MILAN — Simone Cracker’s Simone Botte and his business partner Filippo Biraghi would rather say “no” to the fashion establishment, stop making new gear and leave the industry.
Yet in their frequent reflections on how best to convey their radical fashion proposition, the pair found a formula for changing perceptions and breaking down barriers from within, embracing a punk attitude they said was inspired by, among others, the late queen of punk Vivienne Westwood.
Her death last December and that of Pamela Rooke, known as Jordan, the legendary saleswoman at Westwood’s “Sex” store, struck a chord with Botte and Biraghi, who were already busy coming up with a collection for the student that was a bit stronger than the one they debuted at fashion week last June.
The brand has been in business for 12 years, advocating a radical approach to fashion, sourcing (only recycled fabrics are allowed), choosing only housemates and the concept of “punk kindness”.
The latter was not quite appropriate for today’s times, said the duo.
“We are angry about everything that is happening in the world,” Biraghi said. “Instead of advocating our usual ‘punk politeness’ mindset, we’ve embraced a ‘but no’ attitude: the ability to say no is the only way we have freedom and formulate our own thinking.
“We’re kind of upset that the world is going in the wrong direction, and especially in fashion, because it seems like a separate bubble,” Biraghi said.
Rich in experimental techniques and reworked fabrics, the collection pays homage to Westwood and “Der Struwwelpeter,” Heinrich Hoffmann’s 1845 German children’s book. He will be presented with a show that will take place on Sunday at 10 am CET.
Decidedly more somber than past shows, the collection includes cuts that are draped, wrapped and tied on the body and covered in a silicone coating that crackles when worn for the first time. The same goes for mixed media clothing layered to match the different textures. They got old blankets and draped them over the body as dresses and coats and repurposed old military equipment, painting them with paint.
The lineup is rich in hand knits made from deadstock yarn and evokes a collegiate vibe, also a nod to punk rebellion against the institutions. The duo have linked up with Gaia brand Segattini Knotwear on a range of open weave, sheer mohair knits in neon colors as well as mélange options.
Another cobranding they developed also has a punk undercurrent. They got in touch with John Marchant, the gallerist and curator behind Ragged Kingdom, the fashion and lifestyle venture of Jamie Reid, the famous British punk artist best known for his ransom notes and cut-up letters and his close collaboration with Sex Pistols. The brand borrowed unsold merchandising from Ragged Kingdom and turned it into new gear, with a vintage flair.
Most of the assortment consists of unique pieces, as the two creatives increasingly recognized that these are the items that are in the greatest demand in retail.
“We changed our idea slightly and decided to no longer envision the collection as two-way, with show pieces and retail. Customers have really appreciated our one-of-a-kind pieces, perhaps because they look like flea market finds,” said Botte. “In the past, we were afraid they were too conceptual for retail and would scare away customers.”
Distributed through the Garage showroom in Milan, Simon Cracker gains new stockists every season, including the avant-garde Daad as well as Wait&See in Milan.