L’art pour l’art. Postcards from Athens and Tokyo by Westward Bound, Latex Clothing Designers.
Westward Bound is much more than a clothing store. We have an ethos for cultural-engagement and adore the creative arts; this stems from a lifelong involvement and love of art, music, dance, style, architecture, great food and a passion for life.
Whilst we excel in original latex clothing fashion design, we are defined, to a large part, by our use of portraiture and beautiful imagery. In line with this we have developed and built-up, over a period of 35 years, strong international relationships with leading artists, models and photographers. The result being that we hold a staggering archive of photographs. Added to this, our minds are buzzing and brimming with new ideas and exciting ongoing collaborations.
Whilst digital media is efficient it has given rise to a wider failing to produce works of textural-lustre and bodily-substance, we look back with fond memories to the days when our own work appeared in print on a regular basis.
To address what we consider to be a shortfall in our cultural output, we have embarked upon and are developing a series of art postcards. These cards have a limited print run of 4,000 of each design and are not for sale. They are being given randomly and complimentary with every order. This notion floats our boat as it involves direct creativity and follows ideas stemming from the 19th century French philosophy of “l’art pour l’art” (art for art’s sake). It is best to reflect that Westward Bound was never set up as a business, it was a hobby that grew. We are by nature, beasts of the aesthete.
Whilst we have a necessary and professional grip on the world we have created, it is fun to keep our cultural-input-heads brimming.
As with the graffiti artists of our time, we strongly reject the use of art as purely a vehicle of commercial value. This is not to deny the power of art in conveying a message, we simply believe that it is a beautiful thing to create for the sake of being; it does not have to achieve anything more. If it does then it is a bonus, the nourishment of the spirit and soul being primary.
The first two concept postcards are shown below, together for the first time, with their respective background stories. We deliberately selected core designs from our Dom Élégance Collection to reflect the power of heartfelt individual creativity and interpretation.
The postcard left was adapted from an original image provided by the Nina of The wild Rose’s Mesmerizing Stories in Athens, Greece.
The postcard on the right is via a direct collaboration with the model, Maika Kamisusaki, in Tokyo, Japan. The photograph is by Michaël Nambu. Hair and Makeup by Chiaki Hino.
Nina is one of our most favourite creative people on the planet, we simply adore her work; she is the model, photographer and artist. Her output has a gracious femininity fused with a classical rendition of haughty disdain. A small selection of her work with us is included here.
The development of the idea was to take Nina’s original image and expand upon the retrospective and inherent nautical theme. This suited us well, our design HQ is in Plymouth, Devon; a city with a proud maritime heritage.
We decided that the classic Players Navy Cut Cigarette Packets would make a good start and lifted the navy blue edging to create the border. The Westward Bound brand logo was dutifully added to the headband of the cap to enhance the naval feel.
Expanding upon this, we enlisted the trusted skills of a personal friend of over 30 years standing, the legendary British artist Vince Ray, to produce two original and traditional sailor inspired barn swallow tattoos. Further examples of Vince’s cult artwork can be seen in the inset image.
The barn swallow being the original tattoo to show sailing experience, two being reflective of traveling 10,000 nautical miles. Given the distance our clothing travels to reach some of our customers there seemed a natural harmony within the link as well as it being an apt design enhancement. Two swallows being a safe emblem to returning home to a loved one. In this case, the heart and soul beat for Nina.
With the assets in place, the whole concept was pulled together by our long term friend, the artist Bryn Dampney in collaboration with our Art Director Steve Beech. We feel that Bryn excelled himself with the creased card look, dirtying-up and producing an aged feel. The genius touch being to create a cargo stamp style logo for Nina to cement the weathered and traveled appeal of the card.
The second postcard is a stunning image taken in an extremely beautiful and traditional Japanese café known as a Junkissa.
These location shoots took place in Okachimachi, Tokyo, Japan and were organised entirely by Westward Bound’s Brand Ambassador, Maika Kamisusaki. Not only is Maika a striking and powerful looking model, her eye for detail is magnificent.
We were having conversations and consultations with Maika whilst she was in Berlin for the German Fetish Ball. An agreement was reached between us that she had carte blanche in interpretation and location selection. The wider concept being images, for our use, that conveyed the spirit of her home country of Japan.
We could not have been more pleased with the results from Maika (see below), it was almost impossible to select just one photo, we love them all and trust that you do too.
We hope that you have enjoyed this brief résumé of the work that goes on behind the scenes at Westward Bound. Our office is simply an engine and hub of a much wider connection with talented individuals across the globe. We represent the sum of the parts.