A few months ago I sat down with one of the owners and designers of the up-and-coming T-shirt line 5 Preview to talk about their newest collection, their blog, and what inspires them. The brand, which started in 2008, is known for riffing on iconic fashion design houses (like Chanel and YSL) and iconic figures from Pop culture with their jewelry and tailored black and white t-shirts. The fairly new company has become somewhat of a cult- phenomenon and their designs are quickly becoming a favorite for celebrities and fashionistas alike. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this promising line!
When did you start 5preview and what was your goal when you began?
I worked for five years for a big Italian brand and I was completely TIRED of doing what other people told me to, and what they thought the market wanted. We could only write “I miss you” and that kind of stuff on the shirts. So I started to print T-shirts in my free time (at night) at home in Via Cavour n° 221. The goal was just to give shirts to people that wanted them, but then there was this huge demand for these simple white shirts with black bold prints.
What’s the story behind the balaclava masks?
Really simple—to put the focus on the T-shirt instead of the model. The model was usually me or my friends and I didn’t want people to know I was doing the shirts. Especially my ex-boss.
Have you ever received any negative feedback from the designers/brands you’ve riffed?
Chanel wasn’t happy about the CAVOUR T-shirt and I got some angry mails from their lawyers. So I quit doing that print. I respect their arguments: they worked for hundreds of years to fill their brand with value, and I just come along and surf on their wave. Anyway, I think the CAVOUR shirt is quite unique in a way, it’s been copied more than Chanel itself! It’s funny that people I don’t know are copying my old apartments address…even more funny that people buy it. I even feel a little bit guilty over all the horrible copies that are out there now.
What do you think sets you apart from other t-shirt brands?
Hmmm….I’m true to myself and my past. Everything comes from me and the music I listen to, from the books I read and the films I like. I make things I want to wear myself and that I would like my boyfriend and friends to wear. Simple, elegant stuff.
Do you have a favorite design in the new collection?
Oh yes! The Lacoste and Margiela “rip-offs”. They’re quite clever. Or in the BITNB collection? There I really like the Daniel Johnston frog with the balaclava mask and the SantaCruzalike print. I always liked the same stuff, I got the originals when I was 13 and since then not so much has changed…
What is the aim of the 5preview blog?
It’s nice to have direct contact with the fans/customers. I love all the pictures people send me of themselves wearing 5preview T-shirts, from all over the world! And we always get in contact with other creative people there for collaborations. It’s a good way to keep people updated on what we’re doing.
Are you ever shocked when you see people from all over the world wearing your designs? Is there anyone in particular that you can’t believe wears your stuff?
OK. When I saw the pictures of Claudia Schiffer, Busta Rhymes, Giles Deacon, Örjan Andersson (head designer Cheap Monday), Quentin Delafon (singer of The Teenagers) & the girls in the P. Diddy video I got so happy. It’s crazy because there you realize that this is BIG.
I just came back from Berlin and unfortunately I saw more fakes than real 5preview shirts on the streets. Probably because of the economical crisis.
What are your future goals for the company? Are there plans to expand beyond t-shirts and jewelry?
We did the first proper collection for SS2011 and got a really positive response. That’s what we want to do, not only T-shirts. Ten items for women and 10 for men. Really nice materials (nothing synthetic at all) and super good quality.
Who or what inspires you right now?
We’re working on the Fall Winter 2011-12 right now (and outside the sun shines and it’s 95°F) and I’m obsessed with Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Raymond Pettibon, Morrisey, El Lissitzky, DADA, sailors, skinheads and a whole lot of flannel.