“I’ve been to France a couple of times, but I feel like I’m a little dirtier than France is interested in,” says Mike Perry, the 30-something, bearded Brooklyn artist whose projects range from massive 2-D compositions to vibrant posters sized for an apartment wall. Surely, he’s joking. While he may think he lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, Perry is nonetheless bonding with the French by creating a capsule collection of four ‘90s grunge-inspired tartan shirts for Jennyfer, a brand that’s mastered French-girl cool and is edging into the U.S. market with seven new stores.
The world of collaboration isn’t unfamiliar to Perry, who got his start working for Urban Outfitters. But what intrigues him about clothing design (in contrast to a beautiful illustration hanging on a gallery wall) is the relationship each wearer has with an item. “When I make clothing, it’s like asking, ‘What can I get away with? What can I put on this that people will wear out into the world?’ It’s almost like a test,” he says. This test resulted in shirts emblazoned with trippy eyeballs, puffy paint, and patches — “a lot of schwag,” in his words — that will be available at Jennyfer’s online store October 24 and, for those based in France, at the brand’s new flagship in La Défense-Paris on October 25. Perhaps, opposites really do attract? If so, Perry may just be France’s unlikeliest — and most likable — cultural ambassador ever.
“When I make clothing, it’s like asking, ‘What can I get away with? What can I put on this that people will wear out into the world?’ It’s almost like a test.”
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Article by Kara Cutruzzula