Avanope: The Luxury Bootlegger
In the world of fashion, fakery is usually something ignored, snubbed or even ridiculed. It’s a misshapen burberry style cap on a downtrodden market stall or an imitation Louis Vuitton monogram handbag with a poorly stitched lining. Yet there is one artist who is changing such perceptions through her handmade fakes, better described as luxury bootlegs.
Ava Nirui, better known by her Instagram name avanope is a New York based photographer, freelance writer and designer whose creations are taking the internet by storm. Like many creatives these days, it’s through her use of Instagram that she’s become so well known, with almost 90k followers on this platform alone. As such, she’s recently come to be featured in publications including Vogue, Dazed and Hunger Magazine. One scroll down her feed and you’ll see why her work has attracted so much attention - from a grey Alexander Wang hoodie with the ‘W’ replaced by an upturned McDonalds logo to a pair of rhinestone Nike jeans embellished with the slogan ‘JUST DON’T’, her aesthetic is witty and garish in the best kind of way. Many of her customisations are a fusion of several brands, such as the white and gold Air Max 95s emblazoned with a Fendi-cum-Fila logo, and the iconic Chanel ‘CC’ hanging from the laces. Her designs aren’t limited to clothes and shoes either, with a bedazzled Prada basketball and a Louis Vuitton inhaler making waves on the interweb.
Subversive and iconic in equal measure
You can buy her most infamous creation from her website - a Champion x Gucci reverse weave hoodie hybrid - although unsurprisingly it’s now sold out. What’s more, the $199 price tag certainly continues to emphasise this idea of the luxury bootleg. In an interview with Hunger Magazine she explains how she thinks ‘it’s fascinating that you can put a logo on anything and give it a “luxury” feel thus making it desirable.’ It’s an idea that’s become relatively controversial this year, with pieces such as the Vetements DHL logo t-shirt being surrounded by an almost hysterical hype. Whether you agreed with its cost of £185 or not, the design turned heads and undoubtedly raised a few eyebrows - but isn’t that the point of fashion?
Part of the inspiration for Nirui’s work came from the aesthetic of the Vetements brand, and her involvement in a project making outfits for vintage Barbie dolls based on the label, citing the brand's ability to "conceptualise and create objects and ideas based around faux designer and luxury brand products" as a major influence on her creative process. Nonetheless, her Champion hoodies can also be viewed as a tongue in cheek alternative to Vetements own Champion hoodie collaboration and its eye watering price tag. As such, Nirui’s pieces both emulate and subtly mock this modern interpretation of luxury. However you choose to interpret this young artist’s work, her talent is indisputable. Her ideas are so simplistic you wonder how you hadn’t thought of them yourself, yet the real beauty of them lies in her clean and flawless presentation. This is fakery, but on a whole new level, and right now you need some of it in your wardrobe.
Words by: Saskia