#27: Warren Lotas Bootlegged Fast Fashion Before It Bootlegged Him
On this week’s episode of HYPEBEAST Radio, we caught up with Warren Lotas in Miami, Florida during this year’s Art Basel. The artist-turned-designer explains that the art fair holds a special place in his heart. “MACHINE [Lotas' now-defunct ecommerce experiment] actually started last Art Basel,” Lotas explains. He notes that the project was one of hang-ups and hard lessons: “It was a lot of failure, getting the hang of the cut-and-sew process, working with factories, paying for stuff, knowing what to pay for. It’s all about that, because you will get taken advantage of if you don’t know what you should be paying. I had a rough time with that.”
Nowadays, Lotas says that he goes undercover when dealing with his manufacturers. He explains that he actually wears a costume: gray polo shirt, nice shoes, black pants. “They take me more seriously than if I was wearing beat-up jeans, beat-up sneakers, and a T-shirt with a graphic on it… These guys are slick. These guys are fucking sharks! They know, they will spot it right away!”
Speaking of sharks, Lotas also notes that while fast-fashion brands lurk and prey on the works of up-and-coming designers, it is up to those designers to adapt or die. “A lot of people wast time calling out these big brands that don’t give a flying fuck about what they have to say. They should just move on and create the next thing.” When Lotas felt that his designs got ripped off by high-street brands, he reverse-engineered the hype by bootlegging fast fashion giants H&M. “You gotta get used to it, otherwise you’re gonna get eaten alive. You gotta move fast.”
Listen to the episode in full above and check out HYPEBEAST Radio wherever podcasts are available.