Well, hello there!
So this episode is a little bit different, as this time I decided to interview a creative stylist, painter and of course a brand owner… who is it?
It is no other than Jamican’s finest Shayden, aka Shay Cassanova. Shay is a multitalented individual and most importantly the owner of Abbastanza Collective. A brand created when fashion meets art. Shay designs things such as bags, jackets and most commonly trainers. Taking inspiration from the culture and the clients themselves.
Who is Shayden and what do you do?
”Best known as Shay, I’ll say I am a creative designer and I’ll say a painter. I am really trying to figure it all out because I just do so many things, so its really hard to label myself because I don’t want to box myself into one thing.
I have a brand called Abbastanza collective, it a lifestyle creative brand that includes everything. In the long run, I want it to be everything creative, like a space for people like me who are starting out and don’t know how to channel their passion.”
What is the inspiration behind the name and brand?
”Abbastanza means enough in Italian, so Abbastanza collective basically means ‘enough collective’. It first started as my family art project with the name ‘It ain’t pretty’. As I lived in Brixton, I based my art on the area and the increase of cultural appropriation and gentrification. I wanted to make my art conceptual, so I started researching and digging into what is happening in my community and from my research I concluded that government were making something that was not pretty, look pretty!
So I started by drawing the faces of the people in the community with different colours which signify emotions. From going out asking people how they felt about the whole situation, I was able to build my art collection. I later changed the faces to smiley faces with paint dripping all over – and from the responses, I was getting I decided to make it into a brand and from there it all began.
So with my half brother being Italian, and me visiting there frequently I decided to google ‘It ain’t pretty’ to translate it into Italian and I basically ended up getting Abbastanza, and I absolutely fell in love with it.”
What is your favourite piece?
”That will have to be the first ever piece I created. This was my Mario piece, which is a twisted Mario on a denim jacket. When I made that piece I was going through a rough patch and that piece helped me release all my emotions, so I basically used art was a form of expression.”
What is the process of designing?
”First I will get a jacket from Zara and cut it up and add patches and from there I let my creativity take over. However, I want to start making everything from scratch including the jacket.”
What is your dream collaboration?
”I am not really into the hype of brand collaborations because I don’t want to be apart of the bandwagon. However, if I had to pick a brand it will be Dope Chef. The reason why is because of how they express their creativity, just going to explore their store back in the days made me excited.”
What advice will you give someone who wants to do what you do?
- What does the brand mean to you? Are you really passionate about it and are you happy when you are doing what you are doing.
- Perfect your craft! I was doing mine for 2 years before I put it out to the world. Make sure your happy with what you are putting out.
- Originality, or paying homage to where your inspiration is from.
- Make sure you research! You can practice your craft all you want but you need to make sure you know what you are going into.
- You need a team, for a fact if I had a team I will probably be bigger than I am now.
What should we expect from you next?
”I have a collaboration coming out which allowed me to have a production line. Look out for clothing on another scale, pop-ups, more events and definitely more painting, I want to go more conceptual and become apart of the culture just like OFF-White.”
Where can we find you?
Brand Instagram: @Abbastanzacollective
So after this interview, Shay has gone to do big things including having various pop-ups with the recent one being in Brixton. Of course, every brand on the block piece comes with a cheeky discount, so if you want to get anything made from him quote ‘GUAP CUSTOM’ and he will sort something special for you.
Until next time!
– All photographs were taken from @Abbastanzacollective on Instagram