Le Messie and Amanda from FALSE have created the perfect blend of DIY and independent fashion label with their brands. They are an inspiration for what we do here at CVLT Nation, and as a testament to the beautiful things that two people can create together. Each piece they make for their three brands, FALSE, Better Off Dead and Fallacy of Rome, has their personal touch on it, and most of what they make is constructed and silkscreened by hand. At a time where “Made in the USA” means nothing to the average consumer, who is happy to spend their life in Target, it is refreshing to see people who are making a success out of DIY! I am really happy I got the chance to interview them and get a glimpse into their world…after the jump, read about what makes Le Messie and Amanda my new favorite people…
Hi Le Messie and Amanda, how are things in Singapore today?
LM: Rainy, moist, dark and gloomy… just the way we love it! Singapore’s an extremely humid and hot island and bouts of darkness and rain are much welcomed!
I am really stoked on husband and wife creative relationships, and I think yours is a perfect example of what beautiful things can come from them. How did you two come together to create FALSE?
A.S: Wow… jogging back a few years here. FALSE was a natural progression and almost extension of our relationship. It was truly a labor of love. Stemming from a time of darkness it was all about rising above, growing, nurturing and creating. We always wanted to do so much more, create so much more…FALSE provided an opportunity and platform to experiment with ridiculous off the cuff ideas, materials, textures and depth. It’s been 6 years, but I feel like we’re still just at the beginning.
Do you subscribe to anarchist beliefs? if so, how do you apply those beliefs to your business?
LM: Yes you could say we’re independent fashion’s dark poster child of Free Market Anarchism..
Apart from being 100% Independent and producing 90% of our goods in house with our very own hands, we like to look at our work as trades men, we work individually to make a piece of wearable art and in exchange the consumer that finds purpose and enough of a message in it trades his/her share of his/her income in aid of ours. We look to be the least capitalist in this vision, working like post modern bespoke tailors, with even having our products made by order. Many have also known that as a brand we’ve turned down many opportunities to capitalize in large scales due to just simple ethics, definition of our own reality and way of function. We like to take the extremely slow and steady pace, working with things we know and feel have a strong personal and creative control over, we’ve been blessed in growing evenly in a very organic nature.
Your creations reflect a darker side of fashion, is that a popular look in Singapore?
LM: We’ve only recently moved towards focusing on our local market, over the past half a decade we’ve been predominantly selling to a U.S / European dominant market. Local fashion in Singapore is taking a darker theme for sure, with simplistic black and white hues and minimalist cuts. You could say minimalism meets punk aesthetic.
I really dig your DIY ethos, especially your adherence to traditional craftsmanwomanship! Do you still hand-craft most of your product? Is this something you only do for FALSE, or do you also hand-craft your other brands, Fallacy of Rome and Better Off Dead?
A.S: Thank you, your kind words are much appreciated. Yes we’re still completely 100% hands on with all 3 brands – still clocking those hand-screen sessions ourselves. With FALSE & Fallacy Of Rome we’ve taken to more complex pieces, working with Deer Leather, Studs, Denim, Suede, Chuck Taylor’s amongst other pieces we’ve got coming up.
Most of our hand-crafted pieces are released through FALSE, it’s a natural progression & extension of the line or message. I feel like each individual piece we make, be it a tee, leather cuff or denim vest, are all tied by invisible string to an evolving web of what it is to be a free thinking being, void of limitation. I know that as long as we continue to feel this feeling, we’ll keep up with hand-crafting every piece we put of there.
How have you sustained the growth of FALSE while still hand-making most of it?
LM: Sustained growth has always been in the success of abiding by the “Slow & Steady” mind-set, never pressured into releasing a particular product or quantity due to trend or demand has helped us move at the pace we want and are comfortable with. Our production techniques, level of difficulty and time consumption for each product we make helps us decide our seasonal pace, we’ve also over the years have mastered various techniques in silk-screening and hand-finishing a reasonable amount of goods in an organized swift orderly fashion utilizing a minimum amount of time and energy.
It seems like you find a way to make a wide variety of products by hand. Do you ever have to say No to an idea because of the amount of work it would involve to make it?
LM: Oh yes, each season, we have to calm ourselves down and usually 15% of what we creatively have to output has to be thrown to the back-burner.. we are now finding more time to do more one off more difficult to produce items, that we’ll showcase in our upcoming S/S 2011 line!
I am amazed by the amount of work that must have gone into those deconstructed/reconstructed Converse you did for FALSE. Is that a project you would consider doing again in the future?
LM: We already have a 2nd version ready to be launched this S/S 2011, we love what we’ve done with this version and can’t wait to reveal it very shortly!
Ok Le Messie, you know I have to ask you this – what was the inspiration behind your tattooed head? It’s pretty fucking hardcore!
LM: I married a Maori tribe princess and that was my initiation into the family! Haa ha Amanda’s roots date back to original Maori blood and the inspiration to have that fighting never say die spirit manifested itself on me in the form of my full head Moko (Maori Tattoo). That said it honestly influenced itself, it was like the moko had a mind of it’s own and came to life in various stages.
Thanks for talking with CVLT Nation! Any last words?
FFFunk to PUNK… // Lose Your Illusions.. // Everything is FALSE