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From fans for fans - Samizdat by Yang Li

The story behind Yang Li’s Samizdat imprint really is a special one. Together with Federico Capalbo of Komakino, Yang Li started Samizdat back in 2010, not as a fashion label, but as a music project. Well, a “music project”. Samizdat is a band, a fictional band, and the clothing is their merchandise. The band members however, they “change” with each collection, as Li and Capalbo keep on bringing different musicians into the project to work on collections with them. The focus of Samizdat is always noise music and industrial metal, so it serves as no surprise that they have worked with the likes of Psychic TV and Justin Broadrick of Godflesh. The collections always turn out as group efforts, as a collaboration of a tribe, more than the usual one man show’s you might be accustomed to in the contemporary fashion scene. Samizdat is an ever changing collective out of people who are still fans first and the collections very much reflect that.

Always putting music first

In contrast to his main fashion line, Yang Li doesn’t exactly adhere to the traditional fashion calendar with Samizdat. They put on shows with the artists they’re working with and they’re digging into music as inspiration before creating a collection, the whole process is pretty much reversed, and you can feel that within every Samizdat piece. With noise music being at the forefront of the idea for the label, Yang Li sees himself more as the band manager for the project, the person who has to assemble the band for the collection, and then they start producing. It is very much a process that takes more cues from the music scene than it does from the fashion scene and that sums up Samizdat very well: Music becomes fashion, not the other way around.

Samizdat at HNTA Berlin

Here at HNTA Berlin, we’re always on the hunt for the next great label, the next big designer, something pretty much every store out there is. With Samizdat, though, it’s different. The label might very well blow up at a point of time, becoming an absolute go-to brand for street fashion, and deservedly so, but what we really loved about Samizdat since their first collection is their uniqueness. Their unique approach to the creation of a collection, their unique idea of a label, their unique artists and musicians and last but not least their unique design language. Dive into the world of Samizdat at HNTA Berlin!