01 August 2012

Reed + Rader

How is digital going to change fashion? What is the future of fashion editorials? Photographic and animation duo Pamela Reed + Matthew Rader are probably the most qualified people to answer these questions. Reed + Rader have been together for 10 years, living and working together. Before everyone else, the couple understood how to take advantage of the Internet in order to promote fashion and create new fashion stories, using the GIF format and augmented realities. Their aesthetic is giving a fun, dreamy, colorful, fresh and futuristic twist to the fashion industry. Let’s have a chat with these two fashion geeks! See more;

▼ Read the interview ▼

Dora Moutot (DM) interviews Reed + Rader (RR);

DM: How did you meet? For how long have you been working together? Is it hard to combine love and work?
RR: We met online on a pre-Facebook social media website. We learned that we both were attending the same school (Art Institute of Pittsburgh) and living in the same dorm.  We both also had blue hair, so I guess it was meant to be. In February 2013, it will be 10 years together. For us it feels natural to work together, there’s not much separation between Reed + Rader and Pamela + Matthew. 

DM: Where do you live? When are you originally from? What and where did you study?
RR: We live in NYC. Originally we’re both from small towns in America. Pamela is from Pennsylvania and Matthew is from Ohio. We both studied Photography at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and then we transferred and continued our studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Then it was a few years off and back to school at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).

DM: How do you think the internet and new technologies are going to transform fashion? How do you see the future of fashion? Don’t you think fashion is actually stuck in traditional medias?
RR: Digital clothes is going to be big, especially when augmented reality reaches its peak. We foresee designers creating digital clothes in on screen environments instead of actually creating tangible items.  Digital is a space that has only begun to be explored for fashion. 
DM: Who are your clients? How do you combine art and commerce? Do you find it hard?
RR: Our clients are usually in the fashion or advertising world who are looking to try something new and take advantage of the internet platform. The lines between art and commerce for us are very blurred almost to the point of sometimes having no separation.  I think with our aesthetic if you are coming to us for a job, you already know what you want and what you’ll get.

DM: Where does your inspiration come from?
RR: Internet, Video Games, Films, Friends, Cats.
DM: Do you believe in a “New aesthetic” fashion movement?
RR: Fashion only seems to have come curious of the internet in the last few years. And while the fashion powers that be may not quite be sure what to do with it it’s definitely on their radar. Fashion is thought of as this cutting edge thing but the status quo is actually really quite conservative. A decade of mainstream internet acceptance has usurped things though. Now anyone with cool ideas and great personal style can be a poster child for the fashion industry much to the chagrin of the old guard and admiration of the rest of us. Pixel prints are cool, but it will be better to see what happens in fashion after designers get it and dive a little deeper.

DM: You were already working with the GIF format and creating dreamy imagery before the rise of the Tumblr culture and aesthetic, how do you feel about it? How do you feel about early internet nostalgia, glitch and gifs becoming very popular? Do you find it inspiring?
RR: We’ve made GIFs since we were kids playing around on our Geocites and Angelfire webpages but it wasn’t until 2007 that we started seriously considering that the GIF could be a platform for us. People on 4chan, SomethingAwful, YTMND, etc had been making awesome stuff for quite a while but in fashion it had never really been done except maybe as a laugh.
So, being huge internet nerds, we abandoned our 4x5 camera and jumped into the digital abyss and haven’t really looked back since. The Tumblr juggernaut seemed to start around the same time but to be honest we never really used it much as a platform although people certainly shared our stuff there a bunch. Not that the GIF format was ever ours but there was a time when it felt like it was and now that there are a bunch of people doing GIFs in fashion so it feels less unique although it’s still mostly what we do. Looking back, the growth of the GIF as a platform in the last five years has been a good thing because it’s validated all the crazy things we were pitching to clients and editors years ago. The market had to be created and it’s finally caught up. We may be 10 steps on to the next things but GIFs are still new to a lot of people and that’s good for us.

Glitch GIFs are neat for a minute but we never personally got into them.
DM: What is interesting about your work is that you use technology but you also use analog photography, illustrations and collage. How can you be so good at everything? And how would you describe what you do?

RR: We try to mix the real with the unreal. Our work ends up digital in the sense of being on the internet or on a screen, but it’s composed of many elements that were created by hand. Almost all of our collage work is done by cutting and gluing paper on top of each other. We love being able to create something tangible but then have it exist in the digital world. We quickly get bored so we’re always wanting to try something new.
Usually we have no idea how to technically do that something new so we have to teach ourselves. The internet is amazing for tutorials and self learning, take advantage of it!
DM: Who are your favorites digital artists?
RR: Artists making a living doing crazy shit on the internet and loving it. Artists that do cute things. Artists doing AR, VR, games, computer vision, terraforming, and other things in outer space. Friends With You, Memo Akten, Rachel Maclean, Brody Condon, Marc Owens, 0100101110101101, TYMOTE.

DM: Favorite blogs/websites?

RR: A mixture of political, science, art and cooking blogs.  Also, anything with cats on it. MisterWubba, Meowzas, TheVerge, TheGTF, TheYoungTurks, TheDish, BadAstronomy, AllRecipes 

DM: The characters in your work are usually very cartoon like. You seem to both still have a child soul, which is awesome! Who does the styling? Do you work with a team? ( hair, make up etc?)
RR: We work with a great team who understands us and we trust. We often work with stylist Aki Maesato who has a similar aesthetic to us. We’ll often send her inspiration images or sketches, she’ll shoot us back sketches, and then it will continue that way. We’ll keep each other updated along the way during the entire process.

DM: What’s next for Reed and Rader?
RR: We stopped doing stills because it didn’t make sense to us to look at stills online when the medium allowed for multimedia. Now, video and GIFs seem dated because they are passive mediums and viewers can’t interact with them. Getting people to interact with our work either online or in physical installations is starting to be big for us. Being able to take our 2D worlds and walk around in them in 3D like a game is very exciting too. Besides that, simple things. More Cats. More Gardening. World Domination. Zero G. Colonization of Mars.

Interview by Dora Moutot for Triangulation Blog - July 2012 
Dora Moutot is a young journalist specialized in fashion within the digital culture. She is the founder of La Gazette du Mauvais Gout where she writes about bad taste, eccentric and kitsch trends. www.doramauvaisgout.tumblr.com