Wearing Maripol

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>> My love of Maripol is part and parcel of my vague obsession with that late ’70s- 80s era of downtown New York burst of underground creativity from Antonio Lopez to Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Through her Polaroids, she documented a scene that easily seduces the likes of me, who want to live vicariously through those hedonistic and spontaneous times.  Knowing that beneath the exotically flawless Polaroid surfaces of these beautiful creatures of the night – all haughty looks and sharp angles – lay a destiny of partying hard until drugs and AIDS took their toll is almost part of the sick and fatalistic allure of Maripol’s images.
Joyrich, a brand which is little known in the UK but has been going up the cult-o-meter in places like LA and Tokyo, veered from their cartoon capered collaborations (Mickey Mouse and Betty Boop have both had the Joyrich treatment), and on the back of a successful capsule collection featuring Keith Haring, Maripol was a natural partnership waiting to happen.  Even better that the lady herself chose the images to feature in the collection and worked together with Joyrich creative director David Melgar to shoot a video and lookbook (shot on Polaroid of course).
If nu-age logomania shows no signs of abating, then highly visual iconography that literally pops off your chest also doesn’t look like it’s subsiding anytime soon.  When I got Shibuya 109-ed in Tokyo, Natsumi – my make-over guru – was wearing a Joyrich Betty Boop leather jacket, influenced she said by the likes of Rita Ora and Rihanna.  Joyrich have taken streetwear staples like varsity jackets, oversized sweatshirts and trackie bottoms and have added that extra ingredient of iconic image licensing done with companies like Disney to create impact.  Insta-fashion reigns and cartoon emblazoned garments need little explanation.  No wonder then that K-pop stars have taken to Joyrich like a duck to water – pop stars wearing wearable pop art makes for POP!ular Instagram pics.  When I was in Seoul, I was fascinated by how keenly attuned everyone was to the labels that K-Pop stars wear – they can make or break labels and and Joyrich, with their instantly recognisable motifs, is one of those labels benefitting from K-pop popularity.
The Maripol capsule collection is a little bit of a curveball for Joyrich but for the downtown NY glamour aficionados like myself, it’s a no brainer.  Joyrich is making its UK presence known with an exclusive pop-up store at Machine-A in Soho, a natural partner for showcasing Joyrich’s pop-led street wear.  They’re pieces that sit well with Machine-A’s new season arrivals from Raf Simons, Nasir Mazhar, Sibling and exciting work from young graduates.  They’ve currently got a full selection of the Maripol collection (highlights include the sweatshirts featuring Grace Jones and the puffa and bomber jackets) as well as pieces from the Keith Haring and Malcolm Stuart collections.  Whether you wear it head to toe or have a solitary piece worked in, the impact is instant – a redefinition of “fast” fashion, if you will.

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