Element x Hotel Radio Paris
Urban Culture meets the great outdoors
Element and Hotel Radio Paris are collaborating on a new collection of weatherproofed clothing, both brands are aligned in the same vision and values. Starting September 16th, Element and Hotel Radio Paris started a nomadic pop-up radio tour through Paris, Hong Kong, Toronto, Brighton, Milan, Berlin and New York. Shows are spearheaded and curated by London's rising star Lord Apex, who will be MCing and showcasing emerging talents during the duration of the tour. In each city, a two-day event will include music, talks, and exciting outdoor missions, from urban fishing to skateboarding. It's all about new talents, creativity and the collective good; wherever they express themselves in the heart of the city or in the great outdoors.
Hotel Radio Paris is an independent radio station dedicated to musical exploration. It was created by a skateboarder, outdoor enthusiast, music and fashion buff, Jean-Charles Leuvrey. Since 2016, the radio has built a community through over 7,000 shows, 10,000 guests and multiple events in 100 countries - and counting. Reflecting Hotel Radio Paris' manifesto, each garment is a nod to urban culture, the great outdoors, skateboarding and Paris - down to the oh-so-French names of the pieces.
Here & There Magazine sat down with Both Rey Gautier from Element and Jean-Charles Leuvrey from Hotel Radio Paris on their first day in Paris kickstarting the pop-up radio tour.
What was the idea behind HRP when you started it?
Jean-Charles Leuvrey: The idea was to create a platform where everyone could express himself
What’s the goal with this radio tour?
JCL: The goal is to reach local communities and also to support web radios like Hotel Radio around the world. All stops will be amazing and special in their own right, I’m sure we’ll get a glimpse of what’s happening in the music scenes in each of those places.
How would you define the Parisian style, clothing and music?
JCL: Both are pretty similar, to be honest. Paris is a big mix of influences. There are people from everywhere in the world but we also have this huge fashion/music heritage here. Like the French rapper, Kekra said "foreigners are going to the Parisian metro to study young people’s style and then copy it for big brands" it's the same in music.
How did Lord Apex come to be involved in the project?
JCL: When the collection was pretty advanced in the making, we started talking about having an “égérie” (a ‘face for the brand’ in English), and Element has never done that in the past. I thought it was a brilliant idea because it follows the spirit of Hotel Radio to empower people. Apex was an organic choice as he is a rapper but he also has this skater vibe inside himself, a lot of DIY, and crazy ideas as well.
Ultimately, this unique collaboration with Hotel Radio Paris outlines what Element is all about: connecting the dots between young creatives equally at ease in the inner-city then deep into nature.
How did this collaboration with HRP start? What was the idea behind it?
Rey Gautier: I had been checking web radios for some time, as it's the only way I get to listen to new sounds and it's a way to discover new talents as it’s pre-curated. One day, I was at an event we had at Nous Paris for the launch of a project we did with Nigel Cabourn. Jean-Charles was spinning, so we were introduced. Then we did the launch in London and asked Jean-Charles to play at that event. From there we started to bounce ideas, it was very natural.
We both come from skateboarding, both spent time in London and, as it turns out, we had friends in common. So, it was like putting two people together who had known each other for years and love creating. It just clicked. Jean-Charles explained the ideas, spirit, purpose and values behind HRP: an independent spirited platform supporting youth creativity. HRP does this through the medium of music with an emphasis on endorsing youths. Element does this with skateboarding, and we both understand how important nature is to that process. Element partnerships are based on that connection between skateboarding and nature, the brand has been focused on this for the past 30 years, so it's not like the outdoor aesthetic bridged to creative youth culture is new or unfamiliar.
I think it's the first time a collection of this scale has been created with web radio, and not just with merchandising. This one has real depth. It took a while to get it right as we wanted to create timeless garments–ones reflecting both the spirit of the urban environments we live in and the connection with nature. It had to be versatile and work for both, so we partnered with Polartec who covered all technical fabric requirements for each piece. The NeoShell fabric is insanely versatile and provided the basis for the main collection pieces. It was an interesting process. I've spent my whole life working in fashion and garment design, so, to have a person work with the design team not strictly from this discipline was really good. It was like going back to when we were kids and just made exactly what we wanted without thinking about whether or not it was possible. Of course, Jean-Charles had really specific ideas, half the work battle was complete, it was just a question of putting it all together with a flow, with every detail making sense and careful consideration from initial sketch to final fittings, which is of course where the expertise of the design and development team is critical.
It was great to see something come into life from a random conversation over a year prior, leaning against the speakers at some party event, to creating the final product and launching a collection in Paris between Element, Polartec & HRP.
How would you define this collaboration with HRP?
RG: Timeless. Independent. Versatile. Functional. Unpretentious. Funny. Unexpected.
It wasn't designed to make you stand out of the crowd. It was designed to be your favourite go-to garment with functionality and comfort at heart. It's not a hype collection, but more of a long-term commitment, one you are going to go back to. It's based on the spirit of young artists, skateboarders, musicians connecting with the great outdoors. The clothing is subtle as it’s there to accompany them, the individual to be the subject, the focus, and not the other way around.
By Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle
Photos provided by designer