Multi-disciplinary artist Dom Sebastian is fluent in the Internet. After rising to infamy on social platform Tumblr with acid-trippy collages perfect for first-generation iPhone screensavers, Sebastian positioned himself as a pioneer of the low-fi net.art that defined a generation of square-eyed teens.
Following the launch of Instagram in 2010, Sebastian translated an ephemeral follower count into commercial success by launching a series of small capsule collections, including the highly coveted OKAY caps.
“When I started out,” he explains, “I was far less selective about what I showed online. Back then, it was all about getting as much work out into the world as possible.”
Almost a decade later and he’s graduated from London’s Central Saint Martins with a degree in textiles and a roster of clients including Chanel, Nike, Camper and Puma.
I used Tumblr as a platform to test out ideas and connect with an audience
Last year, there was even a plagiarising controversy: with Katy Perry and Capitol Records being accused of stealing his art for an album cover. Sebastian quickly lawyered up.
It was around that time he caught the attention of the British Fashion Council, which duly supported him in showing a collection of shirts, utility vests and lycra, featuring digitally rendered abstract prints punctuated by ink blots and silicone squiggles. It takes some balls to incorporate pieces like these into your wardrobe, though Sebastian does it with ease.
“At the start of my career, I used Tumblr as a platform to test out ideas and connect with an audience. Since then, my work’s become more refined and fashion focused. Now I have the technical experience necessary to realise my ideas, I’ve got stockists all across the globe chasing me for pieces.”
Dom Sebastian interview: From fashion graduate to British Fashion Council designer
How would you describe yourself?
I guess I’m somewhere between an artist and a designer. I was brought up in Gloucestershire and moved to London six years ago to study at CSM.
I started out studying graphic design but after a year or so I switched to a textile course not needed because I wanted to work toward something more tactile.
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m mostly inspired by objects. I collect mid-century glassware and ceramics and am a hoarder of plastic objects like containers and packaging.
I love technology and product design, particularly around the turn of the millennium; there is something very optimistic and experimental about that time period.
On the flip side, I always find myself drawn to horror films, particularly the New French Extremism movement. I’m also into the mid-2000s when a lot of horror cinema was super dark, grungy and over-the-top gory; there is a kind of campness to it.
How was showing your first collection at London Fashion Week?
The whole thing was a bit of a snowball effect – it was very overwhelming but a huge milestone for me.
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