Backseat Kissing is somehow a trailblazer, and a nostalgia-infused walk down memory lane, all at once. While the brand’s ‘00s silhouettes pay recognizable homage to Y2K-era icons, its commitment to sustainable materials and genderless sizing is a window into streetwear’s future. Below, the 23-year old designer (who prefers to stay anonymous...for now) unpacks the industry obstacles that led to her genre-bending launch last month.
Where are you from, and where are you now?
London, and London! (unfortunately…we’re in lockdown and it sucks).
What is your first memory with streetwear?
I grew up in a city, and back then, the streetwear scene definitely seemed more prominent in cities (I don’t think that’s the case now). I used to visit NYC a lot as a kid, and I LOVED going to Century 21, where I discovered street brands like Rocawear, Baby Phat, and fell into a deep love affair with velour thanks to Juicy Couture. You’ll definitely see a lot of influence from these brands in Backseat Kissing.
If you had to compress your personal style into one outfit, what would it be?
My Backseat Kissing velour tracksuit, a pair of Bapestas, and a loud designer bag. I live for matching tracksuits and comfort—but I’ll always snazz it up with a boujie bag.
When did you first feel inspired to create your own designs?
I had been designing Backseat Kissing for four years before launching last month. I am a stylist (as well as other things) and I love styling men in particular — I found it a lot easier than styling women, because there simply aren’t enough streetwear brands that cater for women just as much as they do men. I’m so envious that my boyfriend can just walk into Supreme or Palace and pick up a great quality, comfortable tracksuit (with the added street credibility). Of course, women can wear them, but the fit isn’t made for them. I personally would have to spend that money again for a tailor to make it fit. So I wanted to make something that was for both men and women, without compromising the fit, so I came up with the idea of making the garments size-adjustable….and it just flew from there! There also aren’t many street brands that are sustainable, which was a huge push for me to create this brand.
Describe your design aesthetic in one sentence, if you can.
Luxury, sustainable, unisex, skater-fit streetwear.
Where do you feel the most inspired?
Walking through Soho in London. There are so many well-dressed, unique people from all over the world who come here to visit the best stores in the city.
Which living designer do you most admire?
Staying true to my Brit roots and saying Kim Jones. Everything he puts his mark on just...works. I also think he’s played a huge part in merging streetwear and luxury brands.
What’s your biggest creative or career milestone so far?
Just having my designs recognised by real fashion fans. I’ve only been open for a month, without any marketing, and have received so much love and such an incredible response from the most well-dressed people.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your designs?
Comfortable, yet expensive. The fabrics are so luxurious, you’ll literally feel like your body is being hugged by angels. I also want people to feel like they’re doing the planet a small favour just by wearing a sustainable garment.
What would you most like to change about the current fashion industry?
I just wish huge brands would put more effort into making their garments with sustainable fabrics. Yes, it’s a much bigger cost per metre and harder to source, but these companies can afford it. If I can do it, they should too.