Currently reading : An editorial and conversation about Vejas with the designer and their stylist.

An editorial and conversation about Vejas with the designer and their stylist.

6 March 2015

Author : reba

VEJAS is a new young designer who recently showed their F/W15 collection at New York fashion week. Vejas’s stylist Marcus Cuffie alongside photographer Benjamin Bibriesca have created this editorial exclusively exhibited on Sang Bleu using this particular collection. And to go alongside this Vejas and Marcus have had a conversation about the morals behind this progressive and optimistic fashion brand which you can read below.

Image 1_Ben Bibriesca_Marcus Cuffie
earring and embossed leather jacket by VEJAS

Marcus Cuffie

well the first question is

how did we meet?

Vejas Kruszewski

that’s easy


but lets just say “online:”

Marcus Cuffie

ugh I have to start making up a lie for this answer

we met….in the Mykonos I was with my ex husband then

tho the first first time we met irl was I think when u gave me that um…wool top

Vejas Kruszewski

.. we don’t speak of that “wool top”

Marcus Cuffie

in your retrospective in 20 years I will

wear it and tell everyone this is the first thing u made

Vejas Kruszewski

u betta not!

we met…

Marcus Cuffie

lets see next question

why is it important to cast people you care about

Vejas Kruszewski

at the fall of the Berlin wall, you spray painted the margiela number label on the wall and then I showed you my margiela number tattoo on the back of my neck



Marcus Cuffie

ugh you messed up the order!!!!

ill let you answer first cuz I was talking to myself all day so I have my answer anyway

Vejas Kruszewski

its important for me to cast people I care about because I want to see my friends beauty represented and legitimized and also to ground the clothes in the idea of their wearability in terms of being placed on “regular” people I guess

but the first part more so

Marcus Cuffie

right also I think at this point in like

our career

I hate saying career cuz I don’t make any money but anyway at this point I feel like the best thing about working in fashion at a young age is the strong sense of community

like I feel pretty supported by all my friends and I support their endeavors so it seems super natural to me those would be the people to walk the show, because those are the people who I would look to for some kind of confirmation anyway

also I always think the idea of friends walking is really nice in fashion like when elfie semotan would walk helmut or even like the muses karl drags in it makes things a little less stiff

Vejas Kruszewski

right, and also from a marketing perspective, the idea of a brand being part of an intersecting creative community rather than existing in a vacuum makes the product more desirable to buy into, as one is being into a culture and a narrative rather than just some pieces of cloth.( I mean basically Margiela or Helmut’s early strategy now followed by HBA and Eckhaus Latta)

Vejas Kruszewski

don’t quote me on that last part

Image 2_Ben Bibriesca Marcus Cuffie
shearling jacket, distressed leather trousers, and earring by VEJAS

Marcus Cuffie

well I’m not quoting ANYONE but that is really true

there’s that ed that has all the like helmut gang lined up or w/e and I think that makes or at least made helmut that much more alluring like

buying into family or something

like when you wear something and you see someone else wearing it that bond is a little like family

Vejas Kruszewski

fashion is integrally capitalistic and often exploitative but the bond that is shared between complete strangers after the spark of recognizing a brand like CDG or Helmut Lang being worn by the other is perhaps slightly redeeming.

Marcus Cuffie

this is a lead in to the next question basically

what is the importance of community to both of you

Vejas Kruszewski

community is a family outside of one’s biological family and is equally if not more important to sustenance of mind body and soul

if im gonna be sappy bout it

Marcus Cuffie

I love sap… but yeah I think what I said before is true again

It’s just like


I mean even like my ability to work now is like based on just like opportunities others extended to me

and like looking ahead I only really think of success as like

having some platform to help people around me like they helped me

in terms of getting work out in the world

Vejas Kruszewski

right, its taking care of each other and wanting to use ones own successes to help others achieve or gain visibility

Marcus Cuffie

I guess that’s slightly different than community tho…

or like we didn’t directly answer it in some way

but I also think of a community or of the one i’m apart of now as like

the people I turn to for judgment and I mean that like artistically but also like

in terms of checking myself and what I think and do I think that’s important

Vejas Kruszewski

ok cut that message out

and yep exactly what you said

Image 3_Ben Bibriesca_Marcus Cuffie
irregular shearling worn reversed and earring by VEJAS

Marcus Cuffie

Ugh I fainted I was so tired from work

cuz there’s like two more questions

Vejas Kruszewski

What like you actually fainted

That’s dangerous

Take it easy today please..

Marcus Cuffie

I didn’t eat all day so I was like REALLY hungry cuz I forgot to eat while working

I guess it could be fainting

Vejas Kruszewski

same all I had were some eggs yesterday at like 9 and then didn’t eat anything till 10 and almost fell over

Marcus Cuffie

we are so damn


Vejas Kruszewski

Or just poor

Marcus Cuffie

true cuz I didn’t eat cuz my paycheck didn’t clear yet…

Vejas Kruszewski

I was arguing last night with someone who was saying that having 2 black girls is like gonna change everything and how he’s realizing black people exist so it’s all good, and they were talking about a certain designer

Marcus Cuffie

Right and that’s literally not enough

Vejas Kruszewski

And I’m like wait why y’all so readily accept the small crumbs that the yt euro fashion world gives you??

embossed leather jacket and heavy knit trousers by VEJAS
embossed leather jacket and heavy knit trousers by VEJAS

Marcus Cuffie


right like it’s tiring to get excited over like

4 black girls at a show

and that’s not even taking note of the fact we basically only see asian or black models and no other race


fashion so horribly underrepresents other races and people are willing to overlook it but at this point for me it’s like something I cant really anymore

Marcus Cuffie

But you know its hard because like

ofc I like clothes

ofc I like the clothes that are on an all white casts

and this is a problem that you face if you are not white but you have an interest in fashion

I feel excluded

and it feels like a slight

that needs to be solved

oh wait this is a good lead in to the next question

ok so im switching two questions cuz we’re on this anyway

where do you think diversity in casting can go in the future

Vejas Kruszewski

Well start with getting rid of the idea that tokenistic casting is ok


That’s a good start



Marcus Cuffie

but I like…paris….the shows not the city

I mean

the future is that diversity isn’t even an issue or something we’d question because the runway starts to feel like

a real representation of the fashion community

which just means like

include more than 3 races

like loosens restrictions on height and weight

irregular shearling worn reversed, knit trousers, and earring by VEJAS
irregular shearling worn reversed, knit trousers, and earring by VEJAS

Vejas Kruszewski

Forreal I don’t know where casting is going to go, I mean Benetton really took the lead with that years ago and their company kind of flopped

Marcus Cuffie

it flopped cuz with Benetton it was kind of a gimmick I guess

which I think was the danger and is still the danger of pushing a non “standard” cast

you get attention but it feels like a gimmick

and what that points to is like the fact people only expect tall white girls

which is like

cool I love the fantasy I love a blank doll but its not realistic and at this point its pretty boring to see

Vejas Kruszewski

It was a gimmick but the imagery was still powerful and I would assume exposed a lot of regular people to imagery they wouldn’t have otherwise seen or thought possible to exist in the realm of fashion

I guess

Marcus Cuffie


what really needs to happen tho is a real commitment to diversity not just this

flimsy back and forth

where one season half a cast is women of color

and the next is back to like two black girls and one asian girl

Vejas Kruszewski

It’s just like there are no excuses left for casting directors and houses to give us to justify it

Nothing legitimate

Marcus Cuffie

I mean I guess part of the question also has to breach the topic we’ve had to talk about for a while

which is also casting of trans models

which to me is like a no brainer

Vejas Kruszewski


Marcus Cuffie

I think we mentioned we casted friends but beyond that

it just felt natural? these are women I know and find beautiful of course they should walk

and ideally that’s how it would be in some utopic fashion landscape but we know the politics of fashion run deeper than that

Image 6_Ben Bibriesca_Marcus Cuffie
sweater by VEJAS

Vejas Kruszewski

I mean I think it’s important to cast trans models as long as the reason for them being casted doesn’t revolve around transness, because diversity for the sake of diversity can often feel like a shallow gesture, it has to be sincere

Marcus Cuffie

I mean I think there is some room for purposeful exposure though which maybe wasn’t our intention but

it is important that trans models and people be seen in different context constantly

because then the idea of being trans no longer feels like a special circumstance

and it becomes less possible for people to be used as a gimmick at that point

Vejas Kruszewski


Marcus Cuffie

in the same way that

idk there’s that thing where

they’ll send 4 black girls in a row

in the same colors

like oh this part of the show

this is the part for black folks or like oh here’s our quota

now back to normal viewing

which it me is twice as offensive as just putting two in-between to just make a section for “us”

Vejas Kruszewski

That makes the inclusion feel slightly sarcastic and begrudging, like “oh, here you go, that was painful but at least it was over quickly”

Marcus Cuffie

right like

oh we appeased the audience

so we are both a little upset so next question is

what upsets you both in fashion

is what you do a reaction to this

so its two parts I guess

I mean I think what angers me more than these practices of ignorance is

the way fashion tricks people into accepting them

and logicizing them

like I had a friend tell me its all right that dior at one point only had white models because

that was just the vibe like who else would you imagine in a show like that

as if that is somehow a realistic answer but

like people really do that a lot

like justifying things that you should just say no to

because fashion is big and beautiful


kimono bomber and earring by VEJAS
kimono bomber and earring by VEJAS


Vejas Kruszewski

What upsets me truly besides casting is… The sheer amount of brands and clothing being churned out with no purpose or thought behind them.. It’s all about this bland pseudo modern minimal complacency in luxury at the moment, “aesthetic”, and to me it’s like numbing

Marcus Cuffie


and it’s a clear marketing move

because its an easier sell but its so spiritless

like how many brands do we need that do a comfy oversize fit their needs to be like

a new proposition within fashion at this point, which I think in a lot of ways there are from still young designers

and we as in like our generation are paying closer attention to younger designers than say the old guard major houses

Vejas Kruszewski

It’s like neo-liberal in the sense that it’s clothing with no geographical marker, it’s apolitical, apathetical, and people buy into it so easily. The Adidas sneaker paired with jeans and a tan wool coat is the outfit of homogenization and globalized terror and hiding in safety

Marcus Cuffie

I mean maybe that’s aggressive to what people feel comfortable in but its just like

the normcore thing

then fashion tried to capitalize on that and make it this concrete style

and then they just threw like

adidas sliders on with a full runway look and were like “COMFORT”

Vejas Kruszewski

I mean I feel like normcore was about erasing difference in physical appearance in order to reach some kind of notion of equality but erasing difference ends the market for innovation and creates cultural stagnation

Ok maybe exaggerating a bit

But idk

Marcus Cuffie

I feel like things like that get co-opted so fast that idea of equality are irrelevant

but then the second part is do you feel like

what you design is reactionary to what you dislike in fashion

I rephrased it a bit

Vejas Kruszewski

Yea whatever I design is to fill the void in what I want to see existing versus what currently exists

Or at least that’s the idea

But then it has to get bogged down with realism and like I actually have to sell this stuff

heavy knit turtleneck and quilted cotton pants by VEJAS
heavy knit turtleneck and quilted cotton pants by VEJAS

Vejas Kruszewski

So then I think more like ok if this stuff actually has to sell in order to make this business sustainable then it can’t be too crazy or unwearable, so I was thinking about what’s already comfortable and recognizable as clothing to most people and then changing the shape of it but not the elements, so that it becomes still recognizable but also kind of alien

Marcus Cuffie

I mean I like the idea of things selling tho I don’t want to see a bunch of walking sculptures on

every runway clothes should

accommodate a body and offer like a proposition

I mean we can’t all be comme, and even comme when in stores finds its way to being wearable

and we certainly don’t want to be j******S

NEXT QUESTION last one but I reversed the order

Vejas Kruszewski

Like taking a grey sweatshirt and making it into this layered mess of coils or making a bomber jacket into pants or a baseball glove into a dress.. It’s still recognizable as its original object so I think there’s a subconscious part of one that feels comfortable to wear it

Marcus Cuffie


is vejas about creating a world that you want to live in

which I think is funny considering our theme was like final girl or escape

Vejas Kruszewski

(Off the record I feel like the designing for a dystopic existence thing is pretty strongly embodied by eckhaus already so I dun want to be too similar)

But I think

Vejas Kruszewski

No it’s not about creating a world I want to live in because the theme was final girl and that would be a nightmare but I think of like, some writing by Arabelle Sicardi and the notion of clothing as terror and beauty as terror really stick with me, that like clothing can be about negotiating with what makes you uncomfortable and what makes the viewer uncomfortable, so I guess the point of the brand isssss

Vejas Kruszewski

Projecting something recognizable but alien, self-actualization grounded in resilience, and like… Yea

Marcus Cuffie

yea I think

protection is important too

I mean I guess some people WERE topless but we hope they felt protected

Vejas Kruszewski

yup protection too

Marcus Cuffie

and as a person who is living in these clothes rn

I have to say I feel pretty protected

Vejas Kruszewski

like navigating this cruel ass capitalistic world

I mean nothing can get through that heavy of a rib knit

Marcus Cuffie

we should become a lifestyle brand though

vejas towels

but out of like…


vejas coasters

out of bone

future huntress vibes

Vejas Kruszewski

doesn’t rick owens already make those

Marcus Cuffie

I don’t think he makes coaster we can corner that market

Vejas Kruszewski

god why he always one step ahead

hmm once we get that licensing deal we can just live off the bone coasters and vejas perfume


embossed leather jacket and earring by VEJAS
embossed leather jacket and earring by VEJAS


All clothes by VEJAS

Photographs by Benjamin Bibriesca

Styling by Marcus Cuffie

The model is Louis Bubko

Follow them on Instagram here


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