Representing the creative future

The digital fashion archive that dresses cats in Comme des Garçons

Meet the creator behind @catswearingcdg, the Instagram account that styles cats in CDG, paying a tribute to Rei Kawakubo

Your niche fashion algorithm of Instagram might have pushed one of the @catswearingcdg collages to your feed: a cat head with a human body styled from head to toe in Comme des Garçons. At a first glance, it’s fun and playful. If you look closely, you notice layers of styling and a caption that connects every single element to a CDG season or line. It is impossible not to scroll through all the posts, learning the year of the creation of each recognisable design, travelling through the whole history of the iconic brand. Tens of fashion archival accounts have surfaced online in the last few years, but @catswearingcdg deconstructs the complex universe of CDG in an accessible and creative way, following the thinking that high fashion is literally for everyone. We spoke to the creator behind the archive, who wants to stay anonymous, and they shared with us how the project developed from a reaction to the seriousness of the industry to an exploration of styling and an ode to Rei Kawakubo’s work.

Who is the creative behind the account?

I’d like to keep my identity anon for now! I currently work in fashion. I run my own production business in Asia, specializing in knitwear.

“There may have been a small subconscious intention to parody the industry, but now it’s more about the styling and appreciation of CDG.” – @catswearingcdg

How did you come up with the idea behind Cats wearing CDG?

I’ve been a fashion person for as long as I can remember, but over the years I found myself disillusioned about the industry. That’s how Cats Wearing CDG was born. I wanted to do something fun for myself. I love styling and I consider myself a pretty silly person so I wanted to deviate a little from the seriousness of fashion. My love for cats is an obsession and so is CDG, so it was a refreshing and playful concept to explore. No people involved, no make-up, no photography. Just cute cats and great clothing. Keeping it simple was important. In hindsight too, there may have been a small subconscious intention to parody the industry, but now it’s more about the styling and appreciation of CDG.

What is it that you like about CDG?

Rei Kawakubo’s legacy is truly unmatched. I owe a lot of my current state of mind to her career. She really makes you adopt freedom as the default, which I believe is the catalyst to achieve an authentic lifestyle. The world she has built is a huge playground for fashion and design freaks. The clothing, graphic design, marketing, business model, all the elements work together with a sense of freedom that no other brand has been able to achieve. I just love everything the brand stands for. Deconstructionism, absurdity, playfulness, imperfection, freedom, an element of surprise, lack of fear; it is the ethos of CDG I appreciate the most.

“Deconstructionism, absurdity, playfulness, imperfection, freedom, an element of surprise, lack of fear; it is the ethos of CDG I appreciate the most. ” – @catswearingcdg

What is your favourite CDG design or season?

“Lumps and Bumps” from the S/S 1997 collection. I find a strange comfort in the themes of morphing and disfigurement that are present in this season. I think we can all see a little of ourselves reflected in the distortions and multi-faceted states of the bodies and clothing displayed.

Do you have any dreams for the account or is it more of your hobby?

It’s just a hobby for the time being. I also run the accounts for @Dogs_Wearing_CDG, @Cats__Wearing__Margiela, & @Dogs_Wearing_Margiela.

So a collection of four books would be an amazing goal to reach. Getting them stocked at Dover Street Market would definitely be a dream! I’ve been planning to make one-of-a-kind recosntructed pieces with vintage CDG, maybe doing a handful of drops every year, to begin with. It would be a fun parallel to the collage element as I would deconstruct the pieces and “re-paste” them together just like I do with the collages.

The process behind the cut outs

Why is it important to you to collage the cut out physically and not use digital software? 

It’s probably a combination of nostalgia and aesthetics. I love digital but it felt important to use my hands for this project. It’s also very therapeutic to cut out beautiful clothing and styling it on paper. And the grainy texture of my shitty printer gives the collage a soft look which I like. But I do scan my collages and retouch some details with software to get the finished look. The whole process takes about 7 hours for each cat. It’s time-consuming but it makes you pour your heart into it and helps me take a break from the (sometimes) suffocating digital world- a reminder that we are more than avatars.

“Getting too caught up with creative property type of thinking seems counterproductive; originality is hard to define today.” – @catswearingcdg

You tag and attribute your sources to the particles of your collages; do you think that the sense of creative property is lost online? 

Collage is a medium where the sum of the elements is what gives it value. So it can be tricky to define creative property with collages. I think as long as the end result is unique to you, you can hold full ownership of it. Having said that, I believe at this point we’re all probably just recycling ideas and interpreting them in a slightly different way. So getting too caught up with creative property type of thinking seems counterproductive; originality is hard to define today.

As to crediting the date and source of the elements, I like to do that because I wanted to create a small platform where people could explore and interact with the styling. I also enjoy the curatorial aspect of it, like a small digital archive for CDG pieces. But it’s also just a nice gesture to credit these elements as people have put time and energy into creating these materials, the least one can do is to acknowledge that and reciprocate.

Do you have any favourite fashion Instagram accounts or resources? 

@cdgarchive

@margielatab1  

@peoplewearingcommedesgarcons 

@gastt_fashion

@apocstore

@esmaywagemans 

@toga_xtc

@1granary

@beijing_silvermine

@johnyuyi

The unorthodox digital fashion archive that dresses cats in Comme des Garçons
The unorthodox digital fashion archive that dresses cats in CDG
The unorthodox digital fashion archive that dresses cats in CDG
The unorthodox digital fashion archive that dresses cats in CDG

“There are so many talented emerging designers popping up every day but a lot of people probably get a stronger dopamine hit when they purchase some ancient super rare limited vintage piece. It’s like being a part of a “cooler” era through the element of scarcity.” – @catswearingcdg

In the last few years, a lot of fashion tribute Instagram accounts have surfaced. Why do you think we are becoming so obsessed with past fashion collections and we turn to them for inspiration?

I think, collectively, we’re getting a bit exhausted with the fast-paced capitalist schedule of sell sell sell. It is part of human nature to romanticize the past. There are so many talented emerging designers popping up every day but a lot of people probably get a stronger dopamine hit when they purchase some ancient super rare limited vintage piece. It’s like being a part of a “cooler” era through the element of scarcity. Also, digital platforms like Tumblr (2010s era) and Instagram have democratized the access to this archival content, especially through digital material from obscure Japanese websites and magazine scans. Lastly, since these past collections are less accessible, we focus on the artistry of the garments and turn to them for inspiration.

What feedback do you receive from your audience?

People really like the concept. My audience is a special lot. Lovers of cats are usually introverted and contemplative, add to that the sense to appreciate CDG. They are all super creative and supportive of this project. I occasionally accept submissions for cat “meowdels”, and a lot of people pour into my DMs. I’m grateful for the love.

 

1 Granary

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