Usually a retrospective signifies the tail-end of an artist's career. Generally, it's commissioned by a prominent gallery, and carefully curated to highlight their successes and triumphs and most iconic works. But not if you're DI$COUNT UNIVER$E. If you're DI$COUNT UNIVER$E, you know you don't have to play by the rules and conventions of art and fashion — and if you want to hold your own retrospective, you bloody well do it.
That's the idea behind their new show, anyway. The Melbourne-based cult pop punk fashion brand (whos pieces have been worn by everyone from Beyoncé to Kylie Jenner to Madonna) have just announced their It's-too-soon-for-a-retrospective Retrospective Exhibition, which, like their self-described 'anti-fashion', basically subverts the very idea of the retrospective. For one, designers Nadia Napreychikov and Cami James only established the brand six years ago. They're also organising the exhibition themselves, rather than being invited to do so.
"In general, as a brand, we purposely go against the grain of what is done in the arena we work in," says Napreychikov. We do this to challenge the system. To prove there are other ways of working. To show our supporters and other young people in our field that it is possible to pave your own path without having all of the resources. To create your own resources."
They also won't be presenting a heavily curated selection of their works — they'll be displaying everything. And when we say everything, we mean everything. The exhibition — which will take place in their Collingwood studio gallery space — will include an excess of over 65 mannequins and 500 garments from the pair's personal archives and private collections, their showrooms, as well as garments borrowed back from the famous people who've worn them. This includes the epic Birthday Suit as worn by Katy Perry, the Pray t-shirt Miley Cyrus wore in her Terry Richardson photoshoot (before she ripped them off), and their signature studded biker jackets as worn by both Madonna and Beyoncé.
The retrospective is reflective of how DI$COUNT UNIVER$E have used the Internet to gain rapid international success, despite having leapfrogged certain channels traditionally traversed by up-and-coming Aussie designers, such as presenting at Australian Fashion Week and being picked up by one of the big two department stores.
The exhibition will run from November 29 until December 9 at their studio space in Collingwood. Open Monday to Saturday from noon until 6pm, entry will be ten bucks, and DI$COUNT will have some limited edition pieces on sale, including badges, patches, t-shirts, wallets, magnets, socks, sequin dresses and caps ranging from a couple of dollars to $400.
The DI$COUNT UNIVER$E It's-too-soon-for-a-retrospective Retrospective Exhibition will run from November 29 - December 9 at 32-34 Wellington Street, Collingwood.