Aries Founder Sofia Prantera Breaks Down 10 of Her Brand’s Best Collaborations
If you got a penny every time you read a piece explaining the world of streetwear in the intro… You’d probably be able to afford one of those Supreme x Louis Vuitton holdalls on StockX. But here we go again… In many ways, wear that is street has overtaken the world of luxury fashion ever since that seminal moment of two megabrands joined arms in 2017. Since then, a streetwear maven Virgil Abloh went onto become the head of menswear at LV, and the previously strict limits of the two worlds almost entireley disappeared. Name one luxury brand that doesn’t have a trainer in their offering, I’ll wait… But while it seems like most of the industry is still in the process of backtracking from suits to tracksuits, there’s also Aries – working against the grain in turning what was once a simplistic idea of women’s denim inspired by the spirit of skatewear and working their way into every corner of the world, one tee at a time.
Originally established in 2009, Sofia Prantera imagined Aries as her passion project after years of working under Slam City, as well as leading cult noughties skating brands Holmes and Silas. As a CSM graduate who was once told streetwear is not fashion by her tutor, Prantera took it upon herself to change opinions of the world. She merged her personal experiences of hanging out at skateparks and influences of other female-led brands that came before with a knowledge and understanding of high fashion. It took a few years until Aries picked up pace and the world caught on to the unique angle on womenswear Prantera’s point-of-view offered. Last year, Aries was nominated in the emerging womenswear designer category at the Fashion Awards, and this year, they are in the emerging menswear design category, a result of the recent venture that saw the founder going back to her roots.
Skipping a spot on the fashion week schedule, the ways Aries garner attention and feed their intense fandom is according to traditional streetwear ways – through steady drops and special projects. In the past year only, they have teamed up with a whole range of collaborators; the list goes on and includes everyone from legendary photographer David Sims to fellow girl power players at Perks and Mini. Her latest one comes courtesy of Havana Club (yes, the famous rum brand) – along with photographer Joshua Gordon, Aries have worked on a multimedia project including an exhibition, a film, a book and a capsule collection of merchandise. The project is based on Butterfly, Gordon’s photographic series capturing the drag and trans community of Havana, Cuba. The merch will be dropping online very soon, while the exhibition is currently on display at Artifact, Spazio Maiocchi Milan until November 12th. The show will then come to London’s Vinyl Factory where it will open on the 14th, so make sure to find your way to East London then.
In celebration of her latest partnership, the Fashion Awards nomination (the finals will take place on December 2nd) and just our general love for Aries, we asked the founder herself to give us a little overview of her 10 great collabs that emerged into the world in the past year. “I have put them in alphabetical order as I felt it was unfair to rate them – they have all been amazing experiences, you learn so much working with others,” Sofia Prantera says, before kicking things off. Consider this your ultimate Aries cheat sheet!
1. Click to Buy with David Sims and Fergadelic
“This was our first collaboration. David is a friend and one day he just said ‘shall I take some photos for you?’ I have been a fan of his work since the mid 1990s so I was pretty moved he even offered. It took me a year to ask him if he was serious – he was, so we made a book. Jane How did the styling and it was also my first time working with her. It was a really changing experience. I asked Ferg to do the layout and we made a few tees to celebrate the launch. Possibly still my favourite, so first in alphabetical order but also first to believe in Aries. Thank you David!”
2. Havana Club with Joshua Gordon
“This collaboration which launches this week was one of the most challenging but also rewarding. My role here was different from all the others and I am extremely proud of the outcome. The real achievement here for me was to take a commercial collaboration somewhere unusual and risky. I thank everyone at Havana for believing in my vision and allowing us the freedom to do something so raw and valuable, I hope it will inspire people to use collaborations to explore new grounds.”
3. Hillier Bartley Tees (and bespoke suiting?)
“This was a fun project with friends; experimental and sartorial, pushing the boundaries of what it means to mix the high and the low. Luella [Bartley] and I often joke about how we can have a whole wardrobe by mixing our brands so we took it to a new level by making a series of hybrid pieces that still retained some wearability. Just about…”
4. New Balance 990v3
“A little taster of what was to come, we made a one-off colourway of the Made in USA 990. It sold out in minutes – I didn’t even get a pair for myself. It’s now one of the most expensive NB on the resale market.”
5. New Balance 991
“Two years in the making, these finally launched last week. This was one of the most interesting collaborations in terms of product development. The ‘Made in Flimby’ shoe pushed the factory’s capability to the limit and became a really interesting journey for Aries and for New Balance’s UK design team. It has been our most successful product collaboration to date which was accompanied by a conceptual pop up space titled Unbalanced with visuals and films produced by David Sims and remixed by various up-and-coming contemporary visual artists, with a purpose built unbalanced building; really trippy and psychedelic.”
6. No Show Official with Pam, Facetasm, General Standard, Some Ware, Come Tees and Adish
“This was organised by our friends Misha [Hollenbach] and Shauna [Toohey] that own streetwear label PAM so I can’t take much credit. We helped as we could and it was a new way to look at fashion shows as a collaborative impromptu events, rather than a planned experience.”
7. Stussy Tee
“This one was just a t-shirt graphic; I worked with Martin and Jake on the graphics and Clare Shilland took the images. Simple but effective.”
8. Suicoke Sandals
“We were asked by Enrico form Slam jam to collaborate with Suicoke as they are close friends. We have a more unique model coming in the new year but this first product was simple and effective; a roman sandal which lent itself perfectly to a pagan take on gold chains and glow in the dark columns. The collaboration was shot by art photographer Adrian Sampson.”
9. Vans Trainers
“This was our first product collaboration with four different designs of Vans Old Skool slip-ons and SK8-Hi. We made a film with my longtime collaborator Clare Shilland, who teamed up cinematographer JJ Pollard and editor 241247. It featured Martina Boaretto and Kasper Kapica who have now become official faces of the brand and opened the way for all the others.”
10. WB4C with Jeremy Deller & David Sims
“Last but not least – this was possibly our most successful collaboration yet. It started as a conversation about teeshirts with Jeremy Deller and ended up as an exhibition showing in three different countries in galleries and museums, via an incredible photoshoot in Stonehenge with David Sims and Jane How the week before summer solstice.”