#BEEN TRILL# was never supposed to be this big. In fact, Matthew Williams, the brand's co-founder is still surprised how popular it has become. The hashtag-heavy apparel has catapulted to the forefront of streetwear in just a few years, and recently landed one of its biggest collaborations to date with London luxury department store Harvey Nichols. Williams says the #BEEN TRILLl# boys were actually just looking to be DJs and spin the tracks they wanted to hear while in London.
Dazed Digital recently caught up with Williams to talk about how #BEEN TRILL# started, the Harvey Nichols collaboration, and Kanye West giving him his first big break. Check out a few excerpts from the interview below.
On how he would define #BEENTRILL# today:
"It’s a regurgitation of what we see in pop culture, on the Internet and also in our daily lives. It’s putting out ideas that are just fun. Luckily, because of our social media presence we can amplify a small, spontaneous idea so it seems much bigger than it actually is."
On being surprised at how popular #BEENTRILL# has become in such a short period of time:
"Yeah It does surprise me. I’ve seen things get popular really quickly before but I think because we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we have allowed other people to join and play in our world. There’s this one Tumblr called #BEENTRILL# logos and somebody has spent the time to make every single logo from Taco Bell to KFC in our signature drippy font. But it’s really well done! It’s weird because it’s just the Rocky Horror Show font, but it’s taken on this whole other life. At that that moment two and a half years ago the font just felt right because it reminded us of how much we loved graffiti as kids. It was nostalgic.”
On the Harvey Nichols collaboration:
"Well, my friend Reese Crisp, who is a menswear buyer for the store, has been a big supporter from day one. He and his colleague Darren Skey came up with the concept and met with me in New York. I was super excited because I knew it could be a great project, plus it was a great opportunity to give us more exposure over here in the UK. I then helped to curate the people to work on the project, for example my friend Marie Schuller, who is head of fashion film at SHOWstudio made a beautiful film with us for the presentation. And my friends Tom Guinness (who is a great stylist) and Brett Lloyd, an amazing up-and-coming photographer, helped mould the concept and visual language. Actually, they also made all of the jewellery for the look book images too, which was created from the trash left over from the River Thames when the tide goes out. Pretty wild."
On who has had the biggest impact on his career so far:
"I mean working under Nick Knight has still to this day has been incredible. He’s my biggest advisor, advocate and friend – everything. There’s something to be said for his process and his continued curiosity and commitment to finding a new path and also sharing ideas and giving others a platform to push the medium forwards."
On what it was like working with Kanye West:
"Kanye is number one. He is the person that gave me my first break. I created a suit jacket for him to wear to the Grammies when I was 21 and he asked me what I did, and I told him I was working at this clothing brand. He then asked me how much I got paid, to which I replied "nothing" and he said, 'OK I’m going to give you double nothing to come work with me.' The next day I was on a plane with him to Japan. I owe him everything. He’s been an amazing friend and mentor. I recently stopped working with him four weeks ago so I could spend more time with my family, but we’re still amazing friends and talk all the time."
On his career highlights:
"I would say the time that I spent with [designer] Hedi Slimane when he was in Los Angeles. I met him when I was assisting Nicola Formichetti on the day that my son was born, and after working on several projects together for Gaga we became friends. He had just moved to LA at the time and I learned so much from him. He is a very gentle, kind and creative person and really it was his work at Dior Homme that made me want to get into fashion. It was pretty surreal when we would drive his vintage Rolls Royce around LA."
Read the full interview here.