As promised yesterday…
From the earliest days of Silas, its creators were determined to do things a little differently to ensure they stood out. Reasoning that well-made, craftily designed and cheekily executed clothing will only take you so far, they worked with an array of talent – including designer Fergadelic, artist Ben Sansbury, photographer Clare Shilland and others – to craft stories and characters that evolved across websites, brochures and catalogues to become part of Silas’s trademark.
These back stories were always clever, irreverent and knowing, executed with total commitment, yet with enough of a knowing wink to credit the reader with the sense to know that they were being duped.
You know that it is really East Croydon, but it is seductive to suspend disbelief, to imagine instead a futuristic city, built to ‘maximise the satisfaction of its residents’ and full of arts and culture institutes, sport and leisure complexes. And, of course, with all of the happy, well-adjusted inhabitants dressed in an incredibly stylish manner, even as they satirise the lifestyle brands whose grand claims for their products’ ability to change the world are partly what got us into this mess in the first place.
The Autumn / Winter 2003 / 2004 catalogue was built around the uncompleted film ‘Where is Silas?’ and folds out into a poster for the film of a book considered to be an unfilmable work. There are pictures of the clothes, of course, but presented as a behind-the-scenes record of the making of this ‘lost classic’. This catalogue based on the film of the book became a book itself, showcasing illustration, photography, design and writing from long-time Silas contributors.
Architectural artist Sam Griffin contributed original drawings to the Silas Summer 2004 catalogue:
However, the most famous Silas collaboration must be the one with James Jarvis, from which Amos Toys was launched. Jarvis’s original creations for Silas are as rare as hen’s teeth and fetch untold wealth whenever they appear on eBay, yet they have been followed by more easily acquired friends. This fold out poster features Major Moulty’s Amazing Magical Plastic Band among others:
With the original founders having moved on, Russell Waterman to work on Vortigern’s Machine with James Jarvis and Sophia Prantera to spend time with her family and concentrate on Amos, the company has decided to focus on sales and distribution in Asia. The new website features a blog in Japanese and prices in Yen, so I am looking forward to renewing my acquaintance when I hit those shores. However, Japan’s gain is the UK’s loss as it does appear that such witty, multi-layered and inventive campaigns are to become a thing of the past.