Interview with Navinder Nangla
Fassion is my Pashion!
Meet Navinder Nangla, the street artist taking over the world of fashion. If you aren’t already familiar with his work, Navinder takes to the streets by storm, especially during fashion week with his signature tag “fassion is my pashion.” English teachers might say that spelling is not one of Navinder’s strong suits but to artists, it’s the creative liberties he takes with writing that sets him apart from the rest. As a fine artist, stylist, and all around creative, self expression is key to his success. I first met Navinder through Instagram as he was supporting DampMagazines heavily. His energy is contagious and when I saw his work I loved it immediately. I’m so excited to start doing interviews on my site and who better to start with than my friend Navinder.
KD: Tell us a little bit about how you first got interested in the world of art, street art, and graffiti. How old were you and what were some of the specific pieces, movements, or artists that really peaked your interest?
NN: I’ve always been a destructive person from a young age and left my mark anywhere I went. I always used paints or crayons to just scribble and leave a mess! When I was young I would hang around the skate park and draw on tees and give them to the skaters. I liked hanging there, it was like punk spirit, do what the fuck you want, no rules, no permission.
The artists I fucked with back then were more like graffiti artists, I would just watch them do cool DIY documentaries. Once I got older I got into fine art because I wanted to make money from my art. My early works were inspired by artists like Warhol, Picasso, Basquiat, Keith Haring, Richard Hambleton, Henri Matisse, and Francis Bacon.
KD: Ok, now, same question but for fashion. Who were some of the first brands and designers that really influenced you creatively and stylistically?
NN: Yooo I can’t lie, the early brands that led me down the path of fassion for me were Supreme, Asspizza, Obey (graffiti artist Shepard Fairey) and shit from being at the skatepark. When I got older listening to A$AP Rocky and them man who put me on to Raf Simons, Kris Van Assche, Berluti, Rick Owens and all that good shit. Then I became a nerd and scanned the whole internet and read a bunch of books and got into Vivienne Westwood, Alexander Mcqueen, Margiela, Undercover, and all the punk stuff. They all had one thing in common which really resonated with me, they mixed beauty with horror to make this unique visual language which I’m trying to portray into my own art language.
I’ve always had an interest in fassion so for my own work I would reference Jun Takahashi and Hiroshi Fujiwara a lot because I loved how they referenced punk culture. With art and fassion being my pashion, I loved mixing them both to create my new visual language. This is how I started tagging my signature tag at fassion weak to capture the fassion audience.
KD: What are some of the similarities between the fashion and art world?
NN: Fassion and art comes hand to hand in my opinion. This is evident in the early works of successors like Jun Takahashi, Nigo, Hiroshi Fujiwara who connected the dots between the West and East for music, art and fashion. Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style was a super influential book that many elders in the fashion scene recommended to me. That book completely changed my understanding on how these creatives came and paved the way for future generations.
They all crossovers, fassion can be art and art can be fassion, you see how designers are always referencing artists just like how Junya Watanabe referenced Andy Warhol in a recent collection - also the people in both world are cool as fuck.
KD: People always seem to debate the definition of what is street art vs. what is graffiti, if you had to, how would you categorize what you do?
NN: I’m a street artist because my art is fine art just on the walls of the streets, similar to what the greats do on canvas like Kenny Scharf or Andy Warhol, you know them types of artists. I also loved how Keith Haring would hit the subways with his chalk, he was more of a street artist, I would say I’m the same. It touches the world and I’m portraying a message which resonates to millions of people - I don’t know any other graffiti artist whose work gets photographed as much as mine.
KD: As an artist and creative do you ever have periods of writer’s block? Pun intended. What do you do to break through those mental blocks?
NN: Smoke a phat zoot then get jiggy.
KD: Tell us about how your viral catchphrase “fassion is my pashion” came about and what fashion means to you. How does fashion impact your artwork?
NN: It came from my stupid dicklegssick (dyslexic) brain, it just came to me and was a light bulb moment where I thought, shit I can do something with this by hitting the walls with it - then I started to develop more words and tags. Fashion to me = 3dumb (freedom).
KD: To some, dyslexia can feel like a handicap, how have you used it to your advantage and made it a superpower?
NN: I’ve made it my superpower, being dicklegssick is fire, it made me think differently, that’s how I birthed my famous tag. If I wasn’t dicklegssick I don’t know what I would be doing, maybe my art wouldn’t be going anywhere so it really is a blessing, it’s allowed me to connect the dots of fassion and art in my own unique way.
KD: Life as an artist can be difficult, filled with ups and downs, how has your life changed since your art has gained worldwide popularity? Was there a pivotal moment where you knew that it was going to be successful?
NN: It’s so hard as an artist to get your foot in the door. For me, it was one big melting pot all at once, making noise, as I’m a stylist, designer, and artist I would do so many things in these fields, then loads of good things kept happening at once. Eventually all Of it gelled together to create all this noise at once! The fassion is my pashion tag definitely helped me get a lot of exposure and access to the fassion world. It’s gained attention from these high end fassion brands and publications. It’s really crazy, people from Vogue know about my work now and own some of my pieces.
KD: What are some goals or dreams that you have for both fashion and art?
NN: I’m working towards my debut exhibition, I can’t wait for that day, it feels like all my life I’ve been building to that. One day I also would love to be creative director for a brand just like how Matthew Williams, Virgil Abloh, and Kim Jones have done for Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi respectively.
KD: What are some things we can be looking forward to with your art and clothing soon?
NN: Collaborations, my debut exhibition, more styling and photoshoots, more designs, I’m coming for everything you know whatsup!
Final words from Navinder:
Yooo, Khan and I got connected via clothing, of course, and it was A.F.F.A. of all brands, the two goats Jonio and Hiroshi who did it. I spoke to Izzy from ArchivePDF and was showing her my collection of garments. I’m a big fan of Undercover and A.F.F.A. so she said her colleague Khan and I would get along well and she wasn’t wrong! I love DampMagazines, it’s right up my alley. I’m so glad art and fassion can bring like minded people all around the world together!