Andrea Crews

Andrea Crews

Maroussia Rebecq

What is Andrea Crews?
Andrea Crews began at the Palais de Tokyo in 2002 as an upcycled second-hand clothes performance, and was run by a collective of artists in art centres. Fast forward to 2015, Andrea Crews has become a developing fashion brand which has begun menswear collections over the last two seasons. I feel like we’re starting the next season of a television series. At the moment we’re on episode two. We’re on the official line-up during the men’s fashion week in Paris, and we’ve developed a new, bold, unisex style which used to be more queer and sculptural. We’re now getting more into the prêt-à-porter sector. We still focus on the man of the future while keeping a foot in womenswear, but with an image we present through men. We present guys wearing the dresses we’ve made for women to really experiment with our new style.
Why did you switch to menswear?
Let’s just say the unbridled speed of fashion weeks pushed us into it. The menswear season is at the same time as the womenswear pre-collection, which means we can combine the two and extend our visibility and sales periods. The men’s fashion week is now far more interesting and innovative. It allows more room for creativity and offers a more arty audience. And creating styles for the man of the future is way more exciting. There’s still so much out there! I just love putting men in dresses or crop-tops to shake up the traditional image of virility. And casting men for the show is funnier and sexier. Well, we like it anyway!
How did you get to where you are today?
I studied art at university. Andrea Crews was designed as a project based on fashion, art and activism. I’m also the Art Director for the new space, Le Cœur. This new project site is next to the boutique at 83 rue de Turenne in Paris, and we use it to host exhibitions. At the moment Upcycled Art has taken up residence in the space. It’s a personal project I developed in homage to the artists who have influenced how I work.
Do you manage this project on your own?
I work with Séverine Redon, who owns the communication agency Artdicted, and Charlotte Ardon who currently manages the space. I’m just the Artistic Director!
Do you need to have several projects on the go at the same time?
It’s not vital. It’s just that I have a lot of ideas, and I generally like to see them through. Nowadays I prefer having fewer projects and more thinking space.
Did you always want to have your own brand?
I started by launching my own project, so I never really considered it. It just happened. But with the Andrea Crews project we worked with a lot of other brands such as Nike, Uniqlo, Opel, My Little Pony, Eastpak, Vans and streetwear brands we identified with. I’m not really sure what “street” means, but I think we have a street, lifestyle focus in the sense that we get involved in everything in an urban way. Luxury codes bore me. I’m more interested in people in the street, I look for equality in difference, the joy of DIY and the revolution of the everyday!
Andrea Crews is something of a collective. But who is behind it?
Can a brand still be a collective? A hierarchy is automatically introduced. Anji Dinh-Van is the collection director and heads up a production team. We pay the team every month and both take joint reasonability for the company. The collective aspect is found more in our creative processes, when we are disconnected from the realities of running a brand and a business.
Is the collective team no longer there? Have the artistic projects been put on hold?
Not at all! In fact now I have the Le Cœur space I have so many ongoing projects, and things are developing very naturally. We have not stopped the collective aspect. We still have it, and we call on it when we can. For example, I’ve just returned from Kyoto, where a group of students and I created a collection of upcycled kimonos. The project I’m interested in is based on a horizontal system in which all knowledge and expertise is shared. Andrea Crews is still a collective project, but it works as a brand.
What about activism?
Activism is part of the Andrea Crews identity. Andrea Crews was inspired by reflection on consumption, work, the impact fashion has on people and the impact of production on the environment. What particularly interests me is the message we send out with our bodies and our style when we walk down the street. This thought process was concretised through performances, actions and the creation of a viable system of producing upcycled clothing. Then green fashion and (unfortunately) greenwashing soon followed, and everyone wanted to be seen as eco-friendly and ethical. It was a fantastic new marketing tool. But the styles were just awful! I just want to work on my own personal project, and I think doing things in good conscience without using it boost sales is far classier.
"This is not a time of creativity. Making less noise and following public consensus means you appeal to more people and bump up your sales figures." [Andrea Crews]
So you don’t feel the need to demonstrate in the streets, but is highlighting your actions important to you?
It’s part of who I am, and it’s one of our strengths. It sets us apart. When someone wears Andrea Crews clothing they are wearing a history and a set of values. Of course you aren’t demonstrating in the street, but you are still wearing a certain message.
Do you want to be remembered?
I want Andrea Crews to go down in history as an exceptional, avant-garde brand. We published a book presenting our designs throughout the 2000s for our tenth anniversary,
What is your target demographic?
We have a huge presence in Asia, where people enjoy wearing bold, colourful, oversized and conceptual clothing. It’s not very “Parisian”. In Paris we appeal both to teenage fashionistas and arty women looking for original clothing. Our target group is fairly large even though it is still street fashion. And we’re developing this direction even more with our menswear collection.
What were the biggest problems you encountered when launching your brand, or when you decided to go more “fashion”?
The hardest thing to deal with is the speed of the fashion world. You have to constantly design, sell, produce and start over. You never have enough time.
Is it hard to come up with new ideas and have enough time to produce them?
Ideas aren’t the problem! But making them a reality, working with suppliers and making sure they deliver high-quality products on time is very difficult.
Raf Simons left Dior because of the crazy speed of today’s fashion world. Do you think there are no more seasons, too many collections and less creativity?
All I can say is that fashion sucks the life out of you.
Do you think that’s starting to change?
This is not a time of creativity. We are in a period where making less noise and following public consensus means you appeal to more people and bump up your sales figures. We created a really strong project that flaunted the written codes, and we have found ourselves on the official calendar for the Paris Fashion Week, so in that sense it’s changing.
There are lots of brands being launched, but young people generally just try and stand out in order to join a leading fashion House.
Do you think there are too many people on the market? Do you think fashion is the new jet-set culture and everyone wants to get involved?
Yes! Just like cinema in the past. Contemporary art will be next.

Andrea Crews

Maroussia Rebecq

What is Andrea Crews?
Andrea Crews began at the Palais de Tokyo in 2002 as an upcycled second-hand clothes performance, and was run by a collective of artists in art centres. Fast forward to 2015, Andrea Crews has become a developing fashion brand which has begun menswear collections over the last two seasons. I feel like we’re starting the next season of a television series. At the moment we’re on episode two. We’re on the official line-up during the men’s fashion week in Paris, and we’ve developed a new, bold, unisex style which used to be more queer and sculptural. We’re now getting more into the prêt-à-porter sector. We still focus on the man of the future while keeping a foot in womenswear, but with an image we present through men. We present guys wearing the dresses we’ve made for women to really experiment with our new style.
Why did you switch to menswear?
Let’s just say the unbridled speed of fashion weeks pushed us into it. The menswear season is at the same time as the womenswear pre-collection, which means we can combine the two and extend our visibility and sales periods. The men’s fashion week is now far more interesting and innovative. It allows more room for creativity and offers a more arty audience. And creating styles for the man of the future is way more exciting. There’s still so much out there! I just love putting men in dresses or crop-tops to shake up the traditional image of virility. And casting men for the show is funnier and sexier. Well, we like it anyway!
How did you get to where you are today?
I studied art at university. Andrea Crews was designed as a project based on fashion, art and activism. I’m also the Art Director for the new space, Le Cœur. This new project site is next to the boutique at 83 rue de Turenne in Paris, and we use it to host exhibitions. At the moment Upcycled Art has taken up residence in the space. It’s a personal project I developed in homage to the artists who have influenced how I work.
Do you manage this project on your own?
I work with Séverine Redon, who owns the communication agency Artdicted, and Charlotte Ardon who currently manages the space. I’m just the Artistic Director!
Do you need to have several projects on the go at the same time?
It’s not vital. It’s just that I have a lot of ideas, and I generally like to see them through. Nowadays I prefer having fewer projects and more thinking space.
Did you always want to have your own brand?
I started by launching my own project, so I never really considered it. It just happened. But with the Andrea Crews project we worked with a lot of other brands such as Nike, Uniqlo, Opel, My Little Pony, Eastpak, Vans and streetwear brands we identified with. I’m not really sure what “street” means, but I think we have a street, lifestyle focus in the sense that we get involved in everything in an urban way. Luxury codes bore me. I’m more interested in people in the street, I look for equality in difference, the joy of DIY and the revolution of the everyday!
Andrea Crews is something of a collective. But who is behind it?
Can a brand still be a collective? A hierarchy is automatically introduced. Anji Dinh-Van is the collection director and heads up a production team. We pay the team every month and both take joint reasonability for the company. The collective aspect is found more in our creative processes, when we are disconnected from the realities of running a brand and a business.
Is the collective team no longer there? Have the artistic projects been put on hold?
Not at all! In fact now I have the Le Cœur space I have so many ongoing projects, and things are developing very naturally. We have not stopped the collective aspect. We still have it, and we call on it when we can. For example, I’ve just returned from Kyoto, where a group of students and I created a collection of upcycled kimonos. The project I’m interested in is based on a horizontal system in which all knowledge and expertise is shared. Andrea Crews is still a collective project, but it works as a brand.
What about activism?
Activism is part of the Andrea Crews identity. Andrea Crews was inspired by reflection on consumption, work, the impact fashion has on people and the impact of production on the environment. What particularly interests me is the message we send out with our bodies and our style when we walk down the street. This thought process was concretised through performances, actions and the creation of a viable system of producing upcycled clothing. Then green fashion and (unfortunately) greenwashing soon followed, and everyone wanted to be seen as eco-friendly and ethical. It was a fantastic new marketing tool. But the styles were just awful! I just want to work on my own personal project, and I think doing things in good conscience without using it boost sales is far classier.
"This is not a time of creativity. Making less noise and following public consensus means you appeal to more people and bump up your sales figures." [Andrea Crews]
So you don’t feel the need to demonstrate in the streets, but is highlighting your actions important to you?
It’s part of who I am, and it’s one of our strengths. It sets us apart. When someone wears Andrea Crews clothing they are wearing a history and a set of values. Of course you aren’t demonstrating in the street, but you are still wearing a certain message.
Do you want to be remembered?
I want Andrea Crews to go down in history as an exceptional, avant-garde brand. We published a book presenting our designs throughout the 2000s for our tenth anniversary,
What is your target demographic?
We have a huge presence in Asia, where people enjoy wearing bold, colourful, oversized and conceptual clothing. It’s not very “Parisian”. In Paris we appeal both to teenage fashionistas and arty women looking for original clothing. Our target group is fairly large even though it is still street fashion. And we’re developing this direction even more with our menswear collection.
What were the biggest problems you encountered when launching your brand, or when you decided to go more “fashion”?
The hardest thing to deal with is the speed of the fashion world. You have to constantly design, sell, produce and start over. You never have enough time.
Is it hard to come up with new ideas and have enough time to produce them?
Ideas aren’t the problem! But making them a reality, working with suppliers and making sure they deliver high-quality products on time is very difficult.
Raf Simons left Dior because of the crazy speed of today’s fashion world. Do you think there are no more seasons, too many collections and less creativity?
All I can say is that fashion sucks the life out of you.
Do you think that’s starting to change?
This is not a time of creativity. We are in a period where making less noise and following public consensus means you appeal to more people and bump up your sales figures. We created a really strong project that flaunted the written codes, and we have found ourselves on the official calendar for the Paris Fashion Week, so in that sense it’s changing.
There are lots of brands being launched, but young people generally just try and stand out in order to join a leading fashion House.
Do you think there are too many people on the market? Do you think fashion is the new jet-set culture and everyone wants to get involved?
Yes! Just like cinema in the past. Contemporary art will be next.