Living Like a Bohemian

Photo by: Aldo Padilla

Necessity. Adaptation. Reversed engineering. All are words that the innovative Victor Wilde uses to describe the culture and design of his line Bohemian Society. He says, “I approach fashion from an artist’s perspective, so each piece is like a piece of art.”

From street performer and film major to fashion designer, Wilde is a multifaceted artist with inspiration hailing from a desire to play the game of life by his own rules. And his own rules have translated into his own trendy style.

“The Bohemian Society: I came up with the idea of bohemian, meaning somebody who doesn’t play by the rules of society and creating a society of people that play by their own rules,” said Wilde. “I definitely live a bohemian lifestyle; I’ve been an artist since I was a child.”

With a philosophy to reinvent vintage clothing into new, modern pieces with attitude, his bohemian-shaped world consists of a “do it yourself” (DIY) approach.

It was with that DIY approach that he started his line in a one-bedroom apartment with his girlfriend at the time back in 2003. For Bohemian Society, ideas are born from the need to be creative, adapt and reverse engineer the vintage fashion that exists in today’s world to bend to no one’s rules.

Photo by: Aldo Padilla

For Bohemian Society, recycling vintage clothing into new clothing also strives to make for a greener world, says Wilde.

When the bedroom operation began, Wilde recalls, “I knew absolutely nothing about fashion. I didn’t know how to make a t-shirt; I didn’t know how to sew. I went to film school. I’m an artist, I’m a multi-media artist.”

Yet, for Wilde, the opportunity to let his fashionable side show came when he ventured to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, New York, and started a t-shirt line. “I borrowed a little bit of money, started a t-shirt line and sold it to Lisa Kline straight out,” he said.

Lisa Kline, one of the biggest retailers on the west coast, bought the whole line; it was the beginning steps to what would become Bohemian Society.

Getting an opportunity to do Smashbox Fashion Week was Bohemian Society’s opportunity to stand up among well-known and established designers. “We didn’t have a collection at the time, we had like seven pieces, and Davis Factor, who is one of the owners at Smashbox, gave us our show and we were like ‘okay, now we need a collection’,” said Wilde.

He continued, “So we took a bunch of vintage clothes and were so broke at the time. The style we created was formed out of necessity, taking vintage blazers and tricking them out, you know, sewing them up, cutting them up; patches, pins, whatever, and in a week we just sort of didn’t sleep and created like one hundred pieces. And just débuted at Smashbox Fashion Week.”

Photo by: Aldo Padilla

Working with creative methods of design, Wilde has created a line that stands on its own and breaks the traditional thought of designer clothing coming solely from a sewing machine. “With Bohemian Society, I had this idea to take vintage clothing and take it out into the desert with guns and shoot it, he said. “Just demolish these clothes with shotguns and stuff, take it back and re-sew it into something else.”

That was exactly what he did. On one occasion, “It was an old cable knit sweater that we blew to smithereens with the shotgun, and made it into a dress and Shannyn Sossamon wore it on the cover of Zink Magazine.”

Shooting clothing is one of many methods that Wilde uses for his designs.

“A lot of times I won’t even have a concept for something. I’ll just take a jacket, put it on the mannequin and just sort of attack it. And I’ll take something from this and that and something will come to me, and boom, it’ll just come together.”

Attacking it may be, at times, an understatement. Wilde recalled a particular project where no traditional method was used. He said, “It was a vintage jacket but I didn’t want to sew anything on it, so I used studs and a blowtorch. I use a blowtorch method with leather, where I’ll shrink stuff to size without having to sew it. I’ll shrink it down with fire.”

Photo by: Aldo Padilla

No matter the time it takes or what designs are made, Bohemian Society clothing appeals to a wide variety of people. Wilde’s twist on vintage designs has worked its way into popularity among the realm of entertainment. Bohemian Society has been on the cover of Zink Magazine; showcased on two seasons of Rockstar Supernova on CBS; on two world tours with Ashley Simpson; featured on R&B singer Jason Derulo; and been on names such as George Clinton, Gilby Clarke, and Tommy Lee.

Having been a film major, Wilde strives to use his multi-media knowledge to further accent the Bohemian Society name, and he says, “The idea is to do a one-minute film each season, and this season we’re going to do two girls fencing.”

Photo by: Aldo Padilla

Bohemian Society fans can expect to see the Spring 2011 collection as having a lot of symbology, occult and kind of flowy designs, said Wilde. He said, “I’m going to pair down a lot what I’ve done in the past and try and sell it, make it a little more marketable. The stuff I do tends to be very expensive, and it’s time consuming.”

The innovation to his designs has led to national and worldwide recognition of the Bohemian Society line as well. Being a Brooklyn native, New York holds a special place in his heart, and Wilde says, “New York is great. It’s good at adapting and changing, and just being New York. It’s sort of it’s own entity, I love it.”

His best connection for Bohemian Society however, has been Tokyo, Japan. “I just signed a three year contract with a company, where they’re my rep. and they only represent me,” said Wilde. “Tokyo, that’s where it’s at for me.”

Wilde’s ultimate goal for Bohemian Society is to meld everything he does into one and continue designing to bend the rules of society, living like a bohemian. “The world is a crazy place; I love it.”

Interview by Adam Elramly.
Written by Justine Mrsich
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A special ‘Thank you’ to Los Angeles based T&A Showroom. Please visit their site for inquiries on the Bohemian Society line.

Bohemian Society

Official Website


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