How New York Sunshine is Navigating the Intersection of Art and Fashion

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GGDB X NYS, Labor of LoveCourtesy of Golden Goose Deluxe Brand

Meet the American collective combining art, fashion and architecture with intriguing results

Straddling several creative fields simultaneously is not a simple task – but when executed successfully, the results can be spellbinding. Introducing New York Sunshine, an art collective which has found a seamless way to combine fashion, art, architecture and retail, to create multi-sensory, multi-faceted experiences for all those who visit them. The brand was founded by John Margaritis, who started out making T-shirts in high-school – and the rest, as they say, is New York history.

More recently: the collective art directed Virgil Abloh’s Off-White X Vlone campaign, creating a basketball hoop which floated in the ocean, based on their Hoop Dreams photography series. The team has also produced some ambitious projects, such as One Ton Tank, for which it filled a giant 7,000 pound cement tank with water, before staging a performance which saw a full clothed artist submerged within it.

What’s so fascinating about Margaritis and his team, though, is that they refuse to be governed by definitions. Their work centres around ideas, rather than a prescribed form or design – which makes for unexpected and authentic manifestations. Recently, they collaborated with the Venetian entity Golden Goose Deluxe Brand during 2018’s Venice Biennale of Architecture, creating a series of performances to celebrate the launch of its STARDAN sneakers, which pay homage to American basketball and craftsmanship. Here, we speak with Margaritis and his team about the brand, which live happily between the gritty New York streets and Long Island’s surfing scene.

On New York Sunshine’s humble beginnings...
“I started making T-shirts in high school, selling them at the local surf shop. My dad’s friend was a silk screener in Port Washington who made large scale prints for Keith Haring, and we began working with him. We started doing these all-over printed shirts because we had screens big enough to do 4x6ft prints. What’s cool and unique and fun about what we’re doing is that we’re not putting ourselves in one lane – I’m just as excited and intrigued about the way the clothes are displayed as I am about clothes themselves. Say everything is online and retail is dead, but depending on how you display it, you can make somebody want to buy something for the experience, rather than just the item itself.”

On working with Golden Goose Deluxe Brand in Venice...
“It was amazing working with Golden Goose Deluxe Brand. We had pitched a few ideas and they settled on one which was flooding this amazing building that used to be a church with water. We filmed a guerrilla style street video where a sledgehammer is used to destroy a concrete a five-point star, and we also filmed people walking on water and carrying a mirrored glass cube. It was exciting for us, a mixing of worlds; GGDB is fashion, and the biennial was about architecture, so that was super intriguing to us.”

On finding pleasure in physically demanding projects...
“I’m enjoying working on projects by which, at the end of the day, you’re physically exhausted. We did these concrete tanks in Miami for Art Basel, titled CAUTION. Every time we do anything with those tanks, it takes at least a week and we’re all looking at each other like we’re going to pass out. But at this point, that’s the process needed to create something special.”

On what makes New York so unique...
“There’s just an energy and everyday grind around New York City. We’re also lucky enough that a few of us are from further out in Long Island, which is more of a beach town, so we’ve been exposed to two worlds. Downtown Manhattan and Soho and Supreme and sneaker culture and hip-hop, and all the stuff that goes along with Manhattan – but also being able to go to Long Island and surf. Being able to go between those two worlds and enjoy them is what is amazing about New York.”