Worst of the Worst Photo Series by Menswear Illustration aka Florian Kremers: 1-5 Shot in Wiesbaden Summer 2018
Late march 2018 Florian Kremers aka @menswear_illustration called for models for a very interesting shoot: recreating those gangsterish moods in the photos of those great books, like Crooks Like Us, Mike Disfarmer, City of Shadows, Murder in the city, Brassai etc…. That obviously caught my passionate heart and mind, since i too love those looks and imho those era was one of the most stylish eras for men and women clothes. They dressed casual what today is seen as formal, and when they dressed formal, they definitely dressed up for special occasions. Florian not only made great shots out of our session, but he was also so kind, to give me a short interview.
.. we know your work as menswear_illustration especially from the designs for a piece of chic (Sebastien Chirpaz), Simon James Cathcart, oneroundjack (Thomas). How did the collaborations begun?
I think my first contact was over over social media and online forums. Thomas (One Round Jack) and Simon (SJC) were both active in the Fedora Lounge even though the forum lost it’s appeal some years ago. They added me on facebook and instagram and we talked about menswear and design projects just as like minded people do. Sebastién (a piece of chic) saw my work for Vecona Vintage on instagram and contacted me. We share a very similar taste and I like his approach to tell stories with his designs. It’s a lifestyle which includes classic menswear as well as vintage motorcycles, cars and even airplanes. Not that I own a 20s airplaine but I like to look at them.
Your works show a strong relationship to the publicity graphics seen in the magazines of the 40is and 50is in USA and Europe. How do you adapt them to the now, or, is this process necessary?
I take that as a compliment because I love the design of the 20s to 50s. The modern methods of printing often require digital files. To achieve the old school look I draw most illustrations by hand, scan them and then add colors and fonts on the computer. I use certain color schemes and a rather muted pallette to achieve the “old” look. I also really like 30s cartoons like Betty Boop or Popeye so sometimes my illustrations reflect that and can get quite cartoony. My recent work for One Round Jack is a good example.
As a photographer you draw a strong inspiration from the underground and working class scene of the 40is. Is the process of recreation more an act of aesthetic appropriation or more one of preservation?
Maybe purists would call it more appropriation because I didn’t use old equipment? There are amazing wetplate photographers out there and I am not competiting with them. It’s like an hommage so a bit of both. The influence of the sydney mugshots isn’t hidden or anything. Those who know the original inspiration will recognize them right away. But I added something of my own with unexpected captions. The “worst of the worst” are not really criminals just ordinary sinners like all of us. And of course a bit of work went into the styling they all show friends of mine. Some of them wear vintage inspired clothes regularly some are just dressed up for the shooting. We worked with Vecona Vintage which is my girlfriends brand. Then they helped style each other. Do proper make up on the gals and so on. Teamwork. It was fun.
You’re an avid dancer, I saw. How important is the music, that surrounds the aesthetics of the 40is, in your work as menswear_illustration?
Yes, I like to dance lindy hop and of course the clothes go well with it since it originated in the 30s. When looking at videos from competion on youtube it’s fair to say that the well dressed couples stand out more. Some guys even dance in full suits! I would melt. But I am fine with dancers who don’t dress up at all. They focus on other things like technique or having a good dialogue with their dance partner. I just do the dress up part for myself so to speak. It brings me joy. I think that’s the link between my fascination with vintage fashion, illustration, dancing and all the other things. I’m not a purist but I really love it when everything comes together. It gives me the good vibes and inspiration I need.