Alex Bortz is an accomplished photographer who has worked with artists like the A$AP Mob and Vince Staples, and is a frequent Highsnobiety contributor. Earlier this year, he expanded his portfolio to a new project called Ok, Ballet.
Ok, Ballet's first offerings comprised simple hoodies with elegant typeface graphics (it's actually Times New Roman, but Bortz adjusted the kerning), but he recently launched two new knitwear items, a striped cardigan and a graphic sweater, and hopes to use the brand as a platform to showcase work beyond product.
The name doesn't have a hugely convoluted story behind it. Bortz just liked how it sounded and the simplicity of it.
“I didn’t have some deep vision when I came up with the name,” he admits. But after some time, he became fixated on the idea of ballet and what it represents. “The nature of ballet—the dance form and production is interesting. It allows for a variety of themes, moods and tempos while maintaining a singular theme: dance. I want to portray different fantasy and sci-fi narratives through clothing and art.”
Ok, Ballet's knitwear is made in LA, where Bortz is based. He plans to keep manufacturing as close to him as possible, not just for convenience, but so he's relatively free to explore new ideas. Thanks to the relationship he has with his manufacturers, he's able to take risks at a relatively low cost—which means he's not beholden to high factory minimums.
Bortz says his first non-clothing foray for the brand will be an art show in February 2019. It will be a group show with different artists in a variety of mediums. The diversity speaks to how wide Bortz wants to keep the playing field for Ok, Ballet. Right now he may be toying with fantasy, sci-fi, and a bit of a psychological horror narrative (just check out the eerie clown on the jacquard sweater), but he's open to evolving and bringing in new inspirations.
“I don’t want to put too many constraints on the brand right now,” says Bortz. “I'm thinking the next theme might be psychics and mysticism. It could go anywhere right now—and that’s what’s fun.”
Now check out the debut collection from Ok, Ballet.