Anti-fast fashion activist DR NOKI brings his own brand of sustainable luxe to MATCHESFASHION.com Innovators Platform. By Lottie Jackson.
Infamous artist and Brighton-based fashion activist, DR NOKI has brought his signature brand of customised street couture to the MATCHESFASHION.com Innovators Platform. As one of their latest ‘agenda-setters’, he is ‘redefining how we dress today by reducing waste in fashion’.
Otherwise known as JJ Hudson, NOKI became widely recognised in the mid-1990s for his work that waged war against the rise of fast fashion. As an early pioneer of what experts may now refer to as ‘circular fashion’, NOKI upcycles mass-produced ‘throwaway’ clothing by embellishing everything from t-shirts to dungarees with his own logos and graphic prints to create one-off streetwear styles. “It's my way to collage textiles together and make wearable art that transcends the canvas pieces I create for walls”, he puts simply.
It was during the mid-1990s Shoreditch warehouse rave scene that NOKI’s concept of ‘Street Couture’ first emerged. A desire to customise his own rave gear into new ideas and futuristic guises led to the creation of his self-coined “hip hop battle collages”. Although he has now evolved his designs into a luxury brand called NOKI Custom- NH4S (NOKI House 4 Sustainability), the resulting garments are a distillation of this very idea. “NOKI Custom is very light, stylish, sustainable and modern” he explains, “It's my way of keeping true to the Rave DIY mentality- from the original ‘1988 Acid House’ scene to early 'Mashup', it's in my blood and it still pumps hard core. I'm happy to be bringing 20th Century brand nostalgia into 21st Century custom-built modernity.”
After attending NOKI’s show celebrating some 20 years in the industry, Natalie Kingham (Fashion and Buying Director at MATCHESFASHION.com) commissioned the artist to create a collection for this year’s Innovators Platform curated around sustainable fashion design. NOKI has been integral to the London fashion scene ever since photographer David Sims shot a young Gisele Bündchen wearing one of his deconstructed Champion sweatshirts. Nicola Formichetti then snapped up his designs and everyone from Kate Moss to Naomi Campbell was seen donning their NOKI pieces. Fast forward twenty years and NOKI’s latest designs were showcased during London Fashion Week at MATCHESFASHION.com’s new retail space 5 Carlos Place. The designs are also available to purchase on online.
Of his design process, NOKI reveals “I see vintage garments as spare parts much like a car customiser sees their futuristic vehicle builds. My clients are also very similar, they know they are receiving something unique and are very willing to pay those luxury prices to get their hands on NOKI. They just trust me to create and it’s a privilege to be trusted like this.”
Continuing his long-held status as a pioneer, NOKI’s latest designs signal a new age of sustainability for the luxury fashion market- where the domains of haute couture artistry and sustainability may seamlessly intersect.