New Spaces for Places+Faces As It Hits Seven Years in Business

6 months ago 41
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Seven years old this month, Places+Faces has grown fast and shows no sign of slowing. As co-founder Ciesay, 28, told it this morning, this June alone they have released a limited edition watch in collaboration with Casio G-Shock, plus a special capsule entitled ‘Black Peace’ which raised $26,000. He said: “We donated that money to ten bail funds in the US including the Minnesota bail fund, an LGBTQ+ bail fund, and others. Also some of it went to the Breonna Taylor family GoFundMe.” Together with co-founder Soulz, they also made personal contributions. And tomorrow, Places+Faces will drop the first chunk of its latest collection, which as ever is released on its own website alongside additional Insta-promotion.

As recounted the last time we checked in with Ciesay and Soulz, Places+Faces grew from of a Tumblr-based gig-crashing photography passion-project into a meta-modern multi-hyphenate endeavor encompassing party promotion, magazine production, a spot of music publication and, oh yes, the dropping of “merch.”

That model has continued, with the span of Places+Faces parties broadening from London, New York, and Paris to Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, and Singapore. Their most recently planned party was in Moscow, but was canceled courtesy of COVID-19. Ciesay said they cannot yet plot another while health regulations remain necessarily stringent. Although they are musing on moving the model: “Why don’t we maybe go to the forest, go back to the old raving days? People are wanting to see the artists, but also they are wanting to be able to social distance.”

Meanwhile there is the collection, which has moved on too. As modeled here by Kasien Daley and Eva Apio, these clothes, said Ciesay, now merit more than the “merch” description he once happily embraced. “When we were calling it “merch” it was a shelter from the fact that we weren’t putting 100% into it. We were looking at brands who were printing on blank Gildan t-shirts and hoodies and thinking that’s what making clothes is. Then, when we started cut-and-sew in 2018 we were about 50% printing on blanks, 50% making our own pieces. But now it’s up to around 90% or more.”

Print remains strong—this drop via a Buddha hoodie inspired by the aesthetic of Ciesay’s UN worker mom, Priscilla, along with what looks like a contorted-face Misfits band shirt—but now the six-strong Places+Faces team has developed its own signature garments. These include the embroidered logo mohair cardigans that are Ciesay’s particular passion and cotton jersey pieces whose weight and cut has been refined over several seasons. And whereas the drops used not to distinguish between gender, beyond sizing, there are now specifically women’s pieces that are often designed, said Ciesay, via the inspiration of his assistant Faizah Shafi. “She’s my window into females, what they like to wear and how they like to dress.”

Although Soulz wasn’t not on the call, Ciesay says he remains very much co-captain of the operation: “He’s the Yoda of Places+Faces, and I’m the Han Solo. And that’s my one Star Wars reference for the day.” Together these two British-African Londoners are a force. First they built an international lifestyle, and second they built an international lifestyle brand—one description that Ciesay is happy to embrace. Happy seventh birthday, Places+Faces.

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