Marfa Journal shares with us this exclusive interview with Toby Feltwell, talking partnerships, ego and how we need to take responsibility for consumption and creation. The issue’s focus on the family expands here to include family-by-choice, pulling on friends, friends of friends, and their family too.
My friend Taro had a chat with Toby Feltwell—the brains behind Japanese fashion label CAV EMPT, that Toby runs with the iconic SK8THING. Taro got his his BFF Alice to snap her brothers Jack & Milo in C.E gear for this story. They’re family. Nothing beats family.
How did you start the whole thing up?
The time felt right because of a combination of practical things, like suddenly having the time to do it, and more subjective things like feeling a general need for something new. The ambition was more to work on something together with Sk8thing than wanting to do clothes. I wouldn’t have done it with anyone else. We’re both normally quite shy and would do anything to avoid being in the limelight—it really felt like an unavoidable push to do something new.
Two creatives working on something new...
Creative types are quite annoying. Everyone on earth creates and consumes to varying degrees. Complaining that nothing is happening, or that there’s nothing new—as if you are just a passive spectator and the rest of the world is there for your entertainment—is quite horrible. But creatives who really believe themselves to be a special class that deserves everyone’s respect just for doing something are part of the same system. They want to keep everyone else in the audience position forever.
There needs to be mutual respect, is that what you’re saying?
Yes. Also I think it’s just a recognition of the reality that consuming is really important to us. It’s silly to respect creativity more than consumption. I don’t think that’s what life is about at present.
“It’s silly to respect creativity more than consumption.”
Talking about creative ego—is brand anonymity the way towards the most honest work?
I have never thought about it that way... We’re into honesty, though—who isn’t? I think the focus is to work on a brand that has its own personality partly independent of the people who create it. A personality which is evolving, and requires a certain level of engagement from anyone who’s interested. This applies to us too, of course. It has to be interesting to us. If we knew where this will eventually end up, it would be a complete chore to work our way towards that point.
So, there is no game plan?
I notice this compulsion to think in a strategic way, as if strategy trumps everything. I think that’s a shame. Strategy is just simple tricks and techniques that are universal. They could be applied to any venture. I rather value specialist abilities that differentiate one pursuit from another. There’s this struggle not to accept anybody else’s goals or definitions of success. It isn’t easy. We are in the process of trying to work it out.
Eneas Capalbo and Adam McEwen in Conversation