Laura and Deanna Fanning’s hyperactive collaboration with the cult Japanese label channels all the mutability and potential of girlhood

Kiko Kostadinov is not obsessed with Japan, he says, dropping a rice ball into his mouth in a cream-walled hotel in Tokyo, mere days after the country opened its borders to international tourists. “I just like good design and good food. I’m not anime crazy and I don’t go to bed with my room covered in Hello Kitty stuff. It’s just, everything is so good here.” The designer’s fumbling in and out of shot, trying to squeeze himself onto the arm of a sofa, while photographer Rosie Marks and womenswear directors Laura and Deanna Fanning spread their limbs across its seat. They’ve spent the last few days in Kobe; in meetings, photoshoots, and vintage bookstores, eating and drinking their way around the capital. “I had broccoli the other night, and was like wow broccoli is actually so good,“ Laura Fanning says. 

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They’ve also been preparing for the launch of an unexpected collaboration with Hysteric Glamour: a cult label established in 1984 by Nobuhiko Kitamura, who twisted the consumerist tropes of the 1960s into streetwear grails, and paved the way for Supreme, Stüssy, and Undercover. “It was about asking what Hysteric Glamour would look like had it been started today,” Fanning explains. “40 years of graphics have been embedded into our subconscious but we didn’t want to just take those symbols and keep them in the past. We’re thinking about the girl who’s rediscovering iconic pieces on Depop and Etsy. How is she wearing them? How is she mixing them in with her own wardrobe?” Having built a modest archive of the brand’s hard-to-find photo books – and now created another with Marks, titled Pretty Hurts – Kostadinov is quick to add that this collaboration is no “money grab”.“It’s not about t-shirts and sweaters,” he continues. “It came from a genuine point of view. It’s a meeting of minds and one big trust exercise, creating new but established silhouettes.” 

Known for its skew-whiff pattern cutting, obscure references, and off-hue colour palettes, Kiko Kostadinov can often feel a little impenetrable (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) but with this collection, the Fannings have provided a slightly more accessible entry point into their discordant style. “People might pick up the garment for the logo collaboration but then they’ll become more familiar with the design as time goes on,” Laura Fanning says, referencing their beloved skirt-trouser hybrids – a “no brainer” addition to the capsule. With hundreds of logos to its name, the hyperactive sensibility of Hysteric Glamour has been funnelled into screwed-up silhouettes: jackets come festooned in zips so that sleeves can be sliced away at the discretion of the wearer, while double closures mean that pieces can be simultaneously form-fitting and fatigued. “Obviously you don’t have to wear them in this way,” Deanna Fanning adds. “Because we’ve tried to be a lot more discreet here.”

Shot by Marks on an East London cheerleading team in a suburban retail park next to a big Tescos in Newham – glam! – the collection harbours that same sense of girlhood that has defined the twin sisters’ approach to womenswear. Things are cute, but cumbersome, just on the crest of being cool. “Coming of age, womanhood, girlhood: all of these things have always really fascinated us,” says Deanna Fanning. “Those times when someone misses the mark with what they wear and changes the status quo. Clothing always evolves from that one person.” It’s a philosophy embodied in the duo’s new asics collaboration – a gooey-soled, low-top sneaker with sensible, pink tartan panels sure to engender the same status as the duo’s Trivia bag. “It’s very bricolage. The detailing is borrowed from about five different shoes. We took Hysteric’s principle of borrowing from different companies in the world and making something your own,” she adds.

“I think it’s the idea of having a role model, too,” Laura Fanning interjects. “When you’re younger you always have a role model. And the thing with Hysteric Glamour is that it had this teenage fandom with its Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth, and Kelis campaigns – people we really looked up to while growing up the 90s.” That notion of in-between-ness, when a person’s margins are still wonky, yields a certain awkwardness: extra sleeves, double-layered t-shirts that wrap around the torso, and knitted vests with baggy, twisted drapes. “People have this idea that everything has to be super tasteful, but you have to break that. You have to piss someone off. You have to make them say ‘oh that’s ugly’. And as much as I get upset when someone trashes something we do, it also gives me a kick. I’m like, ‘okay I’ll make it more disgusting’,” Fanning concludes. “We don’t wanna please anyone like that.”

The collaboration will pre-release in Tokyo on the October 27 at Hysteric Glamour and October 28 at Dover Street Market Ginza, followed by an online release on November 8 and a wider global release shortly thereafter.