The Culture Ltd is an internet-based art studio and creative cell focused on critiquing the seldom-talked-about intersection between art and commerce. Composed of a half dozen anonymous individuals, The Culture Ltd aims to satirize the fashion world's present obsession with logos and trademarks. Their first product, the H1-P1 hoodie takes a jab at streetwear giants Supreme, Off-White, Chrome Hearts, Anti Social Social Club, and Cav Empt by splicing them with a hint of Otaku, serving as a commentary on the current portrayal of streetwear in social media. The following is my email correspondence with their collective alias, Mr Culture.
Daniel: A friend introduced me to your project through Instagram a couple weeks back. There’s not a lot of information on there or your website, is that intentional?
Mr. Culture: We prefer to let our work speak for itself but sometimes it’s necessary to bring some context to the table.
Could I get a quick rundown on the background of your studio?
Mr. Culture: We all work in creative fields and we all have a fascination with fashion. Some of us are very involved (working for luxury brands) and some of us are further removed (looking at clothing on the internet). What united us with this project was a desire to see some satire and critique applied to fashion.
So I take it you’re rather critical of the fashion industry?
Mr Culture: It’s not necessarily the industry but the culture. Fashion exists in a paradigm where it’s less than art but more than commerce. It doesn’t get the same critical treatment as other creative fields. At the same time it’s at the forefront of pop culture. We felt it was the right time for this type of project. We were making all these jokes between ourselves we figured why not let something materialize and share it with the world.
Let’s stop for a moment and cover the anonymous and collective nature of the project. Am I talking to one person or several?
Mr Culture: At the moment a couple but a few more of us might be joining later. Right now there’s six of us all together, spread out across four time zones. Our group is very flat, none of us have titles just fields we specialize in. When it comes to social media and interviews such as this we just pass the ball around. We use the moniker Mr Culture for simplicities sake.
And the anonymous element, is that central to the message?
Mr Culture: There are some liabilities for the few of us working with the subjects of our derision but for the most part we don’t feel identities are necessary. We’re greatly influenced by the work of Martin Margiela and The Residents.
I was curious if Vetements was an influence?
Mr Culture: Not particularly. We felt let down by Vetements overall. They were supposed to upend the status quo and now they’ve been revealed to be another part of the machine.
Would you like to expound on that further?
Mr Culture: The mass market collaborations, the creative director position at Balenciaga. The Gvasalia brothers are portrayed as outsiders but they’ve both been long established in the industry. They created an air of excitement by positioning themselves as intruders yet they spend all their time colluding with corporate entities. There’s a cognitive dissonance there that we think people are waking up to.
Re-focusing on The Culture Ltd would you describe it as a parody brand?
Mr Culture: We prefer the term pastiche to parody. What we’re doing can be critical but it’s also a celebration. We all like fashion, we just think it can be absurd and deserves some ridicule. We’re also interested in exploring ideas outside what would define a traditional brand. T-shirts are the easiest to begin with because they’re a touchstone. Everyone can not only understand but also afford a t-shirt. It’s an incredible tool for expressing ideas. Some of us have backgrounds in video production, fine arts, and industrial design so naturally we have big ideas for the future. It all comes down to if The Culture Ltd resonates with people.
Could you talk about your first product release, the H1-CP Hooded Sweatshirt?
Mr Culture: Fashion as of late has become defined by iconography. Concepts such as texture, colour, and silhouette don’t really seem to matter anymore. This is a far cry from the beginning of the last decade when logo usage was at an all time low. We thought it was interesting how dressing fashionably has been reduced to a sort of shopping list of logos, trademarks, and signatures. You collect these elements to receive the approval of your peers. We wanted to make the process easier by simply putting all the signifiers you need in one place.
Is there a target customer for this type of thing?
Mr Culture: Anyone who can take a joke really.
I guess the next natural question is are you worried about any legal consequences? Did you see Virgil Abloh trying to sue Paige Denim over their use of construction stripes?
Mr Culture: We’re actually hoping to get a cease and desist letter at some point, we would want to use it as a t-shirt graphic.
That feels oddly fitting. Anything we can expect in the future beyond court appearances?
Mr Culture: One of us is based in Japan and is in talks with a certain Otaku orientated company about a possible collaboration. We’ve noticed a strong correlation between fashion and Otaku culture that we’d like to explore. We also have something to say about the recent appropriation of musical subcultures by certain luxury brands.
I’m excited, to say the least. Any parting words for our readers?
Mr Culture: Stay tuned to our Instagram for more developments. We have a half dozen releases lined up but beyond that it comes down to if anyone actually cares. We’ve all had a blast with this project so far but it’s not exactly light on time or resources. Hopefully the world needs The Culture Ltd.
Images c/o Mr. Culture
Text: Daniel Nudelman