NOKI knows best: a punk artist in his new outlaw fashion school

A fundamental figure on the London fashion scene, NOKI infuses its lawlessness and legacy NOKI NESTT

Tuesday morning is 9 a.m. and JJ Hudson has been talking about the apocalypse for ten minutes. “I’ve been preparing for it for years,” he says. “Actually, I used to describe what I do as‘ Bunker Love ’, because if we all end up in a bunker, the only thing I’m going to enjoy is making things to order to wear while we’re stuck down there. That’s if we make a bunker at all. ” Otherwise known as FASTthe king of Shoreditch, or the father of mash-ups, Hudson has made a strange figure in fashion since arriving in London in the late ’90s, and his face has been completely shielded by rotating masks on poke-holes.

Sitting in the front row at exhibitions, he almost looks as if someone has cast spells on a clothing bank, giving the confusion of second-hand fashion the opportunity to move and emotions. His own creations, forged from scraps, rags and pieces of old clothing, are inspired by the anarchism of hardcore, and represent a challenge for form that continues to inspire designers today. Conner Ives, BUZIGAHILLi Balenciaga they are all indebted to Hudson’s violent distortion of consumerism, where sustainability and insufficient cooperation were central to his practice. “I guess that just confirmed this crazy thing that happened in the ’90s,” he says. However, despite his influence on fashion, he does not want to call himself a designer, asking to be talked about exclusively as a textile artist.

Coming next Judy Blame, Lulu Kennedyi the YBAs At a time when Shoreditch was little more than a wasteland, Hudson played a fundamental role in transforming East London into a creative medallion, before working as a stylist for MTV and teaching at some of the capital’s most famous fashion schools. “As a gay man, I don’t have children, but I have thousands of students who are like my children,” he added. Although he has been a mentor for years, his next step is to formalize a “real deal” fashion school called NOKI NESTT. “It wasn’t just a clothing tailoring technique, it was also spiritual,” says former student nurse Naoya, who discovered NOKI at the Harajuku boutique 18 years ago. “What impressed me was that JJ always asked me if I was happy. I thought it was similar to the teachings of Buddhism, which may sound exaggerated, but to me it is the NOKI Buddha. NOKI is God. ”

“I want to be able to use my legacy,” says Hudson, as evidenced by his upcoming exhibition with Jamie Reed at the Rhodes Studios in Brighton. “He’s the punk godfather of collage and we both screwed up with the new systems. My art is finally beginning to be recognized. The fashion industry disgusted her like clothes, but it was never just clothes. It was a uniform of freedom. ” Below we sit down with JJ Hudson to discuss the dangers of nostalgia, the legacy of AIDS, and his plans to create a fashion school unlike any other.

Hey Jonathan! How are you?

JJ Hudson: Please don’t call me Jonathan. JJ or NOKI is fine, only my mom and the bank manager call me Jonathan, that’s very weird. The whole JJ thing actually started when I was at art school in Edinburgh because my friend Margarita was drunk and she started calling me that. I was like ‘you can call me whatever you want’ because until that moment I was bullied to fuck and they called me all kinds. JJ set off and my life changed. So what I’m trying to say is that it’s been a crazy 30 years and I’m obsessed with branding.

I apologize. How was it in Aberdeen then?

JJ Hudson: It was the 80s, my brother was the king of punk, and I was his assistant. He was Psychobilly, so he had a bleached blue flat plate. He was Billy Idol from Aberdeen while I was that nerdy kid with big ears and a weird face. Obviously and strangely, but I didn’t know it then. I was guarded by his thousands of his girls, they were my guardian angels. So I had an amazing upbringing sneaking into all the hardcore clubs.

Where does all your anarchism come from?

JJ Hudson: I was blown away by the style – I saw clothes that were torn and torn from pulling and pushing the mosh pit. I think that’s where NOKI comes from, knowing what’s on the verge of acceptance and authenticity, because there are an awful lot of fakes, especially now. It is not necessary that anyone is to blame, it is a part of the generation that is convulsing with nostalgia because it is terrified of the future. One of my students is 19 years old and came to me to buy Supreme skateboards even though he couldn’t skate. He would dress like a singer from the 70s, so I told him to take his rockets and crush them with a running shoe.

What’s wrong with nostalgia?

JJ Hudson: It’s melancholy. Don’t copy what the past has given you because it’s costume, not fashion. If you don’t break the rules, it’s not cool. People used to be disgusted at the sight of long hair, torches and tight leather jackets. These people were not accepted, they had to be part of some disgusting cultural change. I want to be able to tell the truth with my students and one solution I offer is mixing clothes, because you are creating a narrative change. This is how I see my custom materials: soft sculpture, collage and Dadaism. He tries to understand life as a mess.

Does that help explain why you started NOKI NESTT?

JJ Hudson: Students have been coming to me for years, watching my work in shops or otherwise parodied across the industry. They wanted to go to the source to learn how to make custom clothes in NOKI style. And then the lock was a time of great thinking. An apocalyptic movie was starting, and we got stuck doing puzzles indoors. And I’ve been preparing for this for years. We even experienced the AIDS crisis and the Cold War in the 1980s. I used to call my work ‘Bunker Love’ because if we all end up in a bunker, one thing I’ll enjoy is creating things to wear while we’re stuck down there … that’s if we make a bunker at all. That’s why I founded the school.

You were one of – if not the first – who put together and dice upcycling to make your brand. How does it feel to see so many other designers now taking clues out of it?

JJ Hudson: It’s mental. I’ve been doing Gucci x adidas or MM6 x The North Face for decades and I guess all of these mixes just confirmed this crazy thing that happened to me in the 90s. From about 1996 to 2000, I was in paradise because no one understood what I was doing. People would ask ‘What is your problem? Why do you put all these brands together? ‘ But I’m a raver and that was my uniform. Not only did I want to wear Nike or Phil, I wanted them to be shredded and made into this fucking hybrid piece of armor. I would do things like empty the letters from the adidas t-shirt so it says “AIDS”. This meant that the brand was not just another corporation on the rave, but advertised a campaign for safe sex. It was, in fact, quite sacrilegious, because it was an emotionally frightening time. Do you know my story about AIDS?

I dont know what happened?

JJ Hudson: Like I said, branding has always been my thing. In the eighties, there was an actor named Rock Hudson, he was the embodiment of masculinity, but he happened to be in the closet. I shared his last name so I was ruthlessly mistreated when he died of AIDS. At 13, I became a disgusting homo kid, I was kicked out, and I couldn’t escape it. It was as if you were branded in the worst possible way.

Do you think these experiences have affected your anonymity?

JJ Hudson: You mean the mask? This happened because I was famous in Shoreditch, which was a lawless village in the early 00s. Seriously, if you wanted to eat you had to buy Ginsters from the garage. It was that desolate, real no-go zone. I opened The Bricklayers Arms when I was just a fresh kid and it quickly became soft. So I met the coolest of the cool, like Lulu Kennedy, with whom I worked at Fashion East in 2008, was a bartender.

However, popularity is not necessarily a positive thing, and the mask continued because I did not want anyone to approach me. So people had to think about what they like about this freak (me) and why they want to stick to it. The mask is more important now than ever because we have been denied anonymity thanks to social media. I still wear it in public as a way to advertise my art because I’m just a guy from Aberdeen who probably has 80s PTSD and I still deal with it all. It was scary. I still think I have AIDS. If I catch a cold or smell it, I immediately think I got it. And that’s part of branding.

Is NESTT about re-establishing the melting pot vibration of early Shoreditch?

JJ Hudson: It’s about creating a new school from an old school, yes. As a gay man, I have no children, but I have thousands of students who are like my children. I used to teach in Ravensbourne and Kingston, and although I often thought “why am I here?”, I was brought in so that the children could observe street-oriented creativity. Then I started Fashion Monster, a course I taught around the world, which challenges students to pull clothes from landfills and create a monster. It is about dealing with our fears, our needs for dopamine, shopping and consumerism. There is still a need for that, and I want to be able to use my legacy through that. The ultimate game is to get funding for an appropriate school where sustainability can be real. Somewhere where students can learn, sell their pieces through studios and show off at fashion weeks. This is what NESTT is – legacy exploitation.

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