Fake It 'Till You Make It: Becoming A Fake Fashion Designer With Oobah Butler
You've probably heard about the Oobah's project of making up a fake restaurant called Shed At Dulwich and making it number one rated restaurant in London. No? I promise this article in the end goes to fashion, now watch this and then we continue talkin'.
I saw this video back in January and I found myself coming back to it again and again. It keeps being just as hilarious and inspiring as it was the first time.
This time Oobah decided to become a fake fashion designer called Georgio Peviani and visit Paris Fashion Week.
I had a chance to become fashionistas ambassador in Login 2018 where he presented his ideas & met Oobah to talk in person.
How you came to a point you've started creating creative projects?
I didn’t go to university, I was in a band, I played music. Over that time I’ve always been a bit weird. I started to write album reviews and things like that for free.
The first thing I did for Vice was after five or four years I’ve been in a band, which did okay but not well enough. I came to realise that music is hard to sell these days and it’s harder to sell than door to door religion.
So, I went to spend some time with Jehovah's witnesses, pretending I was going to join the church. Basically, what I was really doing I was trying to see how many people will actually let them in their house when they knock on the doors.
I was getting numbers and I wanted to see how many were out there. After I’ve done that I had one hundred doors and I stopped speaking to them.
Later, I went to same areas with a bag of CDs and tried to sell CDs. That was the first thing I wrote for Vice and it kinda changed a game for me. This part of my personality which I wouldn’t engage that much since I was younger came out and then became me.
Could you tell us about your project on Georgio Peviani? How you came up with the idea?
I love Georgio Peviani. It’s an idea about knock-off designers on markets. Like Pierre Klein. You know, the rip-offs. I love those, I think they are great. There is one that you see more than any other in London - it’s Georgio Peviani. Which is kinda like an Armani rip-off but it doesn't really sound like Armani, the logo looks different, he is not really benefiting of being associated with Armani. But if you google Georgio Peviani there is page after page of his jeans being sold.
He is doing everything a successful fashion designer needs to do part of existing. So my idea was to become him and go to Paris fashion week. I had to get a website georgiopeviani.com, getting business cards done all of this stuff.
Everyone thought he was great, loved the jeans. Even though these are like 10 euro jeans, they were like “Wow he is so great”.
Did you try to make up a style of this designer?
I wasn't a flam boy or something, I was being a bit of a dickhead but not loads. I kept being funny, pretending “Oh yeah I’m a designer” but it was more casual.
How do you incorporate fashion into your projects?
It’s funny, one of the writers in Vice actually asked me if I could make a costume look. I was confused - "Whyyy?". He said, “Because you dress up and it’s one of your things”.
In the Shed, I’ve got a hat box, I didn’t realise this was a weird thing but that was the first question after the first screening of the film - “Why you got a box filled with hats?”, so I answered - “I need loads of hats”.
Are you actually wearing them?
Yeah, for different articles, but not in real life, I look stupid with a hat on.
What inspires you?
Probably mostly comedy, I like absurd things. I like the stupidest as it is. There is a German conceptual artist called Christian Jankowski, I really like him he is good. He is funny, he is weird. He did this thing when he fools catholic cardinals into thinking they are casting a new Jesus to go and be a new face of the church. They thought they were real. Like in a talent show. And they were like “Yeah, it needs to be sadder”.
Why the absurd?
Don't know, my dad has a weird sense of humour, I'm the last of six kids so, I was just kinda left to it. In my family we all are quite silly.
How does your family react to you being known?
I think they are just shocked and proud of course.
You say that you like to communicate ideas in the way it is easy to understand, what is the secret?
I think again I'm coming back to humour, there is some sort of thing that humour is a common language. An egg on the floor is funny, it's just funny even without a context. I like using humour because I think it is really useful and universal and everyone understands it.
Also, I try not to tell people that what I do is important, I think it's "show, don't tell". You don't tell people what to do, you don't tell them how to feel about something. I didn't mention fake news in the Shed At Dulwich or restaurant culture, but I just did something that took place in that sphere and allowed people to interact as they will.
I try to shy away from telling people what my work means. This is just this thing and you guys interpret it. I feel like people like that. It doesn't feel like an agenda and I'm like “This is fun let’s do this thing”. Some people think it's really meaningful, some people think its just a laugh. Great, both are good.
And the last question - which project is your fav?
It’s the Shed and the Jehovah's. Jehovah’s BCS it's my first and the Shed BCS it has changed my life completely. It's the biggest thing I have ever done and probably the biggest I will ever do.