Heron Preston Rewrites the Rules, Again (in Russian)-------
You may have heard of Heron Preston. If not, you’re almost definitely familiar with his work, either as a digital strategist for Nike, concocting social media tactics for the brand’s biggest innovations (“Just connecting with the youth through compelling content,” Preston told Style.com, on a call from Nike’s HQ in Portland, Oregon), or as one-fourth of the crew behind Been Trill, the paradigm-shifting streetwear brand. “We never wanted to fit in,” Preston says. “We always came in with this approach of writing new rules—rewriting the rules—which caused an uproar in the beginning, but that was exactly what we were trying to spark off. We want to make the next mass, cool brand because that’s something that’s really difficult to do.” Turns out Been Trill’s Internet-IRL aesthetic hit the mark—the brand’s hashtag-heavy wears resonate high and low, and can be found in both VFiles and PacSun.
But Preston’s ambition isn’t merely to shepherd the youth through the precarious territory of what’s cool. He’s got a bug for creating subversive designs that aren’t quite as digestible. There have been two “Bootleg” T-shirts so far—the first, a Rottweiler print tee that did little to improve on the Givenchy design beyond the interior label, handwritten in Sharpie: “GIVENCHY BY HERON PRESTON ‘BOOTLEG.’” Then came the NASCAR shirt, “Found Factory Defect”—peak logo-mania, an ode to the designs of mass consumerism that earned Preston a New York Times trend story.
His latest project, a collaboration with photographer Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio, takes him on a different tack. For his third Bootleg T-shirt, Preston looked to—wait for it—death metal. The new design combines the Russian words for “flame” and “wave” rendered in death-metal-style lettering with a 1775 painting by the English artist John Hamilton Mortimer called Death on a Pale Horse. Preston came to the design in a roundabout way, first by discovering an image with the same name by a different artist on a T-shirt for the metal band Emperor. “So I just Googled ‘death on the pale horse,’ and then that’s how I found my graphic,” he says. Fitting for someone who describes himself as “super Internet-y.”
The shirt is actually two pieces, a tee with a turtleneck layered underneath. “I was inspired by law enforcement and security agencies who all wear turtlenecks,” Preston says. “And something about the turtleneck with the logo printed on the neck reminded me of neck tattoos.” Hence the embroideries of the Russian word for “style” on the wrists and collar.
As for ditching the logo-heavy designs: “Old gets older faster is what I’m learning,” says Preston. “You’ve always got to come fresh—that’s my philosophy—come fresh, come with something new, take a risk, especially if it makes you feel uncomfortable. I think that means you’re doing the right thing.”
The Heron Preston x SHOWstudio collaboration will be available online here tomorrow, May 6.