SEXFORSAINTS wants you to open your heart and speak your mind. The up-and-coming label, based in Toronto but with distribution solely in Europe, creates striking, consciously confident designs, seeking to become not only a fashion staple but a reflection of those who wear it.
In that spirit, the label’s latest collection embraces the social outcasts of the world, turning their plight into one of heroism. Aptly titled “Anti-Hero”, the newest assortment of pieces from SEXFORSAINTS draws its audience closer with its unique style, featuring a range of hoodies, T-shirts, trousers, vegan leather gloves and a varsity jacket.
Completing the narrative of the “Anti-Hero”, the label has opened up a channel on its website called “Speak Your Mind”, encouraging its community of wearers and admirers to share their hopes and gripes through its platform. In our exclusive interview with founder and lead designer Saint, Schön! discusses this platform and the new collection.
What is your personal history with design?
I’ve always had an eccentric relationship with and approach to design. I could never fit into the box I felt fashion schools were trying to fit me in. I lasted about three weeks in fashion school before I dropped out.
I’ve always thought of design from a point of perception. How do these garments fit into the world I’m trying to create? Are they wearable, are they purposeful, do they make sense to me? I’ve always been obsessed with creating a ‘world’, and fashion has always been the catalyst for that. Sexforsaints is more than ‘design’ or ‘clothing’; it’s meant to be something provocative, emotive, and life changing. My team and I are trying to build something that everyone can benefit from. The ‘design’ behind the clothing and the aesthetic of the label I would say are a direct manifestation of my life as an artist and as a human being. The things I experience, the way I see the world, my dreams, just things I think are cool, all end up becoming part of the Sexforsaints’ world.
What inspired the creation of SEXFORSAINTS?
It actually started as a collective that me and my friend Cherry created. To be honest, it started off mad ambiguous. We didn’t know what this shit was or what it was supposed to be. I remember us just filming weird videos just the two of us. Cherry would hold the camera and film me in a sick outfit walking through the city, then she’d hand me the camera and I’d film her. It really was just the two of us. After, we’d sit at a Starbucks or A&W and just edit these videos and upload them with their terrible WiFi. It would take hours.
I think we were just trying to escape societal norms and constraints. We’re still trying to escape. We didn’t want to work a 9-5, we didn’t want to give up on the things we loved in exchange for money or stability or ‘social acceptance’. We really just wanted to do whatever we wanted. At some point, Cherry ended up moving away, and I turned the collective into a fashion label, and this is what it manifested into. It’s now become something representative of what we were both chasing, and the long-term vision is to find those chasing the same dreams, struggling with the same things we were struggling with and help them.
Who is a SEXFORSAINTS ‘Anti-Hero’?
Feeding off of the last question, it’s someone fighting to create the world they want to live in. Someone who sees more struggles in their life due to them not being able to conform. An Anti-Hero can’t stay quiet, can’t pretend not to see the wrongs in the world. We feel things deeper than most, and have a strong connection to our inner-self, but put simply we’re the struggling artist.
Your label is based in Canada, but is only available in Europe. How did that come about?
Honestly, I don’t think it’s something myself or my team expected, but now that it’s happened I don’t think we’re surprised. I’ve always said, ‘Home isn’t always the place you were born’, and I think what’s happening to the label right now is a perfect representation of that. We’re just following the love; we don’t feel compelled to push the label out here if the interest is elsewhere. To be honest, it’s crazy to see our garments go from my basement in Toronto to all the way across the world. We got cool people wearing the clothes in places I’ve never even been before. Yet here in my own city it’s not even available. I think that’s crazy but so dope at the same time.
The attached photos have a lot of character. What spirit were you looking to capture in these campaign images, and how did you go about doing that?
We always tell the model, we’re not here to take pictures. We’re here to capture moments. We tell them all they have to do is be themselves. I believe the label and the clothes themselves inherently bring something out of people. We have our best shoots with people who actually understand and resonate with the vision. For sure there’s a certain standard the label holds and there’s a certain look I love shooting with, but I genuinely believe anyone we shoot with, whatever they look like, when we’re done with them the photos will all carry this same sense of character and spirit. We look for confidence. I think it’s the most important thing. We want models comfortable in their own skin, who believe in themselves. Our shoots really aren’t complicated, because we’re looking to capture something genuine and organic.
Tell us about the “Speak Your Mind” channel on your website. What inspired this, and what is its place in your label today?
‘Speak Your Mind’ is something I am so deeply in love with. Like everything in the label, this manifested very organically. It started from a brainstorming session with Jayden. Trying to figure out ways to connect with the people who were already following us. How could we communicate with them, how could we uplift them? We thought maybe posting some uplifting quotes, but to be honest, found that shit to be mad corny.
After travelling down this line of thought, I thought back on something I use to do when I was first becoming a designer, when I was just an artist trying to make a little money. I would always emotionally vomit my feelings on my Instagram story. Really incoherent, like a diary or journal entry — I would just talk about what I was going through, how I was feeling, what I wanted from the world, and how I was going to get it. I used to get a lot of responses from people saying they were inspired by these incoherent yet passionate and true words I was posting on my stories. This led us to believe [that] if we opened up a platform where people could anonymously tell their stories, talk about their struggles, or their successes, we could create a place for people to grow on, and support each other. We felt both the reader and the writer would benefit from this, as those writing would get to vent their emotions and those reading would get to learn from other people going through things similar to what they were going through themselves.
Watch more at https://sexforsaints.com/
What’s next for SEXFORSAINTS?
I feel like our team just wants the vision to expand. What a lot of people don’t know is a lot of the visual parts of Sexforsaints are inspired by an in-house anime I created called Tiger & Moonie. This is definitely something we want to tap into more and externalise as the label grows. We’re working on expanding our product availability to the United States. Japan is also somewhere we definitely see our vision fitting into, but Sexforsaints is an ‘in the moment’ kinda label, inspired by life itself. We really just want to keep working with as many artists as possible and figure out new ways to uplift and help our audience and supporters.
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