Pretty in Pink: Cassette Playa Talks Nike, WAGs
Carri Mundane and shoe; ice sculpture. Photos courtesy of Nike.
When London-based fashion designer Carri Mundane (better known as Cassette Playa) was a child, she drew monsters. Today, with platinum blond hair and thick plastic-frame glasses as her talismans, Carri’s signature pop streetwear features day-glo “Triangle Monsters” and larger-than-life Sonic the Hedgehogs, all of which come descend the runway on street-cast models. This week she unveiled her first publicly available collaboration with Nike, a classic Blazer in pink with a relatively subtle reptile skin, with a purple sole. On Saturday she hosted a party at Nike’s new Soho store to celebrate, fully equipped with an ice sculpture.
Alex Gartenfeld: How did the collaboration with Nike begin?
Carri Mundane: I made the first shoes for Nike for my Spring/Summer 2007 catwalk show. That collection was called “Future Primitive” and it was inspired by the idea of a gang of skater who are adopting ancient rituals form the jungle, Amazonian hunting rituals and stuff like that. I imagined that they use their skills to map the city and skate it. I was thinking of skate culture from the 80s and 90s, skate videos with these colors that are kind of sci fi. The shoes are like a sci-fi lizard.
AG: It’s a bright color, but a relatively subtle reptile.
CM: The skin is subtle. In the collection we did color changing fabric.
AG: Do these change color?
CM: These don’t. The color changing that was based on a chameleon. I really want a chameleon.
CM: They’re cool. They’re not scary.
AG: Do you have pets?
CM: No. I was going to buy a scorpion the other day. I really want one. They can’t bite you-it’s all for show. They have those big claws but they can’t really do anything.
AG: Does you audience change when you design for Nike?
CM: I wouldn’t say that I change what I do. Everything that I do, I do on a mass level. Even if the work has a lot of concept and layers, I feel like I want it to be understood on a mass level. It’s like a type of communication that is primitive but also easy to read. And Sonic the Hedgehog, YouTube-the references in the work should be quite clear.
AG: You used to pull Nikes when you worked as a stylist.
CM: Yes, I worked as a stylist before I started working as a designer. And I always used Nike. They were my favorite brand.
AG: Did you wear it?
CM: It was pretty much the only brand I wore. It was always the most important brand to me. And there a lot of brands are stuck, like retro, Nike is always moving forward, and is technology oriented. For me, that’s my focus.
AG: Were you a tomboy?
CM: Yeah I was a tomboy. Do you know what a Chav is?
AG: Yes, but what do they wear? What do they like? Do they like Victoria Beckham?
CM: They do like Nike, but I don’t think they like Victoria Beckham. She’s from Essex-my family is from Essex. She’s kind of an Essex girl.
AG: Where is Essex?
CM: Essex is on the outskirts of London, the next county over. My dad’s family is all from the East End of London.and cockney and stuff. But most of them have moved out and into Essex. All the footballer’s wives and stuff live in Essex. WAGs: wives and girlfriends.
AG: Does each footballer get one wife and one girlfriend?
CM: I don’t know I don’t hang out with that many footballers. That’s what I should do. I’d love to be a WAG.
AG: For this party that you’re having tonight, did you have any specifications?
CM: Yeah! Did I!
AG: Doritos and French fries?
CM: I didn’t get specific about the food. I’m not difficult but I’m very specific about what I want.
AG: So what did you have to have?
CM: Well, I’m really into the ice sculpture. I’m really glad that happened. And music. It’s important to have good music. The ice sculpture is also future primitive; it’s this kind of sci-fi sculpture that’s been crafted in a very primitive way. It’s a Cassette Playa Christmas—Christmas on another planet, or in the future.
Nike Sportswear’s Soho store is located at 21 Mercer St.