Photography BERT SPANGENMACHER
Text JUSTIN ROSS
4SEE caught up with L.A.-based designer Victor Wilde, the talented creative mind between the edgy and original brand Bohemian Society, when he visited Berlin this spring. Calling Victor a designer doesn’t seem to do him justice though—upon sitting down with him it immediately became apparent that his creativity abounds in so many directions that we might need a new word to describe this kind of multitalented inventor.
His original approach to clothing might spring from Victor’s own personal story as he ventured forth from his native Brooklyn, carving out his path towards success with many interesting and adventurous detours along the way including being thrown out of art school not once but twice, finding work as a living statue on the streets of New York, and hosting his own cable access show before finally transplanting himself to Los Angeles which he has called home for the past fifteen years.
It was in Los Angeles that the idea to create clothing first came to him. There was just one problem: he didn’t exactly know how to sew. Rather than let this be an obstacle for him, he seized it as an opportunity to begin creating clothing from recycled vintage clothes he picked up all over town.
This was long before the term ‘upcycling’ even existed. For Victor, this was simply a way to let people wear his designs and get his creative vision out there. His first collection created this way was a smash success and before long he couldn’t keep up with the orders that were pouring in. Growing up in a tight-knit Brooklyn family which he called “almost like mobsters” he engaged his cousin to join him as business partner.
Together they found local patternmakers and seamstresses to begin creating original garments based on Victor’s own handmade aesthetic. While produced by his team in Los Angeles, Victor still personally oversees every garment that leaves the facility and most of the collection is hand-finished by him as he adds his own personal touch to each original garment. As Victor puts it, the result is “mass-produced one of a kinds.”
Today Victor’s brand is catching the attention of hip and aware crowds worldwide for its raw but refined approach to a punk aesthetic. The clothing he creates has an energetic and original quality to it that gives it a singular appeal to a savvy, stylish crowd. It has recently been featured in the pages of Vogue and is a favorite of numerous celebrity clients and stylists in L.A.
All this momentum has led Victor to expand his latest capsule collection Black Rose, featuring a darker, moody attitude with updated tongue-in-cheek references to ’90s grunge and emo symbolism, into markets in Asia and Europe. Victor keeps coming back to Berlin because he finds the style and attitude of people here resonate with his own way of thinking.
Victor combines his business in fashion with a free-spirited art practice that incorporates video projects and art installations as well as his own punk attitude to fashion in which he uses models to bodypaint canvases for example.
Look out for Victor’s Bohemian Society clothes in selective underground retailers in Europe in the near future, and don’t be surprised if you see Victor back in Berlin to turn a few heads with his original approach to combing art and fashion.