Can Artist Sterling Ruby Upend Conceptual Streetwear?

His renegade jeweler pal Gaia Repossi describes why he gets her vote



It takes a revolutionary to know one. Gaia Repossi modernized high jewelry and brought Rem Koolhaas interiors to the storied Place Vendôme. So it’s no surprise that the House of Repossi’s artistic director recently stepped out during couture week in fluorescent pink-toned denim workwear from her friend Sterling Ruby’s new fashion collective, which encompasses his main line, S.R. Studio. LA. CA., and three distinct others within that collection: Ed. 50 (limited pieces in quantities of 50), Soto (garments bleached or hand-dyed in the Vernon studio on Soto Street) and Unique (one-off pieces all available through online drops).


She suggests the designs from Ruby’s debut S.R. Studio. L.A. CA. men’s and women’s collections — shown in a former Florentine barn at Pitti Uomo this summer — are a riff on the 47-year-old multidisciplinary artist’s personal work uniform. As with his art, he’s letting the line speak for itself, so we’ve enlisted his longtime friend to shed light on the enigmatic creative’s first ready-to-wear collection.

GR: “There’s this spark in Sterling’s eyes and an incredible positive energy. I’ve been to his studio many times but fell in love with one of his collages last year in Brussels — where he had shows DRFTRS and WIDW with the Xavier Hufkens gallery. Some of Sterling’s work reminds me of Franz West’s abstract sculptures. There is also an Ed Ruscha feeling to it — though Sterling’s is messier and more plastic.


He’s an established artist and this new venture is inspired by urban punk, Americana, Amish quilt-making and even his previous street life as a skateboarder — all with a conceptual touch — it’s a continuation of everything he’s done. He’s already put a foot in fashion through collaborations with Raf [Simons] at Dior, at the designer’s eponymous menswear label, and also at Calvin Klein with the supercool yellow boutique interiors he created.

I love that much of the collection looks like a uniform. Maybe his? With the funk acid touch of bright fluorescents that define his palette … who wouldn’t like to wear Sterling Ruby’s uniform? It’s the new definition of streetwear for today. This one is just maybe more elevated, or more fun. It’s like living art on a daily basis.”


Feature image: Artist and designer STERLING RUBY looks on as a model poses in one of his pieces. Photo by Melanie Schiff.


This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of C Magazine.


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