Interview Fashion Artists and Creative Directors Vin and Omi

Vin and Omi are Fashion Designers, Artists and Creative Directors they have a varied career which allows them to work with interesting people. Watch out for their latest RTW collection coming soon (@vinandomi.)

Who are Vin and Omi?

Vin is from England and Omi from Singapore we have been working together for over 10 years now.

What first brought the two of you together as a partnership?

A shared taste in contemporary art – my sculpture and Omi’s photography and art gave us a common bond and the desire to collaborate. We had both done things individually and successfully, but found double the energy and creativity when working together

What part of the fashion world does your work and designs fit into?

We are workaholics and have multiple things on the go. We are both artists and continue to exhibit under psuedonyms to keep this separate. I also manage large scale art installations and sculpture internatioally, I just consulted on a large installation for Kensington Palace and am an art consultant to contemporary private collections. (

To kick start our fashion business, Omi cut his teeth making latex clothes that were commissioned as part of Dior collections and other major designers. We started out under a label called Squirky and made accessories and mainly latex wear. We then morphed into Vin and Omi and we have been working in Hollywood on films, Vegas shows, dressing high profile individuals, we do a lot of work for music vid’s and musicians. But our new focus is our new ready to wear collection, we are just doing the final shoots for our new website and we’re really pleased with the results. We’ve had great fun doing the sets for the shoots. The collection will have a light and dark side and we have designed shoes and accessories to complement the clothes. A very small selection of our work is at Vin and Omi. We’re also flattered that we have been in London’s fashion museum twice.

Our roots are in clubland so we are also launching a club kids collection through our sister label @vofashion

To keep our minds flowing, we also co-design public artworks, products and hire ourselves out as Art/Creative Directors. We’re halfway through designing the interiors for a huge LA house and are creative advisors to a new film in LA and have just designed a range of street furniture.

But we intend to calm down and focus on developing fashion collections. We also both advise and support other artists and designers ( when we have the time !). To date we’ve had over 100 (paid) interns and we keep in touch with all of them and help them whenever possible. We really believe this is an important part of our business.

Talk to us a bit more about your new ‘ready to wear’ collection, what’s it all about?

This new collection has changed a few times. We decided not to follow the usual pattern of seasons that the fashion industry likes to force you to do. We will be doing collections as and when we like; much more logical from a smaller company POV. The collection has two parts a light and a dark. The light collection is based around moths for inspiration taking the wing forms and patterns. The dark collection is much more moody and futuristic and metallic. Both parts of the collection are currently being shot with models on sets and to tell a visual story. We creatively direct the whole thing. We hope the collection will be out late summer — if we don’t make any more changes !

What kind of work goes into a creative directing job, with a project such as the LA house your currently working on?

There is an awful lot of planning which goes into interior design. The client is a well known Hollywood personality. We are trying to nudge the creative boundaries a little ! We are currently working with the architects to work out the parameters of what is possible, next will be detailed concepts which will include all interior textiles, colourways, furniture, kitchen design and even down to the landscaping. This is a great project as they have a very large budget and within reason are letting us ‘go a little nuts’. We are currently designing the interior of their swimming pool room and the tiling of the pool. We are proposing a futuristic pool room Blade Runner meets the Borg – let’s see if they go for it ! The most important element of this project ( and indeed many others ) is getting to know your client inside out and back to front – then miss-communication is limited

We have been employed to creatively direct and design all things from public art projects, to town planning to products to productions. if you make your practice fluid and make sure you float among different groups of people, you can make things happen outside of the box.

Which projects made it into the London Fashion Museum? Can you give us a quick overview of these projects?

We were chosen to exhibit in the Little Black Dress exhibition which showcased iconic little black dresses from the last few decades. A black latex dress we designed and made for Grayson Perry ( the transvestite Turner Prize winning artist ) was chosen. This was flatteringly shown alongside dresses from the worlds top designers such as John Galliano and the dress Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffanys.

We also exhibited in the exhibition Undercover: The Evolution of Underwear. Here we exhibited an inflatable bra and shoulder pads, a crystal corset and supplied the focal piece for the show which was a honeymoon gown for an American client made out of hundreds of pairs of black lace panties. It was topped off with a boa made from bras. The client had wanted something unique and sexy for her honeymoon!

Crystal Corset

Latex inflatable bra and shoulders

Honeymoon underwear dress

Who were the fashion designers and styles you fell in love with and were inspired growing up? Has this changed over time?

We are mainly inspired by artists rather than other designers. We collect street art and contemporary art and most of our friends tend to be artists. There is and has been no one designer that has inspired either of us as they all have their ups and down, there are of course many greats that have produced great work. Both of us were and are inspired by lots of different things – this random, lack of focus keep us fluid and .. never bored. We love artists that don’t sell out and stay true to themselves. We are inspired by wonders such as Feral is Kinky and artist Laura Keeble both tackle the world head on in their own way. But often you meet designers and artists who’s work you really admire but you feel dissapointed with them as people. Many geniuses can be absolute shits, devoid of morals – this puts you off liking their work.. so maybe it’s better not to meet them !

Which designs and labels are really at the top of their game at the moment? & Which people should we be looking out who are under the radar at the moment?

Us ! Hopefully our new Vin and Omi and VO clubwear collection will fix us on the map. There are many up and coming exciting designers that have something special going on. Shoe designer Natacha Marro is always producing startling work Natachamarro , Other designers that have something good coming are Fam Ivroll, Emma Bell has a quirky magic and of course Iris Van Herpen has much more to come. We also love the new kids on the block that slide in their own take on creativity musician and artist @JesseSaintJohn of Blokofficial and stylist David Motta are explosive thinkers – there are many new exciting creatives coming up.

Does working with the bigger named clients such as high profile actors, labels and celebrities put more pressure on your work or is it something you enjoy to do?

It’s a mixed bag. It always rests on how easy the client is to work with. We’ve just finished involvement in a film that was very tricky, with 3 remakes of the costumes as the Director changed his mind a lot. Working with some high profile celebrities can be very tricky. They are usually fine, but they have layers of advisers hanging around who don’t often give the best advice!

We have turned down jobs where the celebrity is too diva-ish. We work with some little known musicians and actresses just because we like them as people. But generally it has to always be a juggling act based on if the hassle you can get from working with the superstars is worth it !

Over time you become much less impressed with high profile clients and can objectively weigh up which job is right to work on.

Pamela Anderson’s UK debut pantomime performance – creative concept and costume Vin and Omi

Debbie Harry from Blondie wearing Vin and Omi

Victoria Asher from American band Cobra Starship bronze latex stage outfit

How much of a factor is social media and networking for your business?

It never used to be and we didn’t give it any thought – even didn’t bother having a decent website as we are so busy. But now we are thinking about a commercial collection we are focussing more on reaching people. But we don’t want to get too hysterical about it. …we haven’t even bothered with facebook yet .. that’s next I suppose.

What tips would you offer for people planning ahead for their fashion designs in autumn/winter and beyond in 2013?

For new designers – advice would be to know yourself – and then do it again…know yourself. If you can feel who you are as designers then you stand a chance of people buying into you. If you don’t know then you run the risk of being anybody. With fashion a unique perspective is king. Don’t be afraid of criticism and really the most important advice is trust that immediate gut instinct you have .. not the thoughts ten minutes later when you have reasoned and scared yourself out of being yourself.

Follow Vin and Omi Online and @vinandomi on Twitter.