Throughout the 90s, a young and dreaming Kiel Rogers was reading skate and surf magazines.
In the back of the magazine there was an insert showcasing band tees, wallet chains and shoes, and if you were lucky they would release a tape with it. Kiel says he’ll never forget the first tape he watched: young people from California had peroxide blonde shaved heads and wore chinos, white tees and vans. From his bedroom in suburban Perth, Kiel was exposed to the fashion of the Californian punk hard-core scene and, without even realising it, so began his foray into the world of fashion.
What started as an underground techno and punk-themed party designed by Kiel and his friend Rhys Scott evolved into a fashion brand, mix-tape and record label all under the umbrella of GARBAGEtv. Today, Kiel works as a multidisciplinary artist and designer while Scott works with 3D animation, CGI and illustration.
The name GARBAGEtv was taken from their very first party which was themed around a giant dumpster. They wanted to move away from the disco parties of the time and produce something darker, dirtier and more underground. The walls were graffitied and crushed metal garbage became smoke machines. Of the brand’s evolution, Kiel has this to say: “the clothing then came organically and coincided with the events without even trying. It all just happened so fast and it’s still just rocketing forward. I feel it all works as one, as they all build the GARBAGEtv culture”.
GARBAGEtv’s Spring Summer 2019 collection titled ‘Bad Pill’ takes inspiration from chemical reactions and the Thunderdome festival from 1996. Kiel’s favourite piece from the collection is a pair of larger than life gloves. He pushes exaggerated proportions to the limit by pairing a fitted long sleeve printed top with matching oversized gloves – the look mimics swollen hands from an allergic reaction. As for the print, it plays with the idea of thunder and lightning interspersed with visions of the acid smiley. Rhys manages to create the print as if it were a magic eye trick – almost three dimensional and holographic at the same time.
After studying visual art at Curtin University and fashion at the WA School of Art and Design,
Kiel was ready to quit fashion. However, fate intervened when Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck, member of the Antwerp Six, showcased his Spring Summer 2008 Collection ‘Sex Clown’. The Sex Clown collection was inspired by the brightly coloured sculptures and masks of the Bozo people of Mali, West Africa. Kiel remembers his mind being blown by the collection, which had him instantly emailing the brand photographs of his work in search of a job. Fittingly, they loved what they saw, and Kiel worked four jobs to save and eventually move his life to Antwerp, Belgium.
Kiel says, “I loved working for Walter. He is a beautiful, kind soul and the most amazingly creative person. He taught me so much”. Following his time with Walter, Kiel went on to work for fashion heavy weights Jeremy Scott, Comme des Garcons and Australian brand P.A.M. “It takes work to build something that will have longevity and relevance rather than becoming just another fast-fashion trend. They taught me the idea to push and do your own work, not reworks of someone else’s ideas”, Kiel reflects.
Kiel says he feels like somewhat of an outsider in the fashion realm, having grown up in a single parent home in the suburbs, attending what he calls a “not so great” public school. But he believes this pushed him harder because he wanted to achieve more. Kiel says, “I’ve been homeless, I’ve been broke and I’m always working … but I love what I do”.
With a large support network and an Australian presence in Lessons and P.A.M. Store, Kiel is now taking the brand global and attends Paris Fashion Week twice a year to show his collections. From VFILES in New York to H by Lorenzo in California, GARBAGEtv has picked up some highly esteemed stockists in a short period of time. GARBAGEtv now sits alongside other Perth designers such as Larz Harry of Man-tle and Yang Li on the racks of renowned London based boutique LNCC.
Visit – GARBAGEtv
@garbagetv_ – http://www.garbagetv.tv