm social cues are for a person, gender roles and different aesthetics. Think about spirituality. Think about ethical clothing. Think about the world. Think about our connections. Otherwise to me there is no point. For me there is already enough jackets, pants, shirts etc made... I want to make a difference and open minds.
Uncon: Originality and authenticity are important factors in a highly competitive industry, How do you maintain you stay at the forefront?
BLACK KRSNA: I feel like nearly every design I am going to create is already in my head. Creating new garments is a beautiful process for me; some people draw for hours, create elaborate mood boards, toile and toile and toile. I really like to just start cutting and draping the fabric and see what manifests. My influences come from my spiritual growth and the amazing creative minds that I have around me. How I see myself as a person and spiritual state at the current time is reflected in my work. I create, cut, sew and design every garment myself, by hand, so my own individuality and mind dictates the originality and true authenticity.
Uncon: What music do you surround yourself with during your creative process?
BLACK KRSNA: Everything. I work in a communal studio space with approximately 30 other artists, and we have a record player that is free for anyone to use. Grace Jones and David Bowie get big play time. For myself, when I am cutting and sewing, an etherial pop sound is a great moving power. Antony and The Johnsons / Anohni and Rhye are played a lot. I think the androgynous singer plays a strong part in keeping my designs pure while expressing a genderless aesthetic.
Uncon: In its solemn purity, what can inspire you to draw a new pattern?
BLACK KRSNA: A spiritual experience or meditation.
Uncon: What emotions do you commonly associate with your work? How do you believe your pieces help to physically represent those emotions?
BLACK KRSNA: Peace. Connection. Spirituality. Oneness.
I don't want to create garments for just men or women. I want to create garments for all. That is what BLACK KRSNA is about; for all. I want an individual to wear one of my garments and have a spiritual experience as a pure entity that isn't defined by sex. Look at their new silhouette in my garments, feel the power and become a dark child. Sync in, feel a connection, a heightened experience. Bring people together as one. No differences. People always ask me what my spiritual beliefs are. I believe in a higher energy and I hold true respect to that power, I believe we just need to be the best person we can be to each other and ourselves, love, connection, gratitude and always growing. Thats enough. The rest will come.
Uncon: When we look at your homeland and its natural habitat do you see a connection to this with your work?
BLACK KRSNA: I think the free flowing spirit of Australia is definitely shown throughout all my collections. The rawness, the natural fibres, the merino wools, the leather, this rough beauty is always intriguing and changing. Australia is such a mysterious, misunderstood and rebellious child of the world.
Uncon: Any new chapter needs new input, what would yours be?
BLACK KRSNA: I currently just returned home from Europe from showing my collection at Paris Fashion Week. While I was in Europe I travelled to Milan and Rome to see a good friend of mine. The cathedrals there were a massive influence. I actually felt "God" in these cathedrals, especially the Duomo di Milano and St Peters Basilica. The devotion that us humans have given in these architectural marvels actually blows my mind. We have built, carved and painstakingly detailed every corner on the concept of worshiping and showing gratitude to Divine. If we can do these masterpieces for god, then we can do anything. Humans really interest me in our passions and what we can do for devotion. I really obtained strength from seeing these cathedrals that I/We can do anything.
Uncon: Next to design, do you find time for other interests and developments?
BLACK KRSNA: Of course. However all interests draw back to my design life. I am a daily meditator, with daily self reflections; manifestations and gratitude is a strong morning ritual I posses. I think its very important to wake up in the morning and really think about who you are, what you are receiving, and what you want. I am always drawn to the water and due to living in Sydney I spend a lot time on the beach. The beach is very cleansing and its like I'm rebirthing every time. I am extremely lucky and surround myself with other highly creative and open minded individuals who are forever expanding my mind with their art, performances and insights. I think its also always very important to stay active and always do something that might be uncomfortable or unknown, its a key way to keep the mind evolving. Don't say no. Try, see, experiment and evolve.