PRESTON DOUGLAS IS AN AMERICAN ARTIST PRIMARILY WORKING WITH FASHION DESIGN, PAINTING, PERFORMANCE ART AND DIGITAL MEDIA. CHECK OUT MORE OF HIS WORK ON HIS SITE, HERE.
Share a little bit on how fashion became your particular medium of choice? Where was the turning point for you, from tradition art mediums to streetwear?
"Fashion is such an interesting medium because it’s inherently tied to human connection."
My collections are about so much more than the clothes. Fashion is such an interesting medium because it’s inherently tied to human connection. When someone wears a Preston Douglas piece, I want them to feel connected to the emotion that went into the respective collection. Menswear in particular is like a blank canvas. Men’s dress codes are pretty standardized and I see these typical ways of dressing in new lights every time I sit down to design, depending on what I’m going through and what I’m inspired by.
As of recent, I’ve really enjoyed having fresh flowers in the same colors of the collection that I’m designing. I study other designers, artists, painters, musicians, and creative’s work on a daily basis, which all sits in my subconscious. And when I finally sit down to design, then all of it comes out. I really love and identify with a number of manic artists, such as Alexander McQueen and Mark Rothko, when I’m sketching out a collection late at night.
Who is the Preston Douglas clientele, to you?
I have such a wide range of clientele that it’s hard to pin down who they are. The one thing that all of them have in common is they connect with and appreciate the creative intent that goes into the garment that they purchase.
I noticed that you have created gallery art pieces in conjunction to the collection, what sort of textiles did you work with for those fashion prints and why?
The DISINTEGRATION paintings consist of 16 works on paper, 9 works on canvas, 5 works on tarp, and one object. Painting on tarp is quite interesting because the acrylic paint does not fully stick to the material and it slowly chips away as it ages, and will completely disintegrate over time.
I know it it probably difficult to gauge, but if you had to choose, which are your top three favorite creations of DISINTEGRATION?
My top three favorite pieces from DISINTEGRATION are the print raver jacket, black zipper raver jacket, and green patchwork raver pants. Both of these jackets are unlike anything I've ever seen before and the fit is absolutely superb. They are both statement pieces, but can be styled in quite a wearable way. I love the patchwork pants, as I am quite obsessed with the idea of patchworking, and I have never seen any pants created in this manner.
How did you find yourself using off-beat fabrics, like tarp? And was that one in particular, difficult to manipulate?
I created the tarp pieces after making paintings on some tarps. I thought it would be funny, due to the impractical nature of the material, as a commentary on how many luxury pieces, that steal a runway show or magazine’s attention – are great to look at – yet completely are unwearable. Creating pieces out of the material is similar to working with leather. Once it’s cut, there’s not much room for editing; since it has no stretch.
Excluding the use of tarp, what other textiles did you use for these garments here and why?
I used lightweight blue and green poly peachskin, due to the lightweight nature. Many of my customers live in Houston, Texas, where it gets quite hot. I used two types of grey plaid suiting fabric, because I love taking traditional menswear fabric and perverting/reinventing it somehow, in each collection. The lines within the fabric also echo back to an aspect in why I created this collection in the first place; representing how I create set boundaries with expectations. One of my favorite fabrics to work with each collection is poly gabardine, because it has such a heavy look, but is not too warm and wearable it in Houston.
I know you brought tarp into the mix for this collection; have you used untraditional textiles as heavily in previous work?
This is my first time using truly non-traditional / unconventional fabrics. It just happened so naturally. I don't necessarily seek out crazy materials to work with on garments, but I do in my paintings. That then carries over into my clothing and they both inspire each other.
Compared to previous works, where do you think you grew the most here?
I grew in every respect with DISINTEGRATION. From the gallery show, runway show, lookbook, and the editorials I have shot. If I had to choose one, it would be a tie between the gallery layout and actual paintings themselves, as well as how I went about doing a runway show for the collection.
What elements of DISINTEGRATION do you think resonate with the streetwear buyer?
The color palette, rebellious nature of the collection, and wearability of the basic/lower priced pieces.
What is the one feeling/emotion you think the garments of DISINTEGRATION induces most, for you and for one of your customers?
For me, it's that feeling of expecting something and not receiving it. Each customer probably reacts differently, but I have had a number of people react with a sense of awe/amazement.
What was the very root of this campaigns inspiration for you?
I was seeing a number of designers collaborating with painters/artists on pieces for a lookbook or runway show, as well as designers using old French houses, with classic paintings in the background. I have never seen any other designer use their own body of work within a lookbook shoot. I also wanted to bring the whole collection together. In the SAINT JOHNS collection, I had a gallery show in a different space as the runway show, and really wanted to create a full experience in each image for DISINTEGRATION.
As an artist communicating through fashion, do you find it difficult to present your work in a time oriented fashion season or do you prefer to operate on your own timeline?
Because I sell my work direct-to-consumer, I am able to work on my own timeline. At the end of the day, that’s how I create as well. I can’t force anything. That being said, I could definitely create 12 collections a year if I had the infrastructure do so and operate on a schedule like Louis Vuitton does. It’s nice to not be accountable to any retailers at this point in my career – since I do not know what the immediate future holds – but I’m sure that will change as my business continues to grow and the right opportunities present themselves.
"What I do is much more than just the clothes. It will take more time for people to truly understand what and how I create, but as time goes on they will get it. I’m in it for the long term, not a quick short term gain."
What do you think separates Preston Douglas within the street market?
The streetwear market is mainly about clothes, at the end of the day. Yes, it’s roots are in artistic collaboration, but that in of itself has reached an all time high of saturation: after the prime example of Supreme x LV. What I do is much more than just the clothes. It will take more time for people to truly understand what and how I create, but as time goes on they will get it. I’m in it for the long term, not a quick short term gain.
What are you ultimately aiming to translate with fashion? In other words, what are you trying to say to people, most?
Good question. Each collection has its own points of what I’m trying to say, although it’s more of a conversation with myself, but as a whole of what I do: it would be to find a way to deal with your darkness. Preston comes from the meaning “priest-like”, and Douglas comes from the meaning “of a dark stream”. And that’s who I am as a person and as an artist. My method of coping with the negative sides of life just happens to be creating collections; making art.
All images courtesy of Preston Douglas.
Is theres any other information you would like to share with our streetwear enthusiasts that would continue to inspire them?
I’ll end on this note. The day I made the decision to go for it and make my first full collection I heard this from one of my mentors. He said, “If you have an idea that keeps coming back to you time after time, and you lose sleep over it, then you have to go for it. Or live with the regret of having never tried, for the rest of your life.” That really hit me hard and is a big reason why I’m speaking with you today.
Tyler J. Drinnen, is the Founder and Editor in Chief of iTEM MAGAZINE,
a freelance fashion writer, poet,
photographer and abstract visual content producer.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from Sonoma State University, where he wrote a weekly Opinion Column For
The Star, dabbled with his own radio podcast format, titled Saturday Nite Scandal, and helped to create one of the first of 25 Professional Student Lead PR Firms in the USA.
From there on, he continued his work by interning with Sonoma Discoveries Magazine and then shortly after wrote and interned for Fashion School Daily, where he solidified his love for feature writing and working with emerging talents from around the world.
In December of 2016, he received an Honorary Master of Arts in Fashion Journalism from the Academy of Art University. And what an achievement that was, to be the first in his program to have graduated a full semester early. Bringing him to four degrees in a short five and a half years, nothing will stop him from bringing art to the eyes of many.
He has worked in the fashion industry for nearly a decade, from commercial retail management to corporate level ghost writing. Now - he the poet - T.J.D. takes his life public with the independent launch of the urban California lifestyle based fashion-art movement, iTEM MAGAZINE: A Platform For Rising Artists.