Like I've said the people I encountered during my journey in Taipei, all of it happened on open invitation. I found myself hanging out with those guys through Mickey, he kindly invited me to join him and their crew the following day because they were going to shoot the new video campaign for Taiwanese streetwear brands PrettyNiceLTD & DemarcoLAB capsule collaboration using the modeling talent from the skate crew TPOC. I followed them all day long shooting with my own camera and enjoying myself through all the way. I wanted to know more about Warren, the launch of his brand PrettyNice and how was the streetwear scene in Taipei like...
à Taipei, une discussion avec Warren from PrettyNiceLTD.
Interview & Photography Farade Nicolas
Can you tell a little bit of your background?
My name is Warren, I’m the founder of PrettyNice. I used to be involved & participate in the underground music scene as a rapper in Taiwan. I also released an album. As for the clothing part, I started out working for a clothing brand my friend owned for a short period of time after I was discharged from the military, it was a horrible memory.
Did you know at an early stage that you would become a fashion designer and start your own label?
When I was discharged, I started to look for a job, I got a call from an old friend who asked me to help out on his brand so, I started to work for his company. After that, he basically stole all my ideas and created his own stuff under the name of Hater Snapback. He quickly started making money from it. Then, I decided to cut ties with him and turned down his offer to run Hater Snapback together, which led to my departure from his company.
Tell me about your logo, how did the idea come up?
Even though I had integrated multiple elements in my clothing brand, the design of our logo is completely original. We first came up with the name and continuously made adjustments to the design. The original idea was to create a logo that is able to comprise all elements, which is why there are four colors in the “NICE” lettering, in this way, I was able to substitute all the things, I was concerned about the colors. Later on, I realized that the idea was similar to the logo from MTV when I came across a video clip.
What’s the story behind the name, PrettyNice?
Initially, I came up with many names, but since it was difficult to attend to all the things that needed to be thought about I felt it was too stressful to choose the name by myself. Originally I wanted to name the brand PROPER but there was already a sneaker store in California named PROPER LBC, so I asked a friend to help me and he comes up with ideas. He wrote down around 50-100 names on a piece of paper, and I eventually picked PRETTYNICE.
What was your first successful design?
I think it is the Bogart Bear collection if you consider the attention received and sales number.
And at first, did you only made Tees or did you started your collection with Sew and Cuts pieces?
In fact, we didn’t make t-shirts in the beginning, but a lot of hats, crushers, and baseball caps with special materials and fabric. The first actual Sew and Cut piece we did was the Hockey Hoodie a year later.
What was your next step for moving Prettynice forward?
We plan to initiate more subculture-oriented projects by ourselves. Since we mostly played the role of collaborator or participatory, we rarely host our own events or projects. Since I had no experience in making a garment in the preliminary stage of our brand, we had been operating the brand and acquiring the knowledge and techniques relative to clothing simultaneously. And I think it is time for us to host more events and campaigns this year.
When did you feel the brand start to really develop in the streetwear community?
I feel it has never been fully developed if there is actually a streetwear community in Taiwan.
When was created CRIB by Prettynice & what was your idea behind it? It looks like an experiment studio.
We are still unable to operate a physical shop financially. However, since our office is close to the center of Ximending area, we decided to simply clear out a space for retail when we remodeled our office. We came up with many ideas to apply the space the best way we could think, but it was still a bit far from an actual, professional store. Hence, we called it CRIB by PRETTYNICE, meaning it was our home and shelter, raw uncut!
What is your concept of style?
I think my style is the extension of my team. We make things that we think are cool, those are beautiful things that we love, which explains why it involves a lot of music, movies, people & animes related contents that you can see in our style.
What in your opinion is the main element to be successful in fashion nowadays?
Stars and celebrities perhaps. It bores me, to be honest. The “Likes” on social media has changed everything, and the real creativity is expunged. However, if you complain about it, it makes you look like you do it because you are unable to win.
Do you think Taiwanese fashion scene has changed in the past few years?
Yes, the fashion scene in Taiwan is growing stronger and stronger, which is very exciting for me.
Can you talk about your interest in animes and music, and how you communicate these motifs through different designs?
I was a kid growing up under the influence of comic books, animation, and music like everybody else. But I had also developed my interest in Art and went to numerous exhibitions. From seeing many perfectly combine contemporary culture and artistic creation has broadened my horizon; it makes me feel that I could make garments an instrument to express artistically on clothing.
Today many creative people use social networks and the Internet, in general, to showcase their work and get their name around. What is your relationship with social media?
I am horrible at this!
When we met you were shooting this new collaboration with DeMarcoLAB, could you tell me what was the inspiration behind this new collection?
The design ideas of this collaborative project derived from the music video “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest. I unintentionally came across the cuts from this music video from 1992, and it was in accordance with my interest in contemporary lo-fi style. Therefore, we started with the elements in the music video, and applied our technique of deconstruction and rebuilding, in order to reinterpret the great work of ATCQ by doing what we are good at.
What are some of the challenges you have faced with the brand?
It is difficult for us to fully convey the creative concepts of our brand. There are still many more things we would like to do yet remains incapable of doing. This has been troubling us since the beginning of our brand until now.
What’s next for you and PrettyNice?
We have been invited by renowned fashion designer SANKUANZ to jointly create a collection and display them at Paris Fashion Week. Also, we will start working with some artists we admire and collaborate on joint collections.
What is your favorite food and drink in Taipei??
I am a vegetarian, and there is so much good vegan food in Taipei. As for drink, I like all kinds of alcohols mixed and provided at The Fucking Place.
What is your favorite cafe or restaurant in Taipei?
Restaurant: Burger & Co. Café: Wildflower Bookstore