From the moment Christopher Kane launched his first More Joy collection last summer, I was hooked. As the simple, statement-emblazoned items began infiltrating my Instagram feed – a T-shirt here, a beach towel there, the odd paper fan dotted throughout – I, like legions of others, began to shop. And reader: I never stopped.
As Kane’s collection grew, so too did the amount of items I owned: a ‘Sex’ fan was placed inside a ‘Special’ tote bag, morning coffee was drunk from a ‘More Joy’ mug, and a succession of stickers were used to zhuzh up my ancient laptop and battered suitcase. Essentially, I began living out my truth as a regional hun from my northern hometown, Live, Laugh, Love wall decals and scatter cushions replaced with Kane’s infinitely sexier motto.
When Christmas rolled around, I wrapped my presents in the collection’s logo-stamped wrapping paper with logo-stamped tape, used the ‘More Joy’ stencil and snow spray to decorate my windows, and hung all three of the offering’s shiny red, white, and black baubles from my tree (until one fell from a branch and scattered sharp pieces of porcelain across my living room floor, at which point my joy became significantly less).
More recently, being surrounded by More Joy merch took on a deeper meaning, becoming part of an early lockdown ritual that saw me sit down at my makeshift desk to write friends and loved ones letters in the collection’s notecards, as I sought to forget what was happening in the outside world for a few minutes – hoping that, perhaps, an envelope dropping through their door and onto the mat might do the same for them. Were money no object, it’s highly likely I’d have been wrapped in a warm woollen blanket also bearing Kane’s happy mantra while I was doing it.
I’m by no means alone in my love of More Joy, though. A quick scroll through the line’s dedicated Instagram – which has grown exponentially through follower submissions – and you’ll see a whole community of people united by the its overarching message of happiness, which, right now, feels more poignant than ever. From friends sprawled out on signature beach towels and smiling up at the camera on socially distanced picnics, to the two guys photographed kissing at London’s Black Trans Lives Matter march, which took place in lieu of 2020’s Pride Parade, “More Joy is a lovely feeling,” as Kane himself puts it, and seemingly, we’re all lining up for our fix.
Coming this week, conveniently, is another joyous fix, as More Joy drops its next summer collection. On the line-up this time around are more of the same – new iterations of its classic paper fans, a sporty, sun-blocking visor, a phone case – as well as a series of new and wholly covetable items including boxy bowling shirts, swimsuits and trunks, water bottles, cardholders, and the pièce de résistance: a trio of deckchairs stamped with the line’s three mottos.
In celebration of its launch, I caught up with Christopher and Tammy Kane to discuss the new offering, what ‘More Joy’ means to them, and why its message feels more necessary than ever right now.
Emma Elizabeth Davidson: Hey Christopher and Tammy! How are you both?
Christopher Kane: We’re good, we’re back in the studio. We’ve been in and out over the last few weeks, but it’s nice to be back at work. It’s just nice to get out of the house isn’t it?!
Tammy Kane: Yeah it was lovely to come back, just being back here and being like: “Ah, this is what we do for a living”. It refreshes your energy.
EED: Are you feeling creative?
TK: Hmmm … yes and no!
CK: The last few months have been quite bewildering, but we foresee a little bit of light and hope for the future. It’s still quite a scary situation, you know, it’s hard when you’re in your home or you’re sitting at your desk, it’s not the same as being at work and it’s hard to be creative. But on and off, it kind of comes in waves.
EED: The new More Joy collection looks great. How did you decide what to add, do you have a long list and you’re ticking things off?
TK: We definitely have a long list, but we go through that very carefully and just think about what we would like to wear. It started with T-shirts and then we did the fans and towels for summer, for the beach. This time around it felt really appropriate to go into swim.
CK: Obviously we didn’t see Covid coming, but as you can see on social media people are having at-home holidays in their back gardens or escaping to the countryside. A swimsuit you can wear wherever – so yeah, swim was really important to this one.
“When you think of the word ‘joy’ we looked back to our Catholic upbringing and these religious connotations, but there’s also everyday joy, and feeling good – it’s like a daily mantra that we’ve always approached our work with. More than ever we need joy in our lives” – Christopher Kane
EED: Do you have a favourite piece from the new collection?
TK: I really love the little throw-on shirt.
CK: I live in shorts all summer so the black More Joy shorts are the one for me, they’re just easy and quite masculine, although girls could definitely wear them too. They’re just easy pieces for every day and I think that’s what’s really good about More Joy, which is good right now really because we’re not really going anywhere are we? We’re just lounging about in our houses or our garden. And it’s got this nice positive message which I think we really need at the moment.
EED: The More Joy Instagram is made up almost entirely of user submissions and has become this actually quite significant community. Why do you think it’s taken off in such a big way, and why do people love it so much?
TK: The Instagram’s actually not been going for that long, so it’s lovely to see it organically take shape.
CK: When you think of the word ‘joy’ we looked back to our Catholic upbringing and these religious connotations, but there’s also everyday joy, and feeling good – it’s like a daily mantra that we’ve always approached our work with. More than ever we need joy in our lives, and in the face of Covid I think it became more apparent than ever how important it is to cherish life – which I know sounds really cheesy but it’s true.
TK: It started as a fashion thing but it became much deeper than that – it’s like a reminder that there’s more joy to be had if you just keep going.
CK: I was actually just sat at my computer earlier reading about what’s happening in Poland and their president, who’s really anti-homosexual, and it was making my stomach turn that they’re at the mercy of this dictator. And then I was thinking about our Instagram, and we really have this broad community that brings together people from every demographic and culture. We didn’t reach out to them, but there are all these people from the transgender community, the gay community, the Black community, the Asian community … All these different people felt this gravitational pull to what we’re doing, and I’m really proud of that.
EED: What’s the next thing you’d like to add the collection?
TK: Oh, that would be telling.
CK: Maybe a More Joy yacht? Or a private jet? Anything that would take us out of London for the moment would be great. But seriously, the hotlist changes every day because we don’t want to create stuff for the sake of just creating, we want to create stuff that can be used and used and used again. The fashion industry’s being turned upside-down with more stuff every day and we don’t want to do that with this. We go by our instinct to be honest, so who knows what’ll come up next. Maybe we’ll do a bigger vibrator? It sold out, but loads of people came back and said ‘Oh I thought it was bigger! It’s quite small but it works, but we want bigger ones’, so that could be something to think about [laughs].
EED: Tell me a little about the campaign …
CK: It was actually shot in Poland by a photographer who went out to the countryside on a road trip. It looks like a lot of fun and again, feels quite relevant right now because people are doing the same here, heading off camping, having staycations in the garden and so on.
EED: OK, taking things in another direction. When I was in college I remember flicking through a magazine and seeing some uber-glam photos of one of your Burns Night parties and thinking ‘I’ll know I’ve made it in fashion when I get invited to one of those’. What was your weirdest ‘I’ve made it’ moment?
CK: It’s weird because there’s so many things that have happened, but I suppose meeting Donatella (Versace) for the first time gobsmacked backstage at one of her shows. Like, she’s just sat having her hair and make-up done and I’m sat on the sofa not long out of college with an icon, a legend. It’s just unreal the things that have happened to Tammy and I, but actually we’ve always felt like outsiders so we’ve never really been that bothered by things like that.
TK: I think we’re quite grounded and you know, when you meet someone you’re quite excited about meeting you quickly realise they’re just a normal person.
CK: Actually though, the Met Ball is always a really surreal moment. I’ll be in bathroom at the urinal and some massive star will come up alongside you totally casually and you’re just like ‘What the fuck!’ There’s been a few times there I’ve felt like I needed to pinch myself.
“Now, more than ever, I think we need to be more creative, not just in what we’re making but in finding solutions for issues. But we don’t want to look at anyone else, we just want to focus on us” – Christopher Kane
EED: I actually used to get told off all the time for reading those magazines in college and not doing the work I was supposed to be doing. What did you get in trouble for at school, or what did your report card say?
CK: I’m gonna be really honest: I was a teacher’s pet [laughs]. I liked school, especially subjects like art so I’d try really hard to impress my art teacher more and more. I suppose I knew where I wanted to go and that I needed to get out of Scotland so I worked really hard. I don’t know really, what was I told off for?
TK: You were told off for drawing naked ladies when you were really young! I was quite good too, but probably got the odd telling off for wearing too-short skirts.
EED: Earlier this year, you launched the More Joy Sex book store and you’ve been recommending sexy books and films on the Instagram throughout lockdown. What’s your favourite sex scene in a movie or novel and why?
CK: That is a hard question, there’s so many. Have you ever seen the film The Wanderers? There’s that scene where they’re playing strip poker and Ken Wahl’s eyeing up the girl and I thought that was really sexy, you know it was quite youthful and had this kind of 60s coming-of-age adolescent feel to it. But then in a totally different way I’d also say Rita, Sue, and Bob Too, now that is one of the funniest films ever. You know, it’s common as muck and the sex scenes in that are so vulgar but actually so true to life in a way, it’s like clumsy and funny.
TK: Yeah I’d agree with Christopher on The Wanderers, it’s been a constant source of joy to us – Ken Wahl is basically our pin-up and the music is just divine in it. What else? Oh God, I mean it’s so cheesy but you can’t beat Dirty Dancing can you?
CK: Oh yeah. Actually, growing up we were really lucky to have our Auntie Sandra who used to let us watch all sorts we weren’t usually allowed to on a Friday night – we’d be sat up watching The Word and Eurotrash on Channel 4.
ED: The fashion industry is in a bit of crisis at the moment. What about the industry brings you joy, and what makes you feel hopeful for the future?
TK: That’s easy, it’s creativity and having the freedom to create.
CK: Exactly, and that’ll never go away. Now, more than ever, I think we need to be more creative, not just in what we’re making but in finding solutions for issues. But we don’t want to look at anyone else, we just want to focus on us. In terms of the changes in the industry, I feel positive about the future; these conversations that are happening and actions being taken. It feels like it’s moving in the right direction.
ED: It’s actually just been announced that London Fashion Week will go ahead in September. Will you be showing?
CK: Well, we’re sitting in our studio and we’ve got nothing on the wall and our supply chain has been affected so I’m not sure. I actually feel like it’s better to be low-key because there are so many other things happening right now that are more important. But we’ll see.
ED: OK, last question. This is potentially going to make me sound like a crazed stalker, but I’m considering getting a very tiny ‘More Joy’ tattoo somewhere. Do you condone this, would you sue me, or do you think it’s a terrible idea?
TK: Oh go for it!
CK: Where are you going to get it?
ED: I don’t know, I think behind my elbow.
CK: Oh sweet, yeah I like it, it’s a bit cheeky. Yeah just do it – life’s too short isn’t it? If you want a More Joy tattoo just get one.
TK: And make sure you send us a photo!
The More Joy Summer collection is available now at christopherkane.com.