For all the eclectic, irreverent and cultural ideas that Virgil Abloh explored through Off-White, Fabien Montique was among the designer’s constant collaborators. Born in Barbados and based in Paris for more than a decade, the photographer and art director worked first with Kanye West and then Abloh, documenting various projects spanning fashion, campaigns, music, tours and more. With a nuanced approach to dimension, light and suspended expression, Montique has also shot for Heron Preston, Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton. His first book, SHAPES, a mixture of pictures and playful cutouts that conjures the nostalgia of childhood, will be out in September.
To what extent do you think fashion is about proposing/selling dreams?
The thing about a really good dream is that it lands somewhere between fantasy and reality. Selling dreams in fashion gives this type of hope with a “you can do it, too” mentality. We all dress for different reasons, but there is nothing like dressing for your dreams. So it is my hope that fashion continues to propose dreams for the kids, for why else continue the cycle if not for the future?
How might this have a positive effect on people?
Growing up, fashion was this mammoth alien. At 15, I saw an image that transformed my existence: a fashion image. It was as simple as this picture, yet it opened my eyes to a universe – something I didn’t know existed, a way of dressing, a lifestyle, I wanted to explore beyond what I knew. And that is how I feel it can have a positive effect. I am living it!
What is one trend or item of clothing that will define the coming year?
Sweatsuits in cashmere.
How does this visual speak to your dreams of fashion?
This image, from my first day shooting an Off-White campaign, speaks to my dreams of fashion as it mixes fantasy and reality. Like most of my work, I put together things that don’t usually belong and document the result. There’s always something aspirational that you can reach; you can feel the soul with something real that you know. Also, at the moment of this campaign, we were dreaming of making it in fashion.