KAWS certainly didn’t come into existence today; all of us have seen variations of the skull with a cross-eyed look that is many of our most beloved icons, like Snoopy, Mickey Mouse and The Simpsons. While its references to pop culture been able to capture all the essences and zeitgeists from the past and present, but its connections with mainstream fashion and entertainment labels have made into the KAWS brand into an iconic brand.
Recently the firm KAWS x Uniqlo relationship launched an all-new collection that includes UT graphic t-shirts in partnership with Sesame Street.
The event took place a few days after KAWS was prominently included in the Dior Homme spring/summer 2019 runway show, which was a deliberate choice due to the fact that it was Creative Director Kim Jones’ debut collection for the house.
The widespread use of KAWS can pose an issue for consumers who may therefore be enticed to buy the brand without having a clear idea of what it means. This raises the question what is the reason everyone is competing for a piece merchandise that is a part of KAWS? And, if so then, do you think KAWS really democratic (i.e. easily accessible to anyone to purchase) or simply another group of limited edition-ness that jacks up the cost of products and clothing?
A professional illustrator, Brian Donnelly is the person who is behind the cross-eyed mask. In the 90s, New York City was covered in advertising and took up a lot of space that could be utilized for street art as canvas to paint. Instead of turning to back alleys or beneath bridges Donnelly used to “deface” bus stop and billboards and create characters such as The Companion, Bendy and The Accomplice as well with the nickname KAWS.
In case you’re not sure what the word “KAWS” doesn’t really mean anything other than the letters Donnelly believed, when he put them together, and suited visually. Similar sentiments also seem to be applicable for his skull-based characters. The artist has said during interviews that he would like that his character be universal that they’re immediately recognizable for his viewers regardless of their backgrounds.
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It is possible that KAWS isn’t as literal as it appears; The Companion, for instance, is prone to show its face covered. face, which shows the same cross-shaped detail on its back hands. A skull figure gripping its hands across the face, revealing its “death” does not seem like a great idea at all, to begin with.
This exposure gave Donnelly the chance to create a limited range of toys for Japanese clothing brand Bounty Hunter, which became popular collectibles. The price range was between $50 and 100 when the line first came out, the figurines will now be selling for 10 to 20 times their initial price.
KAWS, an alias Donnelly might have assumed, proceeded to sign deals with some of the most well-known names in the world of entertainment. Toys such as his collection made him think about his skills since he could not be able to work in a two-dimensional manner anymore Thinking about form and shape prompted him to imagine bigger things like the idea that the possibility of building the fifteen-foot (about 4.6m) taller model from The Companion.
Since 2004 KAWS has been sought out to collaborate with a variety of hip-hop artists, most particularly Kanye West for the album cover for Heartbreaks and 808s and also designed footwear to Nike as well as Marc Jacobs, collaborated with fashion labels A Bathing Ape, Comme Des Garcons, Undercover, and Vans and mash-ups of characters from the TV show The Smurfs, Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, Spongebob Squarepants, Family Guy, the Michelin Man The MTV Moonman Video Awards… just to mention just a few.
In addition to making homers in a variety of places in entertainment KAWS made waves with his balloon of 14 feet during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012 in New York. It is the very first time that he’d made it into the mainstream and many people who seen the parade didn’t recognize him at the time.
One common thread that appears to have been running through KAWS in his career is the conflict between the establishment and social commentary. Are there any possibilities or appropriate for someone who’s work is all focused on subverting popular culture to also gain privileges that come with it? Is it possible to argue that it’s necessary to be part of the established culture to be able to affect it?
Maybe KAWS could be the Vetements (it’s nothing more than the clothes) from the world of art. It’s interesting to consider that the same kind of criticism of KAWS has also been a part of the lives of his predecessors. Think of Jeff Koons or Keith Haring Their styles are so well-known that it’s not a good idea to question their fame.
In an interview in a recent interview with Complex, KAWS explains his purpose to Uniqlo, “I felt like I needed to take action to live my life on a more honest level.” If nothing other reason, the desire for democratic governance is something that we all can be grateful for. The attention-grabbing projects he’s been working on in Dior Homme and Uniqlo UT are proof of his creative and commercial acclaim however, in the grand world of things it’s just the beginning of his legendary career.