Reilly (@hey_reilly) is an illustrator, graphic designer and artist (he also creates some of the dankest topical memes for Highsnobiety‘s Instagram). Reilly’s understanding of branding and corporate semantics, tied in with an ability to render fashion as ironically as possible, has led him to Fendi, where he worked on their FW18 show.
So how did a meme-maker get involved with a luxury Italian fashion house? It feels like a sign of the times, so we caught up with Reilly to learn more about the power of logos and why it’s fun to fuck with them from time to time.
Hey Hey_Reilly, so how did this collaboration with Fendi come about?
Silvia Venturini Fendi (Creative Director of Fendi) found my work on Instagram. I had been working on a personal project called FAKENEWS (below), mashing up brand logos that clashed in a messed-up way. I made a piece using Fendi spliced up with FILA which Silvia found and reposted to her IG account. Initially when she got in touch I thought it was to slap a lawsuit on me! But she really loved it and asked me if I wanted to collaborate with her and the Fendi menswear brand, to which I said HELL YES.
What exactly were you doing for this show/collection?
I was asked to create a collection of artworks plus a statement print to be used throughout the collection, from clothing and accessories to invites and set design.
Did you get a chance to look into Fendi’s archives? Did anything strike you about the history of the label?
The simplicity and power of its FF logo! Together with Silvia, the stylist Julian (Julian Ganio, Fendi Stylist) and I tossed ideas around and sparked off each other, it was totally frantic but with a real positive energy – actually really good fun!
Silvia gave me creative freedom to do whatever I wanted to the iconic FF Fendi logo, which was a total dream, but at the same time, well, daunting. We looked at the history of the brand and its logo plus the fabrications associated with the brand to start with which was fascinating, and then I literally ripped up the assembled printouts and stuck it all back together, inspired by the Bowie and William S. Boroughs’ cut-up technique.
Fendi really emphasized its monogram/logo this season. As an artist who deconstructs branding, which logos do you think are the strongest in terms of design, identity and cultural impact?
For me one factor to a logo’s strength is whether I can recognize it simply by color, such as McDonald’s, UPS and IKEA. Another factor is whether the brand can retain their power as a signal even after being reduced for simplicity, like the beautiful FF logo for Fendi, CC for Chanel or LV for Louis Vuitton.
We’ve seen a lot of fashion labels flip their own logos in a way that streetwear has been doing for decades (i.e. Gucci’s bootleg tees). Why do you think the trend of brands deconstructing/satirizing their own image is so prevalent right now?
Brands that can riff and play on their usually “untouchable” symbols of identity in a way that sits somewhere outside the dull restrictions of the “brand bible” and still telegraph their power and status…that freedom feels new, and it feels knowing but also liberating and light.
What are you/would you like to be working on at the moment?
I launched a Reilly signature T-shirt collection in Paris recently which was pretty sweet. I’ve got a few more collabs on the go (hush hush) plus I’ve just been commissioned by Le Bon Marché (Rive Gauche) to take part in their upcoming exhibition. “Let’s Go Logo,” launching at Paris Fashion Week.
Dream job? I’d love to collaborate on a film or animation project, and have always fancied art directing a mad credits sequence for a movie. I’m a total freak for perfumes and aftershaves, from the concept to the scent to the bottle to the label to the packaging, so to create a signature scent, that would be a blast.
Follow @hey_reilly on Instagram here and stay tuned for more from the artist and all around creative right here on Highsnobiety.
- Main & Featured Image: Hey Reilly