SIGNS OF LIFE x COMME des GARÇONS
2020 was the year of pandemic lockdowns across the globe. A time of great anxiety, of sleeping in, watching Netflix, and putting on a few too many pounds. It would have been easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole, forgetting about exhibitions and promoting artists, and we did exactly that for about the first month. We quickly came to our senses and realized the extended time in relative isolation was a unique opportunity to create something more involved and elaborate than our usual programming. This is when we handed the gallery off to artist and designer Brett Westfall, who spent three months alongside his 11-year-old daughter Moon, in collaboration with electronic music producer Baseck, creating an extensive installation of murals, new rooms, custom soundscapes, and assemblage that turned the space into an all encompassing fantasy world titled Signs of Life.
Along with his paintings, Brett Westfall is known for his clothing design. Many years ago he developed a creative relationship with Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garçons. He opened and operated the first CDG guerrilla store in the US, along with sneaker guru Tak Kato, in downtown Los Angeles––a mere two blocks from These Days, and where we first met Brett. The partnership eventually led Westfall to design a collection for Comme des Garçons Homme Plus.
Upon completion of the new installation, Brett shared a virtual walkthrough of Signs of Life with Kawakubo-san, along with a selection of shirts we created for the exhibition. Her response was positive and enthusiastic, and she suggested we collaborate on a version of Signs of Life for the Comme des Garçons Trading Museums in Tokyo.
We at These Days are not big fashion people. We like clothes and style, but follow few designers. Nevertheless, we have always admired Rei Kawakubo for her rigorous authenticity and her groundbreaking avant-garde aesthetic. Her work ethic, mysterious personality, and fantastic style have long been an inspiration, so we are honored and so very excited to have a Westfall x These Days x Comme des Garçons collaboration.
What came about was Kawakubo playing with the scale of Brett and Moon’s paintings by taking details and sections of his canvasses and enlarging them by sometimes as much as 500%. They built an oversized bodega-style display which she covered with the enlarged details. The CDG Trading Museums are stark and minimal in the best sense so this riot of color, oversized raw brush strokes, and giant strawberries in the midst of all the whites and blacks makes for a surprising and dramatic contrast to the space, and we couldn't be more stoked.
Another collaborative version of Signs of Life, this time designed by Brett Westfall and These Days, will be installed at Dover Street Market Los Angeles this coming June, and will feature a line of Westfall x These Days x Baseck clothing that will include t-shirts, hoodies, sweats, shorts, and pants.
Keep an eye on our IG and the website for future developments.