California label Advisory Board Crystals isn't home right now. Remington Guest and Heather Haber founded their crystal-infused fashion brand in the backset of an uberPool (how LA!) in 2015, but they've been stuck in New York for most of the pandemic.
The last few years have saw ABC hollow out a fashion niche for, well, crystal-lovers, but also discerning shoppers looking to advance their understanding of the world through clothing. The 2019 collaboration with Wikipedia hit that point home: ABC says stay stylish, but more vitally, stay curious.
Guest and Harber have been tending to the SS21 collection — "A Study in Camo" — while in lockdown. The collection includes a range of shorts and long-sleeved tees, sweaters, and earthy, floral, tie-dye, and fine china-patterned jackets. It's a conceptual camouflage made for the label's native Cali; something that would allow the wearer to blend in among the rolling nature, quaint vintage shops, and '60s Hippie movement remnants.
ABC wants you to learn from clothing, and SS21 wants you to understand that good camouflage isn't merely about making yourself more invisible. It's about protection from other invisible forces, like the electro magnetic waves that are emitting from your smartphone 24/7.
We caught up with Guest and Harber to find out more.
Tell us about the new collection?
We have always done these "A Study In..." collections. We wanted to revisit a study in camouflage, and look at it from a different perspective. We tried to interpret what camouflage is outside of the typical fabrication that we think of as "camo" and dive into a more conceptual meaning.
We look at it from the perspective of how humans use camouflage today, or how could they? What's the threat? And that's what led to this pulse pocket invention, which protects you from the EMFs emitting from your phone. So it was sort of like, "How do you camouflage yourself from radiation that emanates from a WiFi device or your phone that's always on you?" We're paranoid about what comes out of a mobile device. All the radiation and the EMFs.
So they're bad for you?
Yeah. There are people who think it's the worst thing in the world, and there are people who are like, "It's not that bad." But if you look on the back of any device, there is a warning, especially when you buy an iPhone or anything that's wireless. Some places take it more seriously than others. In France, they have to put something specific on the new iPhone box because the laws are much tougher. It's like when you buy cigarettes — they have to print certain warnings on the package.
I'm not an expert, but we attempt to look at it from both a conceptual and safety point of view. We're not doctors, but Heather's brother is an engineer, and there was a girl that he knew that always kept her phone in her back pocket. She actually got cancer there. So this is the kind of thing that can happen with EMFs... We're not making any crazy claims, but the protection is something that works to shield you from them.
Perhaps in 50 years we'll be like, "They used to put cell phones in their pockets without protection?"
100 percent. Those are the kinds of things where there was not enough data to understand the true effects at the time. Phones, in our opinion, is the biggest one.
And are there any crystals in this collection?
Always. We did a crystal-infused mandala tie-dye. That to us is also very camouflage. I wanted it on mandala because it has the most mystical pattern. It feels like a pattern that helps you disappear into something because the mandala's a circular shape. It's our special process that we normally do.
Your brand’s message is "We are here to you advise you." What can you advise on, though?
We have a literal advisory hotline. When you enter a crystal shop they're always like, "What do you need? How can we help you?" That's a part of how Advisory Board, our name, came to be. Because crystals have these powers or these characteristics, there needs to be an expert to advise you on what you should get and what stone will help you.
In a more direct way, we like to inform people of things that we're thinking about and feeling, critiquing, going through. Last year, we did a capsule called "Critical Thinking," which was our way of addressing what is going on right now without directly telling anyone how to think or what to talk about. Instead of doing a T-shirt that says, "Go vote!" we said, "Think about stuff." We try to combine everything into a collection that people can relate with, then take it down a path.