Say hello to Tiosk — combining the words T-shirt and kiosk, the small newspaper stands in Europe that sell daily goods. Tiosk is Highsnobiety’s new T-shirt shop, selling a series of tees designed exclusively for us. The first edition will feature T-shirts by Souvenir Official, GEOGRAPHICS, BEINGHUNTED., and Carne Bollente, as well as one of our own design. Tiosk edition one drops on August 7.
In moments when the globe’s attention isn’t being hijacked by President Trump, the future of the European Union is being discussed almost everywhere you look. That might mean musings on what the EU will look like post-Brexit (including what happens to the British and European fashion industries), youth-focused campaigns to increase turnout at the recent EU elections, or how the EU flag has become an unlikely fashion icon, with everyone from Études to Vetements putting their own spin on it.
With the UK’s spooky Halloween Brexit deadline looming, and a no-deal rupture increasingly likely since Boris Johnson became the British prime minister, Highsnobiety wanted to offer some of our favorite brands a platform to express their thoughts on what it means to be European today. So, for the launch of our new project Tiosk, we tapped Souvenir Official, Carne Bollente, BEINGHUNTED., and GEOGRAPHICS to design exclusive T-shirts on the theme of Europe, adding a design of our own to boot.
Ahead of the drop, which takes place on August 7 and runs until August 14, we hit up three European creatives to hear what the continent means to them. From feelings of solidarity and the importance of visa-free travel to the impact of Europe’s colonial history, read on to discover what Europe’s creative youth really thinks about the EU.
David Uzochukwu, photographer
Growing up in Austria, Luxemburg, and Belgium and now settled in Berlin, Germany, David Uzochukwu is a living embodiment of the European Union ethos.
The photographer came to prominence when he partnered with Nike and FKA twigs in 2017 at just 17 years old. Since then, his work has been featured in Vogue Italia, Numéro, and W. Most recently, Uzochukwu took images for EUnited’s European election campaign dedicated to increasing the youth vote.
While Uzochukwu is clearly supportive of the European project, his feelings toward the continent aren’t straightforward. Rather, he takes into account both the positive influence of the EU today and Europe’s dark past.
“I am lucky to have been born into the European project, our shot at intracontinental peace, communication, and growth. The European identity encompasses our multitudes, acknowledges our siblinghood,” he says. “Despite feeling this way, I am not proud. I get unbelievably enraged by Europe’s fundamental flaws. We have engaged in imperialism and colonialism, genocides and countless wars, and we have not learned our lesson. Shame and responsibility should be an essential part of our current identity.”
Laura Kaczmarek, photographer and skater
For Berlin-based Laura Kaczmarek, being European primarily means solidarity between people from different countries.
“I am proud and feel free as a European. My work allows me to work with so many people from other countries and, because of the EU, solidarity is easy,” she says. “I couldn’t be happier to travel [in a way that is] uncomplicated and super-fast. Open borders, our single currency, the communication and the cohesion within Europe — all this makes us grow together. In the last years, a lot has changed and the creative subculture is growing even more. From my own experience, I can say people in the EU support and push each other.”
Selma Kaci Sebbagh, creative consultant
Being European means a lot to Paris-based creative consultant and sneakerhead Selma Kaci Sebbagh. “Honestly, I have the feeling sometimes that I’m more a European citizen than a French citizen,” she says. “I feel close to so many countries that aren’t my own, like Italy, where my dad lives, or the UK, where I have tons of friends and family. It’s even cheaper and easier for me to go to London from Paris than to the south of France, for example.”
For those moving within the European Schengen Area, where borders can be crossed without passport checks, trips to countries that still require visas are a reminder of the restrictions most citizens around the world feel when they travel. “It’s a real privilege that we don’t ‘feel’ the borders in Europe because of our status. Trust me, every time I travel to the US I’m reminded of what it could be like,” Sebbagh says.