“Each season, Cocurata collaborates with artists such as Trudy Benson, Bäst and Matt Jones to create limited edition items that consumers can collect.”
Art curates fashion. The fine line between the fashion and art world has been blurred for centuries now with the industries regularly crossing paths. Up-and-coming fashion label– Cocurata– brings a contemporary spin to this concept by creating pieces that don’t just imitate art, but are art. Founded by New York based art curator George Benias and Ksubi founder George Gorrow, Cocurata is an art platform and fashion label designed to bring together the industries of art and fashion, giving both upcoming and breakthrough artists the opportunity to showcase their work outside of the standard gallery scene. Each season, the brand collaborates with established and emerging artists to create limited edition items that consumers can collect.
With the new Spring/Summer 2016 collection on the horizon featuring artists Brian Willmont, Josh Reames and Michael Dotson, we took time out to sit down with one half of the remarkable duo, George Benias, to talk about how the brand got started, what makes it so unique and what we can expect in the future.
Tell us a little bit about Cocurata and how the brand came to life.
George Benias: Cocurata came about when I met George Gorrow through a mutual friend who happened to collect artwork by Bäst and Paul Insect and was eager to meet the artists. In our first encounter, he mentioned how he founded Ksubi, which I was a fan of. As the conversation deepened, I expressed my underlying love for fashion, my heavy influence from the downtown Brooklyn culture and my passion for functional, classic pieces that I could wear every day. l told George it would be great to make a contemporary fashion brand which functioned like a gallery for fashion, solely doing art and fashion collaborations and curating the collections in the same way as a gallery would curate a group or solo show. We started talking about the idea of representing artists that we would eventually use in multiple seasons; building a roster of artists that we could work with time and again. After letting that idea set in for a few days, I got a call from George and he said “let’s do this…”
You both come from the opposite end of the art and fashion industries — what is it like working together and viewing your industry from its respective outlook?
George Benias: I feel we never had that divide. We both kind of shared the same love, which lent itself to a smooth collaboration.
What do you think Cocurata does differently that allows the concept of ‘art curating fashion’ to stand out within the fashion industry?
George Benias: I think our approach is the opposite of how many fashion brands treat collaborations. Generally a well established brand would contact an artist in order to enhance their clothing brand. A bit selfish in a way. However, we try to give it equal love, if anything focusing on the art first and then incorporating the design as a way of fitting into it.
For each collection Cocurata collaborates with a number of artists to create limited and unique pieces of clothing. What channels do you use to discover the talent? Do you have a certain criteria in scouting for artists to join forces with?
George Benias: Cocurata represents both mine and George Gorrow’s taste in art. I am an art dealer, an art collector, and constantly researching art. I would say I enjoy engaging with mid-career artists and emerging younger artists. This season we went with an abstract aesthetic which shifts towards figurative. Next season we will do a figurative painting collection, so the decision as to who we curate for each collection basically goes to what I would show if this were an actual gallery.
In your upcoming SS16 collection, Cocurata is collaborating with artists Brian Willmont, Josh Reames and Michael Dotson. How did you come across these artists and what inspires you about their work?
George Benias: They are all in the same boat in my opinion. They are contemporaries. They share a similar aesthetic, but are also very different in their own way. Everyone should make sure to buy a painting of theirs while these guys are still young.
What can we expect from the new collection and the on-going future of Cocurata?
George Benias: Cocurata, as mentioned earlier, will remain working with many of the artists we have already worked with. We intend to always be progressive, as well as fulfil requests from our artists. Bäst – who is one of my best friends (as well as a major influence for Cocurata) has a passion for eyewear, so perhaps that’s also something to look forward to. I too, have a passion for fragrances; so a thought would be to team up with perfumers like personal favourite “Andy Tauer” to interpret the artwork of our collection. The possibilities and ideas are endless.