Bathing Suits, West Coast, and Crocodiles
Kaiser– What would you like to see more of in the coming years, in terms of festival wear?
Rabbit– Well I would like to see more bathing suits, cause it’s getting hotter! You know global warming. People are getting more comfortable with their bodies and everything for the summer time stuff, so I think I’m gonna make guy’s bathing suits this year.
Kaiser– Do you guys have any of a harder time selling the men’s clothes?
Rabbit– Its way more fun to make guys stuff, just cause I want clothes for myself, and I can really test them out and stuff!…As for selling it, the guys stuff is strange, just cause it sells really well at festivals, but in the shop here it doesn’t sell that well, and it doesn’t sell that well online either. So I think it’s something to do with the way guys shop. Maybe most guys don’t go out shopping as much, but when they’re at the festivals, they’re like OK we need to get the clothes that are hip in this area.
Kaiser– Yeah! I think that might be it, just cause it’s more of a permissive atmosphere. Like, someone walking down Commercial wont be as inclined to be like, “Wow! I really need to wear this, this weekend!”, verses someone at a festival, where there’s so many people dressed so interestingly, right?
Rabbit– Exactly, and the style’s different in the city, like mainstream fashion and mainstream media, and so at the festivals, it’s our own little bubble, of music and art and culture, so then they really feel like “Oh I’m kind of dressed like a weirdo here now! And my normal city clothes, are sort of dull or whatever.” In the city then it’s a fine line, so I’m trying to make hybrid city/festival clothes.
Kaiser– On the festival culture topic, you’re from the east coast right? So what about the whole scene here with Shambhala and west coast electronic music, really drew you here and kept you here?
Rabbit– Well there’s a bigger scene here, it’s more vibrant, there’s more festivals, there’s more people moving around and going to festivals. It’s also got that connection I think with the States also, the west coast of the States and the festivals down there, so there’s like a migration of people.
Kaiser-The whole Cascadia thing right? (laughs)
Rabbit– Yeah! In the east when I was there, there were a few festivals, like Ohm. I mean I grew up in Toronto… I think what it is, most of those people, (in eastern Canada) have their normal, daily lives, as professionals or whatever they do, and then they want that time away from their normal mainstream reality. But out here people completely lose themselves in never, never land. People come, and then their whole lifestyle is immersed in festivals, or you live in the Kootenays, and you know, you have your farm, or you go down to California…
Kaiser– I think that has to do with the whole second, third generation hippie thing here (in BC). With the draft dodgers that came here in the 60s. That’s really made the BC’s culture pretty distinct from the rest of Canada I think.
Rabbit– Right, and even in northern Alberta! I started going to the North Country Fair, it’s a festival that used to happen in northern Alberta. There was a bunch of draft dodgers that went up there also! I went up there, and there’s also a little bubble of that alternative hippie lifestyle.
Kaiser– And there’s still Motion Notion and Astral harvest up there right?
Kaiser– What would you say is the most obscure festival you have ever been to, or like the weirdest festival you’ve been to?
Rabbit– … I guess it would be the solar Eclipse festival that was in the desert of northern Australia, so like five hours north of Cannes. It was only there for that eclipse, so it was a one time, seven day festival. It was a collaboration of Japanese people, Berlin people and Californian people, and the Australian people. So they each had their own stage and own installations, and own kind of music style, and it was like 15000 people…That was just insane because it was so hot! And it was just in such a foreign land. There was like crocodiles in the pond, and they had to drain it. They also had a big net up and it said beware of crocodiles! It wasn’t a joke either! It was so hot and every time you were swimming you were like, aw I hope they’re not just under there looking at my toes! And four days into it there was a full solar eclipse that went for like an hour. It was at 7 in the morning so everyone stayed up all night, and they turned the music off and 15000 people migrated to the top of this hill. Then the sun slowly eclipsed and then all the birds and the parrots started flying and roosting cause they thought night was coming…I remember there was this Japanese lady, probably like 50 year old lady who started singing this really eery, strange Japanese song. I dunno if it was for eclipses, but she was all like “Aaaauuuwaaaauuuu”, and these guys were like, smoking DMT in front of us. Yeah it was just insane. And then it was over and you know Kaminanda? He was playing right after that, so everyone went down for that. Then it went on for like three more days. That concludes my two part interview with Chad from Rabbit and Empee! This really does sum up why I wanted to delve deeper into the world of what people wear at festivals, and the people who make those clothes.
More interviews and articles to come leading up to full on festing season!
Check out Rabbit and Empee online!