At the end of 2016, we made a fanzine pulling together photos, drawings and text messages from one year of working together. The zine was printed in risograph in 50 copies and sent with the first orders of 2017. We share some spreads from the zine in this post.
Laurie Franck (@laurie_franck) and I (@knobbly_studio) "met" on Instagram in February 2016.
I had been trying hard, for about a year before we met, to build the Knobbly brand "by the book" - analyzing trends, designing what I thought the "market" wanted, crafting a social media presence that never referenced my controversial location. At the end of a year I was disillusioned with that approach. I didn't love what I was creating, it didn't seem to be working particularly well in a business sense, and I was tired of taking advice. I decided to scrap the plans, and do something that got me excited to create.
There was this French girl on Instagram doing minimalistic drawings of female nudes, and sometimes tattooing them on people. Every one of the drawings could almost be just a few random lines and dots, yet they were unmistakable to our eye, which is so attuned to human forms. I sent her a direct message on Instagram. I didn't even know what I wanted to do, but I was in love with her style. She said yes to the general idea. By the next day we had a mockup ready of our first collaboration: a tee with my favorite drawing of Laurie's (and actually the first handpoke tattoo she ever did).
I'm a jewelry designer. So I took a class in silkscreen printing, and picked my fashion designer friends' brains for all the advice I could get on making clothes from scratch.
It was everything we hoped for and then some. People were intrigued by the story - a collaboration between two women from very different disciplines, who'd never even met in real life - and after a selfie a friend took wearing the tee blew up, they began selling out as fast as we could make them. Best of all, we loved working together. We're both too shy and too independent to be what you would normally call team players, but somehow, this just clicked.
During all that time, Laurie and I basically had a full-fledged business relationship almost exclusively via DMs. Laurie moved to Zurich. I joked about meeting in Tel Aviv. Laurie wasn't joking: she bought plane tickets.
In October 2016 I picked her and her partner, Paolo, up at the TLV airport. We'd found an apartment for them across the street from my studio, and had plans for an exhibition and live tattoo event at a favorite neighborhood café/bar. Every morning the two of them walked to the beach and spent the day there while I worked, and nights Laurie and I worked on a new collaboration in my studio. We talked into the night. People lined up for tattoos. It was a happy week. By the time they left for Zurich, we had a new collection.
It's one of those things that could only happen in 2016, with social media as a platform for communication and a place for ideas to resonate, and at a time when human forms are very much at the front of our collective mind. I feel so lucky we were able to jump into this together!
Shop Knobbly x Laurie Franck: