For the most unique collection off the runway at New York Fashion Week, look no further than Wieden + Kennedy New York's Instagram.
The agency just shot its latest "Office Supplies Collection" of looks featuring just that—dresses, jackets and other clothing designed using random supplies at the office. The materials are unusual indeed for a fashion collection—mops, bubble wrap, shredded paper, power cords, rubber bands, staplers, binder clips. But the resulting photos are wonderfully artful and playful at the same time—beautifully silly.
W+K New York's in-house photographer, Kristin Gladney, has led the annual project since its inception in 2017. But this year's looks are more elaborate than ever.
See the 10 designs below. Click the images to enlarge.
2020 Office Supplies Collection
It took Gladney—along with a small team of designers, production folks and models from the agency—two to three days to construct all of the outfits and shoot each style.
Muse spoke with Gladney to learn more about the project.
Tell us how the project started the first year.
We were brainstorming content ideas for our @wknyc Instagram handle. We wanted to do things that felt timely and specific to the New York culture scene. Deb Rosen, a former colleague who was head of art production at the time, mentioned doing something for Fashion Week since it's in New York, and using office supplies. So, I ran with the idea. As soon as she mentioned it, I started gathering inspiration for pieces from storefronts, magazines, the runways … and our office supply closet!
Do you have a fashion background as a photographer?
I don't have a fashion photography background. My background is in visual arts, including photography. I grew up making tangible art—drawings, paintings, sculptures. I have experience in all types of commercial and editorial photography, specifically in lifestyle, travel and food. Currently, I shoot mostly product, portrait photography and motion. Creating fashion from scratch combines my love for the tangible arts with my passion for photographing people.
How do you come up with the designs?
This year, we had a small team of people who helped brainstorm and collaborate on designs. We took inspiration from everything, from current fashion and costume design, to the materials themselves. A lot of ideas evolved over the creation process, and some of them came to life in seconds while rummaging through office and cleaning supplies.
As a photographer, I'm often thinking about what materials we have and what they have the potential to become.
The process is ever evolving, and inspiration is always rolling in. I knew I wanted to use shredded paper to create a piece. So, I started filling ziplock bags with the paper. My colleague Sabreen had an idea to make a vest, so we combined our inspiration and she created the Shredder Vest.
Brendan - The Shredder Vest
The yellow rag design was originally going to be a top. But when I saw an incredible pink dress in a storefront window here in Soho, it inspired me to make the rags into a dress instead.
Katie - The LimeLighter
While looking at potential materials to use, I picked up a blue mop—I have used different color mops in past office supply collections—and thought it paired nicely with the blue recycling bags, so it quickly became an outfit. When I started building the pieces on my colleague Jenn, who was helping with inspiration and designs, the mop draped over her shoulders perfectly. We filled recycling bags with air to make a skirt, and quickly realized it looked great on her! So, I asked her to model this outfit it in the photos.
Jenn - Mop Crop and Save the World Skirt
How have the designs evolved over the years?
The first year I was completely on my own brainstorming pieces, finding models and location scouting. I had a little styling help on a few pieces, but they were also much simpler the first year. This year, I pulled a small team together to help design and make the pieces, which resulted in them being more elaborate.
Who gets to be your models?
All of the models are WKNY employees. A few people who modeled were our fashion designers and a few people volunteered to model. I also tried to make sure we showcased the diversity of employees who make up this office.
Can you describe a few more of this year's designs, and what you like about them?
Everyone loved the black oversized puffer jacket design by my colleague Noreen Kahn, because it was so much fun to wear. We constructed it out of garbage bags filled with bubble wrap, "sewn" (air quotes) together with staples. We all took turns putting it on and taking photos with it after the shoot.
Brad - Supa Dupa Fly Puffer
The orange Post-it top photographed really well. I love how futuristic and structural it looks.
Sabreen - The Posted up Tee
The aluminum foil outfit was originally designed as puffy sleeves with a matching skirt, but with the collaboration of the team, it turned into another futuristic, powerful design. The collar feels regal, which is why we called it "The Reynold."
Jordi - The Reynold
The rubber band necklace was originally going to be a different top that started as just a few strands, and Noreen suggested I add a ton more strands to it. This made the piece something between a necklace and a top.
DeMornay - Knot your Average Neckpiece
Our motto for the shoot became "More is more!"
Do you see this as an homage to Fashion Week? A kind of critique of the absurdity of it? A bit of both? Or just a fun creative project on its own?
I definitely see this as all of the above. It is an homage to Fashion Week. High fashion is art, and this is a creative exercise in making a tangible art. Creating the Office Supplies Collection every year gives me the chance to flex some old muscles while putting my photography skills to use.
I love how collaborative this project has become, and through that team effort, every piece was elevated.
Below, check out the looks from the 2017 and 2018 collections.