In the midst of working on her upcoming album, FKA twigs has launched a new side project. AVANTgarden is what the singer-songwriter is referring to as an "Instagram Magazine," focusing on braided hairstyles.
The first issue, “ROOTS. SHOCK. BEAUTY.,” can now be viewed on her Instagram account via the social media platform's slide-show feature. The barbershop-inspired imagery highlights meticulous braided styles on a number of her friends.
In celebration of the inaugural issue of AVANTgarden, FKA twigs recently got together with Dazed to discuss the venture.
On the reason for choosing Instagram as a format:
"I’ve struggled to feel comfortable on social media as I’m a very private person and I find it hard to share the things I’m doing on an everyday level. It feels so intrusive and weird to me. But, if it’s something I can put creativity into and I can have certain amount of imagination and control around it, it makes me feel much more comfortable."
"I thought it would be much more impactful to create something like this, rather than to put out a picture with some words underneath it, or retweet something. I thought it would spark a conversation. I think for me it’s my way of interacting with people that follow me in an honest way without me cringing at myself. Because it is cringe sometimes. Why not create something that can bring an artistic community together?"
On where the images were taken:
"The pictures were taken in my house. Friends and everyone came down and we were all just laughing and cooking pasta, listening to music. It was a very chill day."
On who did the hairstyling:
"Rio Sreedharan. I’ve been working for him for just about a year now and it’s been really interesting working with a hair stylist who thinks so much about protecting my hair."
"When I first started my journey of being an artist four years ago, I had hair down to here (gestures) and through the years it just got shorter and shorter and shorter, because you’re having so many people touch it, style it and use heat. Working with Rio, he does protect my hair and he is literally so fast at braiding. He did all those hairstyles in the magazine in one day. Ten people with different things in seven hours."
On the aesthetic of the magazine:
"Like, I’m an alien (laughs), so that’s kind of the aesthetic I like. It was inspired by growing up and becoming a young lady in south London. You walk past the black barber shops and see the muted colours they have, the styles you could pick. The posters would always be old, faded and peeling off the wall. You’d pick ‘number four’. It was inspired by that."
"It seems quite romantic to me, the way those photos are taken. There’s always a certain amount of aspiration, romance and hope. Those pictures we’ve all grown up with are so strong and hopeful, inspired by romance and pride."
On other issues of AVANTgarden:
"I’m aiming to do one a month like a normal publication, maybe sometimes I’ll do more, sometimes I’ll do less. I think for me it’s a way for me to express myself without any rules and guidelines."
"Say, for example, when I was on the cover of some big publications, I had to wear what they gave me. I don’t know how it works, but if it’s somehow sponsored by Prada or something, then I have to wear that and that’s that. And I don’t always like that, that doesn’t always make me feel good. This is a way where I can create with my friends. Or it’s a way for me to express my sense of humour, like a lot of people don’t know but I’m really goofy. I’ve always been like it a bit, but it doesn’t always come through like in my work or my imagery. Like, if I want to do a whole issue on cats then I can do that."
"I think it’s also a way for me to create on a low budget again, like I’ve come from a very punk way of working. All my early music videos were just my friends setting up in my living room and stuff like that."
For more on FKA twigs' AVANTgarden, follow over to Dazed.