[Cydney Eva; founder]
Canadian fashion and art brand Pattern Nation recently brought their designs to South Africa, with an exclusive photo-shoot for Unlabelled. We had a chat with founder Cydney Eva to find out more about the brand and their experience in South Africa.
Pattern Nation was founded in October 2016 by jeweller and mural painter, Cydney Eva. Cydney believed the brand was needed to bring all her work together under one cohesive name and also to create a platform that more people could identify with. The brand that creates fashion, art, jewellery and patterned products and also produces community events that feature underground musicians, DJs and dancers. Cydney prides herself on embracing the maximalist aesthetic and explains that she actively tries to combat minimalism through her creation of loud patterns and colours. “The brand is inspired by my creative upbringing, being surrounded by colours, patterns, art, artists, musicians, dancers, feminists and outlandish thinkers. It is aimed at inclusivity, to bring together people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, classes and races who share a common passion for colour and pattern.” says Cydney.
Cydney lives in East Vancouver on Unceded Coast Salish Territory. The region like South Africa has many native cultures and people that have immigrated there. However, Vancouver has a huge Asian and white population, which embraces more of a minimalist European standard in its fashion and architecture. This poses as a challenge for Pattern Nation as it restricts the brand from reaching a wider audience with their trendy bold colours and patterns. Cydney hopes to see a change with more people embracing “outlandish fashion” and caring less about fitting into Vancouver’s conservative norms. We believe that this will be possible as the brand continues to grow with Cydney’s travelling and aim to work on larger projects to attain more funding and reach a wider audience.
The travel and launch in South Africa was inspired by Cydney’s following of South African culture since childhood. Her mother Lindy Sisson ran the Vancouver International Children’s Festival and presented a number of South African creative companies while Cydney was growing up. When Cydney was 12, CBC the Canadian radio station featured a story on Kwaito which sparked her interests. Cydney further fuelled her inspiration as she befriended Orla Adams aka DY OWABOWA, who had lived in Cape Town and Johannesburg for some time. This friendship allowed her to be consistently updated about the trends, music and art coming out of South Africa. It is as if her inspiration and exposure to South Africa was destined as she was further accepted by Assemblage Gallery to have a two-month residency which was a perfect timing to finally bring the brand to South Africa. The aim of bringing Pattern Nation to South Africa was “to reach an audience that received colour and pattern openly and positively”. This is exactly what was accomplished.
Pattern Nation held their first event in Johannesburg on the 7th April titled ‘A Fantastic Voyage to the Pattern Nation’. As the name describes, Pattern Nation consistently collaborates and represents artists and creatives that embrace bold colours, patterns and avant-garde expression. In South Africa the brand collaborated with up and coming artists EloZar, Agord Lean, Costa Besta, OWABOWA and Let’s Play Outside Creatives with support from Assemblage and the Prints on Paper team. The night was successful with performances from each of these artists. This was followed with the exclusive shoot for Unlabelled which featured the artists EloZar, Agord Lean and Costa Besta.
Agord Lean collaborated with Cydney in painting the murals and brought his own unique pattern style adding spray paint and a tent like fabric installation to the mix. EloZar worked with a beautiful string quartet to accompany her performance and Costa Besta worked closely with Cydney to install the interactive fabric blob installation as well as made some of the jewelry and thrifted the jackets modeled in the shoot. Lulu, Portia and Phindi the three other female models are all friends and artists of Cydney as well. Portia is interested in fashion and running local street wear events. Phindi is an amazing visual artist who uses photography, graphic design and GIFS to represent her ideas. “Lulu is an expert jeweler and can make anything sparkle.” says Cydney. Cydney has a background in theatre, dance and performance which assisted her in being one of the models for her brand as well.
Pattern Nation is reaching a wide audience - one collaboration at a time throughout the world. Brianna Klassen based in Bangalore and artist Costa Besta who is based in Durban are examples of creatives that are part of the Pattern Nation collaboration. Pattern Nation also has a number of Citizens based in both Van city and London. Over the next few years they hope to be able to take the brand to more cities and produce shows like ‘A Fantastic Voyage to the Pattern Nation’ in other countries. Cydney aims to use Pattern Nation to create a relationship between artists in Canada and South Africa. To create more opportunities for indigenous artists in each country to travel between the two places and learn about each other’s culture and art forms.
“Pattern Nation will hopefully become a school of thought around embracing colors and patterns through avant-garde expression’, say Cydney. We certainly believe in this vision and see it happening.
[Portia / Koketso Sethago]
Photography: Hanro Havenga
Interview: Palesa Buyeye
Clothing, jewellery and Murals: Pattern Nation
Location: Assemblage Gallery (Newtown)