Denial are one of London’s coolest subculture brands. They create bespoke, handmade sustainable fashion pieces, their art and fashion collective entwining music through their venomous live gigs. In March, Denial ran a near sold out gig with us, evocatively entitled S.O.D: State Of Denial. The gig featured live sets from Storm Spent, Silkarmour and Meatraffle, supporting synth new-wave headliners The Ninth Wave. The gig shone a spotlight on the wacky subcultures of new wave, synth pop and psych rock, with an artistic dynamism present the entire night
We had a chat with Joe Taylor, who creates the clothing pieces for Denial, as well as working on the brand’s photography, artistic direction, and live events. He has also curated a Denial playlist for us, featuring the artists who both inspire and take inspiration from the work Denial do
Denial is one of the most unique and exciting brands we’ve worked with this year. Tell us about your brand, how it came to life and how you choose to integrate music, fashion and art
It all started from a very personal place. I was frustrated with a lot of stuff and Denial started as a way for me to vent some of that. I just wanted to express how angry and apathetic I felt in my own way. It then began to morph and mutate and grow very organically. It started with just t-shirts I designed, then I began to branch out into upcycling to be more sustainable and all that. I was always heavily influenced by music, and so it seemed natural to put on a gig for a launch party. The launch was a big success so decided to do another night and that is how we began to get involved in the gig scene.
You make clothes yourself, some of which were showcased on and off stage at your Werkhaus show. What’s the process behind creating these pieces?
I don’t really plan a lot of it, which I probably should cause I just throw a lot of shit at the wall and see what sticks really. I think that most brands make shit clothes that look naff and people pay out the nose for them. I wanna make sustainable clothes that are still shit but at least they say something.
One of the positives of this whole lockdown period is that certain creatives seem to be bursting with a new lease of creativity and originality. How is this period affecting you, and are there any projects you’re currently working on?
I found myself making stuff just to feel productive to be honest, and I didn’t think that was healthy. However I did make a few things I am proud of and tried out a few ideas. At the moment we are making a publication called ‘Communion’ to showcase the many incredible people who have played at our events cut with some amazing poetry and other writings from some very talented artists such as Legss, Jean Penne, The Ninth Wave, and Modern Woman.
Purchase Communion here: https://www.denial.shop/
Your entire brand has a very DIY, subculture grounded ethos. How important to Denial are venues like Werkhaus, as part of the grassroots scene overall?
They are more than important. They are completely vital. I would beg people to go out and support their local venues and artists that they like. Buy merch, buy records, share songs. We are doing what we can by giving all the profits of our ‘Communion’ publication to our birth place, the Windmill. Without our independent venues, England will be fucking shite.
Which other designers, artists and photographers are you vibing with at the minute, and what would your dream collaboration project be?
The list of artists I want to work with is far too long to write out. Most artists that I like and listen to I would want to work with one day. It would be a dream come true to work with Alex Cameron one day though.
Check out Denial’s playlist as part of our ongoing Isolation Tapes series below:
Follow Denial on their socials, and purchase their zine, entitled Communion, here. Profits are being split between the Brixton Windmill and the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which protects the human rights of Black Transgender people