No casual conversation. A word from VERYRARE’s founder, Raf Reyes.
I created VERYRARE™(VR) to showcase stuff that I think of as ‘very rare’, assembled in never-before-seen ways. My mission is to stay true to visual culture artefacts; theming, designing, and revolving the brand around the information they give me about their creators and users.
VR is a cluster of many of my influences: art, archiving & collecting, collage art, bootleg/pastiche, readymade/reinterpretation, quest for consciousness, dada, irony and double entendre.
I brought them together through trial-and-error, apparent randomness, work, "luck", spontaneity and good timing, collaborations. VERYRARE™ is the attempt to translate this worldview into my designs.
Encrypted in the brand’s source code are:
- Artwear (n.): art you can wear & experience
- veryrare (adj.): life styles I’d have loved seeing+wearing+living+leading.
Both of which didn’t exist back when I started taking my creative self seriously — circa 17yo (now 22). This project is the culmination of a whole mix of things that have been boiling and simmering violently inside me ever since then but never truly had the opportunity to be out there like with VR.
2020s "FRIENDLY ANTAGONISMS"
Standing on the shoulders of giants, VERYRARE™ was established this year (you could call that a once-in-a-millenium-opportunity); born out of mixed feelings of dissatisfaction and excitement, fear and passion, would-bes vs. could-bes. "Founded in 2020" while in crisis and as a full-fledged collective of creative agents with complementary talents, VR creates and develops its creative output as it once went and now goes.
It is meant to be ever-evolving; for us @VR, ‘new’ means going towards the future while still being cognizant of what has been done before, continually building on that change. This founding impulse is a link between the past and the future, a representation of the importance of youth culture, the here and now as purveyed in the veryrare manifestos on our upbringings.
The project was also born out of my interest in representing what was happening in downtown Paris culture. At the time, my friends and I always wanted to mix high fashion with DIY and wabi-sabi, museum with street, art with games and internet culture. I felt the need to put forward the creative culture of today, as an insider-outsider, or in Ablohian terms tourist vs. purist: zigzagging, teetering under-and-overground, always in a state of flux.
So, who gets to create, who produces, who’s fearing to produce? To break the matrix, I want to promote a new wave of street culture and a new approach to fashion. VERYRARE™ intends to put a dent in the global state of tables being turned, as perspectives and approaches all shift. Humbly participating as a catalyst that will hopefully contribute to shock the industry into change. The full vision isn’t just fashion but also how fashion fits within the rest of someone’s lifestyle. With VR I want to represent both childlike naiveté, and a younger generation the likes of astounding collage artists, or makeshift atelier creators, high-quality clothing hustlers who are mixing labels and brands and emotions to come up with new aesthetics.
VERYRARE™'s DNA: the brand, the products, and their backdrop story
I develop VR out of a constant reshaping of boundaries. Putting my ideas in ways that inspires and is geared towards youth, creation, and community. Take a look at the state of affairs today: high fashion is smitten with street-turned-runway designers. Indie streetwear labels that once sold to obscure boutiques now flood malls and department stores. Streetwear is completely different now, powered by resale and celebrity endorsements. The VR mindset is about rethinking it in new perspectives; it’s about being inventive to the point that it has never or barely been seen before in such arrangements, displays, visuals references, positioning, mix of techniques etc.
VERYRARE™ heralds artwear and a return to the late 1990s streetwear when kids like me wanted it because nobody else wore it (imagine collecting limited-edition clothing like comic books - in VR’s case, artworks). As streetwear is unapologetically going mainstream and buying habits as posited at a time when consumers now tear themselves away from hype products, VERYRARE™ focusses on heritage pieces with longevity, a.k.a “statement pieces” or “investment” pieces.
Hand-finess'd by yours truly ♡ every piece becomes YOUR story
Each piece of the VR Collection is made with love and attention, with each individual customer in mind.
I custom-embroider each garment order for each of you, and bundle, then deliver them with:
• a unique collage art piece made by me & signed for you,
• art handling gloves,
• a VR calendar to hold on during the year,
• a VERYRARE™ funny anime-inspired zodiacal horoscope,
• two (very aesthetically-pleasing) stickers,
• the anatomical profile of your piece/artwear artwork label on laminated paper.
• our unique ©VOAT zine (Veryrarest Of All Times): the knowledge behind the pieces. the moodboard for the VR garment. all pages single-handedly edited by Raf ®® Reyes,
• love! <3
You could call the latter a unusual surge of generosity, seeing how the industry normally treats their customer for same price-range products.
But truly really, it stems from my biggest frustration right now: when I get called for ‘vernissages’ (on my artist-life side at www.rafreyes.art) or other galleries’ shows, a majority of the buyers are mostly in their forties/fifties. I lost the OG connection, the very first intent and reason why I even started doing this. The original proximity, both with the subject matter and specific audience I was going for is gone, so VERYRARE™ is my way to come back to this genesis, to redempt and bridge it clear, fill the gap and start new (..or old, depending how you see it).
Right on, one of the ‘whys’ behind VR’s creation is specifically to give back to my people and community, to the ones I feel closest; to enable a younger audience to partake in the VR experience and get a taste of my art (for much less than what one would have to pay for an artwork in one of those galleries).
This one’s for the music lovers, the dreamers of dreams, the internet generation and the kids hitting moonshots. It is all for them, and, ultimately, for all of us. Junctioned onto a picasso-esque continuum, VERYRARE™ pieces keep their unicity and rare character of being made by ‘me’ or a talented VR colleague, like marked with our signature, touch or ‘patte’.
Purposely going the extra mile putting someone’s initials on the back of every piece and exclusively limiting their production so that everyone who wears it feels like part of a team, a crew, as affiliated to a veryrare theme of purchase. The word is family, a clan à-part of its own, united by a shared love of OG and new Gs’ visual culture and archive.
Our mantra trifecta is ‘people over product’, ‘improvement in increments’, and ‘build your own legend, create your own cannon, while having as much fun as possible doing that’.
Without culture, inspiration/aspiration/perspiration, and community, VERYRARE™ would just be a label. We’ll sell you a t-shirt, but not before we tell you about the artist behind it and his or her message. Thanks to the VR team already, I’m very grateful to not be navigating alone in this veryrare endeavor, but with you, we can, we could be.., we ARE legion ❤️
To many more years of evolution, conceptualization and fucking shit up!