Influential stylist and accessories designer Judy Blame ran away at 17 to live a punk life. He fell in with the Manchester scene after leaving his home in Devonshire, hung around London’s iconic New Romantics-era Taboo and Heaven clubs, and early on, began making his own brand of jewelry. Blame designed his wares out of safety pins and bottle tops, utilizing toy soldiers and spare buttons to create industrial, intimate found-object accessories that were deeply personal from the get go, and have since become a part of an unforgettable aesthetic lexicon. His establishment of The House of Beauty and Culture in Dalston, work with Leigh Bowery and Ray Petri, and styling for i-D and The Face in the ’80s has become the stuff of legend. Collaborations—starting with jewelry commissioned by Rei Kawakubo for Dover Street Market in the early 2000s, and giving way to work with John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, and of course, Kim Jones for Louise Vuitton men’s—brought his voice to the luxury mainstream.
Today, ahead of Blame’s first major solo exhibition at the ICA in London, which will run from June 29th through September 4th, Document Journal gives us an exclusive sneak peek at its interview between Kim Jones and Blame. The exhibition will showcase sketchbooks, t-shirts, editorials, clothing, collages, jewelry—little items drawing note to Blame’s radical life as a creative, presented without chronology. It comes off smaller exhibition cameos, such as 2013's Club to Catwalk exhibition at the V&A, and will include a limited-edition zine created by Blame.
For Document Journal, the new issue of which hits stands this Friday, Jones and Blame take us back to their early days meeting out at the Fridge, discuss the intricacies of their shared packrat sensibilities, and delve into just what it means for the friends to collaborate.
Read our favorite excerpts from the pair’s conversation (below), and scroll through Blame’s priceless treasures (above), exclusively on Fashion Unfiltered.
On how they met in London:
Kim Jones: I remember your work from when I got copies of The Face and i-D, and you were everywhere. I just thought you were an amazing talent and a superstar and an inspiration. I had an older sister who told me about the House of Beauty and Culture, so I was aware of you from an early age. I think we met at the Fridge club on a very drunken night out. We were both at the bar waiting for drinks and started chatting.
Judy Blame: I remember the gig, and I remember being very drunk!
KJ: I wasn’t drunk enough yet, so I remember that part.
JB: You were probably nervous. I always remembered you being quite nervous when I first met you.
KJ: I was quite shy. I was still probably doing A-levels or something. I’ve probably got the flyer at home—I’m a bit of a hoarder like you.
On how Blame finds his objects:
KJ: I see you more as someone that gathers things along the way than a collector, to search out items. What qualities attract you to an object, pieces, or clothing to make the cut for your archive?
JB: I don’t know, I don’t follow one route. I just do it all the time. It’s about the shape, the volume, and the quantity that attracts me. I have no rules as to what it could be. It can be anything. That’s how I mix things up. For things I treasure, it’s always something someone has given me, from a good friend or my god- children. It’s not the price or value—it’s the thoughts that I adore. I am a fashion person, but I’m not always looking at fashion things. It doesn’t have a set plan to it. I don’t really research anything; I do it on instinct. Just curiosity.
On their favorite prized objects:
KJ: The first thing I ever got was an ostrich egg when I was about four years old in Africa. It was carved by some bushman in Botswana. It’s traveled the world and is still with me, wherever I’ve lived. That’s the first thing I’ve collected. What’s the most prized possession in your archive?
JB: My art collection and letters. And a piece of jewelry left to me by my mom. It’s not about the value of something; it’s more about the look or color. I couldn’t pinpoint it. It can go from a piece of jewelry, to a kid’s toy, to a rubber dildo. I know it’s a col- lection of objects, but I suppose it’s my crazy mind putting them together.
On Jones being a grandmother and a grandson, and Blame’s essentials:
KJ: Your work encompasses fashion, culture, art, and music. If you could pick five pieces that you could leave in a room to define yourself, what would they be? I like the idea that someone could walk into my home and see what kind of a person I am—a confused grandmother/grandson.
JB: Bondage trousers with a belt clip, my library, a Lee “Scratch” Perry soundtrack, a Christopher Nemeth pearly jacket, and a gay porno mag.
On the value of the handmade:
JB: Obviously I love something if it’s handmade, because that is where my roots lie. Ultimately I’m a visual person and like experimenting with all of it, like Instagram. But I will always be paper, glue, and scissors—that’s my root.
Document Journal will be on sale Friday April 29th exclusively at Dover Street New York, BookMarc New York, Iconic Magazines New York, Dover Street London, Broken Arm Paris, Colette, 0FR Paris and 10 Corso Como Milan, and available worldwide the following week. Preorder copies at documentjournal.myshopify.com.