Under the Radar is Highsnobiety’s weekly celebration of upcoming talent. Each week, we’re spotlighting an emerging brand that’s bringing something new to the worlds of streetwear and fashion.
sex-positive adjective Having or promoting an open, tolerant, or progressive attitude towards sex and sexuality.
Carne Bollente is an independent brand from Paris. The brand’s MO focuses on sex-positivity with embroidered designs “to allow people to embrace their own sexuality and kinks.” The name, which translates to “boiled meat”, is taken from an Italian porno from the ’70s.
It’s a pretty big task for a brand that’s just three guys, Hijiri Endo, Théodore Famery and Agoston Palinko, none of whom expected to be in fashion initially.
The brand began, by co-founder Théodore’s admission, as a kind of joke when he and a few friends were talking about embroidery, and potential ways to subvert the traditional craft.
“We were talking about creating a contrast between a technique and a theme, and quite quickly we had the idea of sex, and we tried to find the best way to express it simply. From there it kind of snowballed.” And it really did.
Right now, Carne Bollente is stocked in stores across London, Berlin, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and New York, and most recently, dropped a collab with cult Japanese streetwear label UNDERCOVER.
Carne Bollente’s signature illustrations span hetero, queer, trans, and surreal sex acts, which are embroidered onto t-shirts, shirts, beanies, hoodies, tracksuits, pants, jackets and accessories.
Carne Bollente’s key pieces are the T-shirts, which depict sexual experiences with a surprising amount of nuance, humor and specificity. For example, the long-sleeve tee with two girls kissing in the rain under an umbrella with a flaming car in the background, or Carne Bollente’s take on the Oxford shirt; oversized and labelled “Pulp Friction”, the shirt depicts an anonymous threesome on the pocket in an emerald green, orange and purple colorway.
Sex and fashion can co-exist in interesting ways (see brands like Richardson), but Carne Bollente is elevating the conversation between the two worlds. While sex and other lascivious imagery has been used to fecklessly advertize, Carne Bollente’s deliberately innocuous representation of sex, (all kinds of sex) normalizes the subject matter, engendering dialog about a topic that has been historically highly censored. As Théodore tells us “some months ago we started to receive really positive messages from people about how they felt wearing Carne.”
After all, “sex sells”, but sex positivity is how you attract socially-conscious consumers in 2018.
Carne Bollente’s business operations are fairly nonchalant. “We are not the kind of company who has projects set in their mind ahead of time”, Théodore says, but the brand will be overhauling their production methods to a more environmentally-friendly one. “We’re really thinking about this idea because it’s important, in fact it’s normal, for a brand to be considerate of this now.”
As far as the next season goes, Théodore tells us the brand’s intersection of sexual liberty and streetwear will be looking at the sexual revolution of fifty years ago. “We found that the ’70s and the ’80s are a really important moment for sexuality, and the contrast between the two decades, which was made by the apparition of HIV, is something we would like to explore for our next collection.”
You can buy Carne Bollente on the brand’s webstore.