London-based artist Nas Abraham is the first artist to set up shop in our new Duke Street Emporium space.
We have now launched our first concept store, Duke Street Emporium, with The Shop at Bluebird in the heart of Mayfair. Before opening we caught up with Nas Abraham, the first artist in a series of in-store collaborations.
In short, Nas is a creative mind about town. After studying Fashion Illustration at London College of Fashion, he set out to apply his breadth of skills in arts and design to a multitude of projects. His work draws from digital and hand-drawn media, culminating in a range of projects from illustration and prints to creative direction and even clothing. Nas is also a frequent contributor to style collective Individualism where he creates content alongside some of the biggest up-and-coming names in the world of menswear.
Nas’ most recent piece of work, namely a digital-meets-graphic installation, has taken shape in Duke Street Emporium. In response to a quote from his website, we wholeheartedly concur. “Inspiration is [indeed] contagious.”
Tell us about Individualism?
Individualism is a men’s style collective dedicated to educating and empowering men to be more courageous with their style and being comfortable with who they are. It’s a team of about 13 creative people who specialise in different areas from film, writing, photography, styling, design, advertising… You name it, we’ve got it it covered.
What is your role within the collective?
I was initially brought on board as an illustrator — hand drawing articles and stories to support our written content. I then became more involved with photo shoots and editorials and I now assume more of an Art Director’s role with Individualism.
What made you want to work with us?
I met the lovely representatives at The Shop at Bluebird, who introduced me to the artistic culture they promote, which is heavily cultivated in the new Duke Street hub. I was presented with the opportunity to display my artwork in a place that houses both the iconic British Heritage brand Jigsaw and the fashion-forward boutique, The Shop at Bluebird.
What have you created for Duke Street opening?
I have created two huge, mixed media murals placed on the walls of the new store. I’ve also created a conceptual moving image to project over three mannequins. Make sure you see the installation for yourselves.
Where in the store will it be?
The murals will be in the entrance of the store, very close to the window for all to see and the projections will live in lower ground floor.
What was your idea behind the piece?
I wanted to convey the concept of relationships, bonds and eternity in reference to Duke Street Emporium being a place of sociality, meeting with friends and the bonds we make with people. The projection has a similar concept but will be more focused on the aesthetic.
What sparks your creativity?
God the creator is my biggest inspiration, as well as artists and and other creatives. If something is created well and with passion — whether it be music, artwork, clothing, a building, etc. — it tends to resonate with me. I often place myself in their frame of mind, drawing inspiration from their creative process.
Who would you like to meet at Duke Street Emporium?
It would have to be Pharrell Williams. He’s a highly creative person who has inspired me since I was young. I think we would have a lot to talk about. Or I would just grill him with questions until he leaves! (laughs)
Dear Jigsaw, After a relationship with your stores spanning 30 years - from the occasional brilliantly cut suit in my twenties, to tops and going out dresses in my thirties, everyday cross cut sweaters, stretchy jeans, work clothes and a host of other things in my 40s, it is with a very heavy heart that I regret that now that i am in my early 50s, you’ve decided to break up with me. After several abortive missions over recent months to restock my winter and spring wardrobes with a few well cut, well made, reliably comfortable and flattering items - I discovered that you no longer cater for women of my age - despite the misleading advertising - where a stick thin fifty something year old model wears a very ordinary top - the likes of which can be found in pretty much any high street store, at a fraction of the price you are selling them for. Sales girls in a couple of stores pointed me in the direction of rails of skimpy, see through, square cut, high necked cheap looking t-shirts - where once lovely, feminine tailored tops had once jostled for space amongst clever sweaters and swingy skirts. The tiny ‘classics’ section still sells the basic stretchy ‘magic’ trousers - but you see I already have 4 pairs of those. While I would have loved to have splashed out on a new sweater, actually I don’t feel the need now to show off the frankly rather unappealing mid section of my menopausal paunch, in one of your depressingly short sweaters. ‘We are now catering more for the 18-25 market’ said a sales girl cheerily, as I panic browsed through rail after rail of inappropriate, unflattering, ill cut items. ‘Perhaps you should try Marks and Spencers?’. Well blow me down with a feather. I may be 51, but I’m not yet dead. Nor have I morphed into my Grandmother. (Sorry M&S I do buy some little bits and bobs at your gaff - including all my pants - and now you mention it, a few basic t-shirts that are pretty well fitting actually and still only about a tenner). ‘I’m sorry,’ I said to the girl, ‘But I have a 19 year old daughter, and so far, despite my best efforts, she has not proved able to generate the earning capacity to invest in a couple of skimpy, pale lemon yellow, high necked t-shirts which cost nearly sixty quid each, preferring instead the lure of the three for a tenner rail in New Look, Forever 21, H&M or any number of stores catering for exactly her age group, and pre everything body shape. I sadly shrunk my two best Jigsaw jumpers. Had I known that you would no longer be making these fabulous cover all but still make you look thinner as well as keeping you warm sweaters that you’ve been churning out for the last couple of decades, I would certainly have taken out a bank loan and bought your entire stock in a size 14. It is with great regret that despite my loyalty and my emotional and financial investment over the years, you have chosen to replace me with a younger model. I do hope that you are very happy together, and that you do not find yourself in the disappointing position, a year or two from now, when the honeymoon period is over, realising that you have very little in common. With best wishes Mary Domange
This season, we've collaborated with Cluny Lace on a beautiful capsule collection. We headed to Nottingham to meet their highly skilled workers and explore the last lace factory in the UK: http://bit.ly/1Gpl5eD
NEW POST - Buckets & Spades in Jigsaw Magazine http://bit.ly/1PgKeJK I was asked to style and feature in a shoot for the new issue of Jigsaw's lovely magazine. It's in stores now, free for all! See some of the shoot here.
Bring a friend or two and enjoy complimentary bubbles and stylish summer tips from our Personal Shopper Clara Halpin in the Ladieswear Department on Saturday April 25th. Enjoy the latest Spring Summer key looks from Jigsaw from 12pm and 2pm in store.
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