Like the elusive fashion designer Martin Margiela, the designer behind Slow and Steady Wins the Race, the art-meets-fashion label, chooses to remain anonymous, perhaps in an effort to allow the objects to better speak for themselves. For the past seven years, the label has been producing limited edition “issues” of clothing, accessories and other items revolving around the study of a central theme or idea. While the subject matter can be thought provoking, often involving meta-commentary on the nature and value of fashion design and production, the items themselves are clean lined and beautifully designed, reminiscent of the aforementioned Margiela’s minimalism. The most recent example is Issue No. 20 Rainwear, a collection of waterproof umbrellas, ponchos and shoes. Here, the unnamed creative reveals her motivation and inspiration with the same signature simplicity she brings to her designs.
Deanne Yee: Tell us a little bit about your background as a designer, when you started Slow and Steady and the concept behind the label.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race: I studied Studio Art in college. Slow and Steady Wins the Race was started in 2002 in response to the hectic pace of fashion. The concept behind the label is extremely important in explaining and understanding the line. Please see an excerpt below from our manifesto:
“With each issue, Slow and Steady Wins the Race, intends to slowly open the cap on a more democratic dissemination, promotion and appreciation of clothing. The mission of the label is to push and produce interesting and significant pieces from the simplest fabrics and materials….Through this visual and social metaphor, Slow and Steady Wins the Race hopes to have its ideas and products reach a wide audience and foster the appreciation and creative progression of clothing design.”
Deanne: What are your inspirations behind the issues?
Slow and Steady: My inspiration for the issues comes from the fundamentals of design.
Deanne: Are you influenced by any artists or other fashion designers?
Slow and Steady: Too many to mention.
Deanne: Some of your issues are cult favorites, including No. 3 Bags, where you took iconic handbags from houses like Balenciaga and Chanel and distilled their designs using inexpensive materials. Do you have a favorite issue to date?
Slow and Steady: No. 19 Luxe.
Deanne: Do you have a studio and/or production facilities in New York?
Slow and Steady: We have a studio in Manhattan, and our items are produced in New York as well.
Deanne: Who are your ideal customers, if any? Do you design items with your clients in mind?
Slow and Steady: Anyone from under 18 to over 81. And no, I don’t design with clients in mind.
Deanne: I’m sure you have a lot of projects planned; are there any collaborations or projects we should know about?
Slow and Steady: We are currently collaborating with Urban Outfitters. The collection designed for them is called Cool, Casual, by Slow and Steady Wins the Race. In May there will be a pop-up store at their new flagship in Los Angeles. There will be items available from every issue, except No. 14 Knit and No. 20 Rainwear (not popular Southern California items). In the future, Slow and Steady Wins the Race plans to continue on the same path we have been on, producing four issues a year.