Carri Munden, the face and name behind the Cassette Playa brand is just one of a list of many taking part in a new creative festival at the Tate Modern called Hyperlink. Hyperlink takes place this weekend in the Tate’s new Tanks space and is a three day festival of installations, performances and workshops that covers a huge range of subject matter.
An extensive list of artists, designers and musicians – including Rankin, It’s Nice That, Akala and Stooki to name a few – will come together for the event, which is aimed at encouraging young people aged 15-25 to get involved in the arts. As someone who’s work we’ve followed and admired for a long time, Carri’s name immediately stood out to us and so we jumped at the chance to speak to her and to learn more about her work with the Tate, her workshops at Hyperlink and her early movements as a young designer.
Carri is a hugely inspirational and unique designer, and testament to the belief that hard work pays off. Her inspirations are extensive and varied, an this has lead to highly original and forward-thinking collections. Importantly also, Carri’s Cassette Playa brand has always been an amalgamation of street and high fashion, and so we definitely had to hear her thoughts on current trends in streetwear and the adoption of high end brands …
Is this your first project with the Tate Modern?
I have been working with the Tate through Young Tate for the last 3 years now. I have done talks and workshops as part of their fashion project and in connection with the Turner Prize and Yayoi Kusama exhibition. We also installed my digital booth in amongst the Turners in the Clore galleries for Late Tate – such an amazing experience as I visited those sacred rooms as a teenager studying History of Art! The booth is like a photo booth but you create an animated gif via touch screen. I developed it in collaboration with Kin Design.
How is the ‘six degrees of separation’ theme relevant to you and what will be the focus of your workshops?
What I took from the theme was connections. As inspiration for the project I was asked to choose from a selection of artists with work in Tate and I chose Jenny Holzer – who is actually one of my favourite artists – her work is so powerful and, in our visually over saturated culture, all the more relevant. Words never lose their power. I will be screening previous video work alongside new work made in collaboration with London based digital artists Weirdcore and Aaron Chan. I’m interested in the way we consume information and visuals post Internet – for example when you allow yourself to get lost online – you may watch a YouTube video that leads to another then another or a Google search that ends in a multiple diversions – it creates an abstract narrative. I’m trying to re-create this with my multi-screen immersive installation.
Carri at the Nike ‘Make Something’ workshops in 2010.
How important were opportunities like this when you were finding your feet as a young designer? Were there any?
I wish there had been more opportunities like this – When I was young it was so hard to get an insight into the industry especially pre-Internet. No one in my family had been to art school or knew anyone in fashion, but both my parents were very supportive. I did my first work experience with Red or Dead when I was 17 – I travelled up to London from Brighton every day for a month and helped out at their LFW show – it completely defined what I do now.
At which point in your career do you feel your own (and the label’s) unique style began to take form?
When I started Cassette Playa it was very instinctual – I was straight out of university and not thinking strategically – but even then I had a very definite aesthetic and world. L.S.I SS07, my first catwalk show, was definitely a defining moment and when it all started to go hyperspeed.
Cassette Playa’s L.S.I SS07 show.
Music plays a big part in the Hyperlink festival and Cassette Playa has a strong musical connection. So, what are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to a lot of black metal at the moment – it’s always my favourite I find it really meditative – Burzum, Darkthrone, Occvlta. I live for metal, rave, industrial, EBM and garage and grime. New music I’ve bought recently… James Blake, Peace, Twigs and when I’m going out I listen to Julio Bashmore, Venus X or Kingdom and Fade to Mind crew. I love ASAP Rocky, Danny Brown, Meek Mil, Chief Keef and ma (fantasy) husband Riff Raff. The best live show I seen this year so far was Mykki Blanco and lyrically I think she/he is on another level. I’ve also fallen in love with a girl called Brooke Candy …
Streetwear vs high fashion is a popular topic at present, and something I feel CP has been at the heart of for a long time. How to you feel about the adoption of labels like Givenchy and Raf Simons into ‘street’ culture and has it affected the way you feel about your own work?
From the beginning I referred to Cassette Playa as luxury streetwear brand – by that I mean that my shapes and inspiration are from the street but the fabrics and processes I use are luxury and the world I have chosen to present is high fashion. No one at that time was doing that in menswear. I have always respected and taken inspiration from cult designers like Raf Simons or Kim Jones that have an understanding of subcultures. This is really what I am interested in – not fashion but personal and tribal style. I’m excited to see a designer like Raf Simons connecting with a new audience. Riccardo Tisci is a warrior.
A big thank you to Carri for taking the time to give such in-depth and informative answers to our questions. The Hyperlink festival takes place from today, Friday April 26th, until Sunday 28th, and is free for all to attend. Head here to find out when Carri’s workshops will take place and to view the full programme of events. You can see more of her work at Cassette Playa.