Reconnecting with One of Our Favorite Designers: ASHER LEVINE
By Tyler Malone
Asher Levine is a cinematic designer. It’s not that Levine’s NYFW designs don’t belong on the runway–they do–but they’d feel just as relevant on the set of some sci-fi film. It’s no wonder that The Matrix and Alien are two of his favorite movies, his design aesthetic feels part and parcel with those cinematic worlds. His looks are the science fashion to those films’ science fiction. We caught up with Asher Levine again this NYFW because we just can’t get enough of his outrageously chic sci-fa.
Tyler Malone: How have you been since last we caught up with you? What have you been up to?
Asher Levine: We moved into a new workspace which allows us to make more and experiment more. We’ve also made a creative directing agency as a wing to the label. Our first client was Caterpillar Footwear. I creative directed their AW13 campaign. It was very exciting to work with another brand and create a compelling vision for their product. My goal is to find innovative marketing strategies, particularly with augmented reality and mobile media. You should come to the new space!
TM: I’ll definitely have to come by soon. When I spoke with you in 2011, you told me that biology is a main reference point in your designs. Do you still feel that way? How has that shaped the directions you move in artistically?
AL: I love biology and everything about it. My favorite part is that the references are endless and new discoveries in science are made daily. We are, however, refining our approach to menswear, incorporating more tailored garments. It’s my new fetish.
TM: You recently created a killer sci-fi jumpsuit for Rita Orr’s new music video for her single “Radioactive.” Tell me about the inspiration behind that outfit, and how that came about.
AL: We started talking to her stylist Jason Rembert, who’s amazing, and he wanted a cyber-sexy bodysuit. It was perfect timing because we just created a cool technique in our molded fabrication pattern from SS13. We used the same texture and made a whole suit, I’m very happy how it came out.
TM: Last Fashion Week, you made a top ten list for us of your favorite movies. Both The Matrix and Alien were on there, and I can see those films in your design aesthetic. In fact, each time I see your clothes on the runway or in a video or at an event, they always feel so cinematic. Each line seems like they belong on the set of a new film. Do you think of your clothes in terms of story and cinema in addition to a more purely aesthetic and fashion lens?
AL: It’s really the entire world that I try to envision. I do like how the designs feel consistent, it makes me feel as if I am doing my job as a designer where I embody some sort of direction and aesthetic. I’d love to actually make some sickening clothes for sci-fi movies one of these days, which again, is a major goal in this coming year.
TM: Tell me about the line you’ll be showing this week at NYFW. What are the inspirations? And what new directions have you found yourself venturing into?
AL: We decided to take houndstooth, a classic pattern, and reinterpret it in texture rather than color contrast. Also, a major influence on the label is from legendary songwriter Jim Steinman. He’s a friend and patron of the label and he has continuously influenced us with his dark aesthetic and love for bats. We have also partnered with Phone Halo, a company that specializes in smart phone communication, and we have begun to embed computer chips in our accessories and premium apparel that communicate with your phone and alert you if you have left them behind. You can even ring from the jacket or accessory so you can find your phone!
TM: Lastly, you did a women’s capsule for Goldsmith Mannequins, are you thinking of doing a women’s line anytime soon?
Asher Levine is a fashion designer who moved to NYC in 2006. Soonafter, early in his career, his experimental outfits were adapted by many nightlife personalities and could be seen across the New York underground club circuit. Asher’s debut Fall/Winter 2010 collection came shortly after his graduation from Pace University, at which point Asher started creating outfits for various prominent performance artists such as Lady Gaga and Sam Sparro. He’s been taking the fashion world by storm ever since.
Written by Tyler Malone
Photography by Amber De Vos
Design by Marie Havens
Asher Levine, Asher Levine SS13, Pier 81, NYC, NY, September 9, 2012, Photography by Amber De Vos for PatrickMcMullan.com