In search of a meaningful way to stay intellectually charged and creatively engaged, Jason Storey said goodbye to his corporate law position in New York and followed his dream of becoming a full-time designer in South Africa. He now explores fashion creatively in its various conceptual forms with the label he started with his sister – Unknown Union.
When the label was launched in 2010, it took root in a retail store on Kloof Street in Cape Town, and it housed a collection of international brands alongside their own small capsule collection. 2014 saw the siblings open a design studio in Salt River. The same year also saw the inception of a larger collection that reflected upon the art, history and culture they encountered on the African continent. And in 2015 their brother Oscar left his job in the US to join the team. In their newest location on Bloem Street in Cape Town’s CBD, Unknown Union blends art, fashion, literature and music as a way to stay a “community of people that dig the arts.”
Their latest offering is a collaboration with photographer Cathrin Schulz titled The Wanderer – Stability through Movement. This body of work is a crisp exhibition of Unknown Union’s garments and Cathrin’s extraordinary command of lighting. An additional layer to this visual treat comes in the form of a short fashion film shot by Anna Schulz. With a behind-the-scenes feel, the film opens with the model getting camera ready accompanied by the soothing tone of James Blake’s voice breaking free as the music starts, bringing one into the Wanderer’s journey. I had an interview with Jason to find out more about the project.
Tell us a bit about The Wanderer – Stability through Movement and how it came into being?
The Wanderer can be seen as a pilot for an upcoming series and a fruitful collaboration between Unknown Union and Cathrin Schulz. A team of creatives sat down and brought in their expertise as a form of creative exchange. The cultural diversity of the creators brought up a colourful mix of ideas, leading to the story of The Wanderer. The result is the art directed and photographed edition by Cathrin Schulz and a complementary film by Anna Schulz.
What was the inspiration behind it?
The source of the collaboration is to merge the creative languages into a synergy. Unknown Union weaves ancestral knowledge into fashion, while Cathrin Schulz infuses spirituality into her visual medium of photography. The red thread is to connect the respective visions and create an effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
The series found inspiration in conveying the concept of Human Design, a science of differentiation. The Wanderer is a primal aspect found on both of the artists’ work, to convey a deeper message – a message of interpreting experience, emotions and stories – into a stimulating form of expression.
What is the message you wanted to convey with this film?
The medium of film visualizes and highlights the project’s aspect of ‘Stability through Movement’. Its purpose was to portray the creative flow of the shoot, as well as giving access to the different angles of the scenes. The intended message is simple: the beauty of creative collaboration.
What sparked the collaboration with Anna-Marie Schulz?
The collaboration was sparked by Unknown Union’s openness to provide Anna Schulz with a creative platform of expression within ‘The Wanderer – Stability through Movement’. It is rooted in creative exchange.
What can we expect to see from Unknown Union in the future?
We are going to dig further into current themes as well as unveil some new themes at this year’s runway show on February 10, at SAMW (AW18). In March, we’ll open our newest location in Johannesburg – in Maboneng.
With The Wanderer – Stability through Movement as the pilot, Unknown Union’s partnership with Cathrin Schulz promises to bring about sheer viewing pleasure. To watch the film go to their Instagram.
Clothing: Unknown Union
Photographer: Cathrin Schulz
Stylist: Kshitij Kankaria
Hair & Make-Up: Richard Wilikson
Model: Cristiano Palmerini
Filmmaker: Anna Schulz