Tue 30th June

Running Young, Wild & Free with the Natasha Zinko x DUO Ltd SS21 Collection

Text   Dino Bonacic

DUO Ltd’s Ivan Zinko talks us through the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-inspired, quarantine-made collection that features a tech collab with Beats by Dre.

While most of us can barely show a poorly crocheted scarf to justify all the hours we wasted over the past four months, Ivan and Natasha Zinko have mustered up a full collection as a fruit of their lockdown mother-son partnership that took place in Odessa, Ukraine. Aptly titled Sober, the spring/summer 2021 outing under their joint venture of Natasha Zinko x DUO Ltd is all about questioning existing ideas of “the American dream” through a modern lens. Away from outside voices and opinions, but clearly influenced with everything that’s happening in the world, their collaboration hit a new high with this latest collection as the Zinkos teamed up on every aspect of its making – from the initial inspirations to the visuals that showcase their work. How did it all start? “I’ve obviously had so much free time in quarantine, so I’ve been reading up a lot on the origin of the term ‘American dream,’ and I came across Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas book,” explains Ivan.

The notorious 1961 book which captures the drug-induced revolution of the 1960s and was later turned into an even more notorious film by Quentin Tarantino might not seem like your typical reading for an average 12-year-old. But Ivan is also definitely not an average 12-year old. Having been brought up by a designer mother, he has always been exposed to the creative processes that happen behind the making of a final collection. This season though, the two have incorporated their inspiration by recontextualising it and flipping its meaning on its head. Instead of just reinterpreting the cult fashion codes from the film, they took the starting point of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as a cannon for rewriting the history of tomorrow. As a hedonistic alternative to today’s USA, Zinkos have used their creativity to subvert all things Americana stands for.

Natasha Zinko x DUO Ltd SS21

Even though its tagline is a “land of the free and the home of the brave,” the US has never really been about that and, now more than ever, those discrepancies are becoming clear. So instead of just focusing on the good things, Ivan and Natasha address the most problematic aspects – toy guns are crossed out in support of gun control, and the pastiche of a cowboy smoking a cigarette is reinterpreted as a smiley face emoticon. In addition to Fear and Loathing, Ivan credits Tarantino’s extensive portfolio of films as the references of choice this season. “With so much time on hand, what better to do than pretty much watch all of them? I watched True Romance, Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction, which is probably my favourite out of all of them,” he says, adding how the singular cinematography informed the short film that came out as a premiere of the collection during the digital version of London Fashion Week Men’s this June. 

Natasha Zinko x DUO Ltd SS21

While a lot of the elements that completed the final looks hailed from the past, the collection was evidently made for the youth of today. A sort of Easter egg in the visuals came courtesy of a collaboration with audio tech company Beats by Dre in celebration of the launch for the new colourways of the Powerbeats Pro earphones. “The guns are crossed out which is a message of peace, and the headphones bring the collection, which is primary about the past, into something more modern and current,” Ivan explains.

This reference to music also relates to his growing involvement with that industry as he also curated a special playlist inspired by the collection for Beats by Dre which includes some of the most iconic tracks of the time (you can listen to it here). For this launch, Natasha and Ivan decided to incorporate the red headphones as it’s also the colour of the famed Chevrolet Impala Convertible that Dr. Gonzo drove in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which made its way into their SS21 film. “Red is also a colour of passion and emotion, and obviously it appears on the American flag so it felt right to use it. Its little white Beats logo makes it look even more on-theme,” adds Ivan.

When it comes to the actual garbs on show, there’s plenty to choose from and add to your shopping list for next season. Oversized outerwear, refreshed takes on flannel shirts and flared denim trousers along with great summer dresses worn under fringed leather jackets. Yet again, the Wild West clichés are revisited in a way that makes them modern and desirable. As his favourite pieces, Ivan picks the silver-plated necklace which references the hippy-dippy plastic letter beads you might buy on a beach, but elevated into the world of luxury. Another one of his faves is the black bomber jacket embroidered with TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA, an actual fear of the number 13. “Even though a lot of people see it negatively, 13 is a lucky number for my family,” he says. Well, with such a harmonious mother-son relationship on display, adapting a bit of Zinko family values seems like a good idea.

Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro are now available in four new illuminating colours: Spring Yellow, Cloud Pink, Lava Red and Glacier Blue. You can shop them online at apple.com.

@natashazinkomagazin @duoltd

Natasha Zinko x DUO Ltd SS21