Australian designer and creator of the Shadows & Dust line, Stephen Jones, isn’t
too bogged down with the idea of shouting from the rooftops the Shadows & Dust
name, or of even opening his own flagship store for that matter. For this man, being
able to interpret beauty and to produce an actual thing of beauty is what is at stake. A
die-hard romantic and aesthete, Jones’ inspiration for his line comes from
memories of his childhood, from the women that motivate him, from art and poetry.
Jones, an Australian original who spends a bulk of his time enjoying the Indonesian
sun, has shown his work at New York Fashion Week, has been featured in Vogue,
The Sartorialist, Harper’s Bazaar and Black Magazine. His line is currently being
sold in stores in Australia and Japan, including Royal Flash, the fantastic high-end
store in Japan. Jones took some time to talk to Fashion Q&A about what it is that
inspires him to produce the beautiful work that he makes, his ideas of the Australian
style aesthetic, the problems with his helicopter and Judy Jetson.
Shadows & Dust
A line motivated by romance
and hard construction
By Alexander Patiño
FQA: The words alone, ‘shadows’ and ‘dust,’ immediately connote a sense of
mingling of both hard and soft; sharp lines and flowy contours. The clothes seem
to speak a language of deep femininity and bold, strong character. Why
‘Shadows’ and ‘Dust’ and does your name say something about the woman your
brand is trying to appeal to?
The shadows, the dust, is from my childhood existence, in Country Australia. It’s a
particularly poetic region of Australia, where folklores, writers, and theatrical
criminals articulated themselves. Although there is a short history in Australia, it is
colorful, and it seems the landscape of my younger years truly influenced my
brains. No reality, just freedom to wander through a surreal youth.
As for the clothes, the occasional saturated stain of color in a chiaroscuro collection
is like an inflammation, a tiny conflagration behind the eyelid. Draping soft folds of
leather from the vertiginous angles of porcelain-skinned doyennes, lines that are
like exposed nerves, illustrates the true intentions of Shadows & Dust.
FQA: Having come from a diverse start
designing and constructing Shadows &
background, what is it that fed your desire to
start designing and constructing Shadows &
Dust? Did you always have a hunger to
penchant for design only after being
immersed in a fashionista’s lifestyle?
Well, the current situation of Shadows & Dust
starving for their own ideal of art is not due to a
baroque fashionista’s mind, but an idea
longing for coherence, conceived as a
composition of discrete elements. This
longings purpose is beauty, this desires
satisfaction is beauty. Its time is a pure
distillate of inactivity locked in a stasis induced
by the beauty.
FQA: Anyone that has been to your BlogSpot could see that
apart from being a fashion visionary, there’s a bit of poetry
infused in your life and in your clothes. A point of focus of this
poetry could be read in the strict black and white palette in your
line. What does this stylistic and poetic choice mean to you?
We all enjoy the difference of perception, whether a sharp mind or
a dull mind. As in the poetry of Goethe’s, Byron or William Blake, a
that happen to him, and a sharp mind will envy the power of a dull
mind. As in the poetry of Goethe’s, Byron or William Blake, a
imagination, which is capable of turning a fairly common
experience into greatness. Whether a fine landscape on a dark
day, or a color palette consisting of only black and white. The sun
doesn’t have to shine everyday or we would all have bad
complexions, and that’s bad for our Vanity.
FQA: Joan of Arc, Catwoman, Judy Jetson, Tina Turner ala Mad
Max Beyond Thunderdome. All different kinds of women could’
ve influenced the Shadows & Dust aesthetic. What women
come to mind in your creative process? Who are the muses of
Shadows & Dust?
Joan of Arc, yes, because she was an amazing individual, and
she has a statue of herself in a pleasant location, the others: No,
because they don’t have statues of themselves, except in some
crazy person’s private garden. Who is Judy Jetson? The muse is
the photographer, that sweet thing could break your heart with just
her voice. You don’t want to see her dance, I actually forbid her to
dance, it’s too much for me and anyone else who witnesses such
a beautiful act will turn to stone.
FQA: As an artist, you’re bound to find inspiration from other
artists’ work. Is there a certain artists’ work, like a music video or
film that has moved you in such a way that made you say, ‘I wish I
could’ve given this project its sense of fashion’?
I did “bump” into the director of “Dead Man”, Jim Jarmusch, one of
my favorite movies, he looked me up and down, and either because
he liked my bear jacket or he wanted a cuddle. I had no words,
would have understood, but in the moment it’s hard to gauge these
cause of my shyness, and I was talking bear language that day. He
types of responses. Of course he would of understood, hes a
talented man. Opportunity lost!
FQA: Looking at your Shadows & Dust campaign, the photography
and the clothes seem so beautifully intertwined, as if both the line
and the specific vision spawned from the one same thought. How
has it been to work with Amanda De Simone, who shot your
campaign? How do you work together to have your works
coalesce so well?
Love is powerful. At the moment it has to travel the great sea, as
shes in NY and I’m somewhere in Indonesia eating my banana.
FQA: Clothes can embody entire nationalities. A look can be
wholly ‘Americana,’ another can be very ‘Euro.’ Would you say
there is an Aussie look? What would that encompass?
I don’t live in Australia, just have a passport. In terms used in the
“Philosophy of Art,” Sydney is “Essentialism,” the fashion is there to
provide a significant aesthetic experience. Melbourne is “Cognitive;”
certain features of human’s minds, its evolution, its perceptual
structure, that shed light on its fashion, the concept of fashion, its
value to us, and its ability to represent or express that which is
FQA: Your brand is being sold in stores in Australia and Japan and
is doing very well for itself, gracing spreads in Bazaar, Vogue, and
The Sartorialist. Are you planning on expanding your line to other
countries and what about your own flagship store?
As I mentioned before I’m starving for this “ideal of beauty”
business. That’s okay though, it’s a choice. The happiness we
receive from ourselves is greater than that which we obtain from
others, a toothless old man once told me. He didn’t have any
FQA: Where would you be right now if you didn’t have your
creative juices flowing into the Shadows & Dust line? Is there
somewhere beyond the fashion realm that you feel you could
thrive in just as successfully?
Furniture design, I actually do it now for a hobby. Or a religious nut,
that’s slowing lurking in my closet. Oh yeah, I want to own my own
Soda Water business, so I can bathe in the bubbles when I please.
And theres the Tennis season I want to play in Buenos Aires, and let’
s not forget the statue of Stephen somewhere. That’s about all my
aspirations, done the other things I wanted to try except get my
FQA: While here in the States we are all gearing up for another
chilly winter season, Aussies are getting pumped up for a fun
summer months to come. Do you spend your summers at home
or do you have a staple holiday retreat?
Our factory and all its workings are on a Tropical Island somewhere
in Indonesia. We have all the fancy things, pools, motorbikes,
helicopter with no motor, and massages every second day. Ideal
and romantic. Australia is the most beautiful country there is, but not
for the reasons that are broad casted. Wild things, spiritual things,
beautiful things, all that have absolutely nothing to do with fashion.