We could say that Gerlan Marcel is somewhat of a fashion magician. Her clothes, halfway between genuine art pieces and FX costumes, break all the pre-established rules and make celebrities such as Katy Perry fall hard for her unique style. When it comes to trends, Gerlan Jeans is definitely one of the most promising young brands in recent years.
Growing up between England and USA, Marcel was able to reinterpret her own iconographic universe inspired by the Internet, the 90s TV show Clarissa and her colaboration for brands such as Barbie.
For this very special occasion we wanted to call someone who knows her work closely. Her name is María Escoté, a young fashion designer that in less than five years emerged as one of the greatest promises of design in Spain.
Both women share anecdotes and talk about Dolly Parton, Disney and sport couture from Gerlan’s studio in NY.
PHOTOS: MARCEL CASTENMILLER
INTERVIEW: MARÍA ESCOTÉ
– It seems very important to you to give depth to your prints, to overcome the two dimensions. Could you tell us more about this?
I love this question. There is no such thing as a 2d print to me – I love the process & the challenge of transforming the flat surface into a 3 dimensional world – it’s always a magical exploration of discovery. But at the same time it is also very important that the print flatters and compliments the curves of the body. It’s never about sacrificing wearability.
– Critics say your designs are fearless. Are you fearless when it comes to creativity? Are you concerned about the sales at the end of the process? Does this censure you or do you go all the way to the end?
Fearless self-expression is an integral part of the Gerlan Jeans message and integral to my design process but at the same time this is a creative business, – its about spreading the Gerlan Jeans message on a global scale and producing these ideas in mass multiples, so sales and distribution are the most crucial element but I don’t let this censure the creative process, if anything it enhances the design. How do you make something accessible without sacrificing pure vision? Answering this question is always an exciting process and challenge which I embrace.
– What made you study fashion in Europe?
I was born in London and partially grew up in England (my mother is from Liverpool) so I already had a deep connection – it was mostly just instinctual. I felt like that would be the most stimulating environment for me to immerse myself in – a place I could explore without boundaries.
– With what other artists do you feel an aesthetic connection to?
There are so many aesthetics’ I feel connected to from so many different sources and I discover new ones every day. Within fashion, Patrick Kelly is a huge inspiration to me, as is Fiorucci, Esprit, Juicy Couture, W<, Hot Topic – but Snoop Dogg, TLC, Kenny Scharf, Mummenchanz, Da Brat, Memphis Design, Lichtenstein, Betty Boop, the Hair Wars, Stephen Sprouse, Dolly Parton, Patra, an a million more to.
– Tell us about your love story with Dolly Parton.
She is everything to me. Her energy and creative spirit is pure love and light. She is the epitome of Gerl Power – fearless and true to herself, accepting of others and of course a legendary sense of style and humor that are all her own. She is the Real Original! I saw her perform live once – at Radio City Music Hall on the Backwoods Barbie tour– I was front row and that experience was one of the most important moments in my life! I was basically baptized by the glow from her aura..and her sequins!
– Why are you based in NY?
It felt right. After living in LA for 2 years I was hungry for the stimulation that only the spectacle of NYC could provide. From a professional point of view, why is it different from LA? I think more and more it matters less and less where you are based, the world is connected so closely now- but for me New York is an endless source of inspiration – riding the subway, walking down the street, on the dance floor, late night bodega moments – there’s an epiphany happening every second. I need this type of stimulation – I crave it, NY always brings it!
– When it comes to production, do you experiment on your own how to produce those pieces later?
The majority of my production is done in China. The design & development is all done in New York. I am very hands on throughout all stages of technical design and development. Creative problem solving is something that always invigorates me It is very important to me that what’s on the runway be available for sales. When it comes to producing “show pieces” like the silicone slime from SS12 – this means producing in house by hand – couture sportswear for real!
– From all of your professional experiences, which job did you enjoy the most?
I feel blessed to have had so many incredible opportunities to work with so many inspired creative people and brands from such an eclectic mix of worlds. Its hard to choose just one – but of course collaborating with Disney for SS13 was an incredible mind blowing experience. To be able to work with Disney illustrators was so many graphic dreams come true!
– I love your style. Could/should we do something together?
I really appreciate what you do, its bright and bold and in your face but still chic, sophisticated, & sporty! I like the idea of combining our aesthetics and shared love of print & color.
– You have been involved in all kinds of projects at the same time: prints, jewellery, your own collection… What are you up to now?
I’m currently working on the FW14 collection but there are lots of new exciting projects & collaborations launching for 2014! Still top secret but stay tuned!