Join us for a chat with a British fashion brand Lu La Loop and performance artist AJA about their ethereal costume collaboration.
Combining various materials, ignoring the rules and limits – that’s how you could define Lu La Loop, a fashion brand from the UK. Lu La Loop produces limited collections, as well as unique show pieces, that are often very elaborate; with appliqué, hand knit or hand-sewn elements. Combining the unfinished with the clean or refined, retro and futuristic or synthetics with natural materials, the brand creates an interesting contrast and juxtaposition in their pieces. Lu La Loop’s philosophy and approach to fashion is limitless, wild and without boundaries, ignoring the rules of gender binary. Their pieces surely do make a viewer imagine and dream.
Lu La Loop also collaborates on unique items and custom pieces for musicians and artists. One of them is AJA, who describes her performance art as “psychosexual rhythmic noise, blackest ever beats, tortured banshee wails, skullcaving drone, sonic, visual and physical over-stimulation.” This experimental sound artist, singer and performer from the UK has a very unique style not only in music, but also visually. Hyperactive AJA also makes sound/Ableton workshops.
During AJA’s performances, her ethereal appearance contrasts with alien, chaotic and complicated costumes and face paint – she visually reminds of Björk very often, who is also a big inspiration for both AJA and Lu La Loop. When AJA is performing, a strange and magical atmosphere is always present. The lights are flashing as she is moving, running around and using the space and its structure as her own performing tools. As a priestess of sound, she is performing and guiding us through her tone ritual, stimulating almost all our senses.
First of all, tell us a bit more about the collaboration? How did it all start?
Lu La Loop: AJA and I came together through my sister and AJA’s best friend Kate. Combined with a mutual love of music, DIY approach to creativity and with my interest in working with interesting artists, open minded and free spirits with a dark side (haha) it felt like we could really explore ideas together very well. It feels natural to collaborate together. :)
AJA originally borrowed pieces from my archive and really supported me through wearing many items on stage, at festivals etc. Now we are starting to create special unique pieces and more labour intensive… Slowly, bit by bit.
AJA: It was love at first sight! I first saw Lucy’s work through her sister and a mutual friend. Lucy made an amazing outfit which Grimes wore and it was incredible. Then when I saw her collection online, I got in touch and sent over my songs and ideas.
Lucy, what kind of look or feeling are you pursuing when designing costumes for AJA?
Lu La Loop: Well it really varies and changes all the time. Sometimes I have a specific concept. Many times AJA and I have basically the same ideas. Spooky, right! Haha.
Loving ideas of dark beauty. Elements of iridescence and movement have been important. Connecting feral and nature elements… Creating pieces that can be interactive and removing parts to reveal something else, changing and connecting with the audience. The spiritual element of AJA and her sensual self is important too. There is often a feeling of clinical and slightly sexual. Using white PVS and iridescent fringes…. Long fringes and colours that work with lights and darkness is pretty important. Who knows what will be next? But kind of thinking about pinks and blacks and also dark Abyss creatures for colour and concept at the moment too. AJA charges on stage and loses herself in a mad psycho sexual way, so I often think about this too! But ultimately, I like changes for different types of performance, in order not to get bored.
AJA, your performances are very theatrical and incredibly charged. How important is the role of the costumes in them?
AJA: The role of the costume is incredibly important as part of my performance. Me and Lucy have always shared a physic creative connection from the very beginning. We always seem to want to go in the same direction at the same time. Wearing Lucy’s creations allows me to feel comfortable expressing from the depth of my core, I’m wearing her armour, creative and spiritual support. It communicates a part of myself that I can not express through sounds and it’s crucial to the performance.
Both of you seem to transcend the gender binary when creating. Do you think that it is possible to change the way how our society perceives gender through art?
Lu La Loop: Absolutely… No question. I am not even thinking male or female when creating costumes for AJA. When AJA performs in Lu La Loop costumes, the marriage of our creativity goes way beyond any gender. We are all about emerging as one powerful and magical beast! Give the audience a visual and creative creature and gender becomes insignificant.
AJA: Yes, I feel that you are limited to what you can communicate only through words, theory and language so I think that it’s really important that these issues are addressed and expressed through other mediums.
Let’s do a few quick questions! Black or white? Dawn or twilight? Sweet or savoury? Too much or too little? Staying in or going out?
Lu La Loop: White – Dawn – Savoury every time – Too much.. .I am too much. Too much in my head, too much stuff, too much emotion, too much love! :) xxx – Staying in. Sometimes I love being hermit style.
AJA: White – Twilight – Sweet – Too much – Staying In
Our topic of the month is “spirit” – how would you visually or sonically portray your own spirit?
Lu La Loop: I don’t know. My spirit is very emotional… Attracted to iridescence and darkness. Very upbeat and social at times. But then hidden and hermit like. How do I portray that? Haha. Maybe it will all come out sonically through AJA’s next gig at Corsica Studios!
AJA: Come and see the live show! You will see a visual and sonic portrayal during the performance!
Last but not least, what are your future plans?
Lu La Loop: More costumes for Aja. Something exciting for her Corsica Studios performance on NYE Eve! Also more labour intense pieces together next year. It’s always a dream to start having more time to make even more special pieces. AJA and I would like to create a special performance with strange choir arrangements and Lu La Loop costumes at some point in future too…
I myself hope to just keep creating, making unique pieces too, more music + costume projects. Also hoping to create pop-up stores next year that merge Lu la Loop products, styling and music – merging my creative ideas as one! :)
AJA: I have a sound installation in Vienna at the beginning of December, I’m also playing at Corsica Studios on New Years Eve Eve for Baba Yaga’s Hut (me and Lucy will be planning something special for this). Then hopefully next year will see my first release and lots more collaboration with Lu La Loop! <3
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