FEATURE | INTERVIEW WITH GHSTS DESIGNER JOSEPH KEEFER
We speak to Joseph Keefer, the man behind Brooklyn’s latest line, GHSTS. Equipped with a pre-existing knowledge in fashion as Robert Geller’s assistant, the American translates his unremitting passion for music into the premiere collection entitled Unmastered.
What prompted you to start the collection? Is it a case of bringing out an identity of some sort? I wanted to branch out and begin my own line. GHSTS’ identity is parallel to mine and I’m also very driven by DIY and music hence I established the brand myself in the only way I knew how.
What are the inspirations behind the first collection - Unmastered?
The inspiration for the first collection Unmastered was music - music I grew up with listening to and playing - music that inspired me. Mainly revolving around the genres of punk, hardcore and grunge (i.e Nirvana, Fugazi, American Nightmare, Botch).
Is it a conscious decision on your part by likening them to band t-shirts? If so, why? I designed the t-shirt graphics in a way similar to band t-shirts because they’ve always been my favorite. Band t-shirts have always been so iconic and I wanted to capture that.
Is GHSTS more inspired by music or is it more fashion conscious? GHSTS will always be more driven by music. The idea of the brand is of course to be a fashion brand and to grow in that way, but the roots will always be attached to music.
How do you approach the design process? Does it begin with a text in mind followed by the graphics or is it more organic? The design process for t-shirts has always been the same for me, I get an idea of word, phrase, lyric, or graphic in mind and I build around that. The text, graphic, placement all comes together after.
How much has working as the asst for Robert Geller influenced GHSTS? Or do you regard this as a project or collection that is a complete diversion from your previous works? I’ve been able to learn from Robert about fashion and fashion design more than I could from anywhere else. This has been invaluable. I would say in that way I am inspired by Robert Geller, however the brand GHSTS isn’t inspired by my job with Robert. I have been able to use that knowledge in helping to develop the brand and its course going forward. GHSTS is a project entirely separate from my work at Robert Geller, it’s meant to be seen through its own light as it develops.
What’s next for GHSTS? Are there any future aspirations or desires to branch out the brand even further or are you focused on developing niche tees? What’s next for GHSTS is growing our segments, we want the brand to be more than a t-shirt brand. T-shirts will always remain a strong part of our core but our goal is to be introducing more cut and sew pieces into the line up as we move forward. Currently we are developing a couple of pieces we hope to be able to show soon. We’re taking it slow and not trying to overwhelm ourselves with the project as we want to nurture GHSTS, bring it along slowly and steadily allowing to experience a real successful growth and lifespan.
GHSTS’ premiere collection can be found here
Text: Nadirah Nazaraly/Daniel Griffiths