The collaboration titled It's All About You / It's Not About You will lend itself to a limited edition range of clothing items - a unisex line of hoodies, t-shirts and dresses. Inspired by Thomas' 2010 lenticular work It's All About You, the physical design process of the collection explored a variety of printing and garment techniques - in the same way Thomas' work does. There is printing on sheer fabric and a reverse print on the inside of a garment (a subtle nod to the brand's reverse cowboy T-shirt from their S/S 04 collection). No stranger to the idea of playing around with hidden messages, whether it be in art or fashion, Thomas is used to subverting the viewer's gaze through the power of art. 'Art has the power to shift people's perspective. My role as an artist is to wake people up, and I often use language as a tool to do this,' Thomas explained. In regards to playing with different people's perceptions and ideas, Thomas said of his collaboration with Helmut Lang: '(It's) an extension of my artistic practice, exploring advertising and the ubiquity of messaging.'
Referred to specifically as a collaboration rather than a 'creative partnership,' Helmut Lang stressed that this isn't about the commercial value but rather the seriousness of art itself; the power of thinking and doing, pushing people to look then look again, hoping to see something they were blind to before. However, we are talking about Helmut Lang of course, a brand famed for taking their collaborations as seriously as their design ethos. Thomas is no stranger to subliminal messaging, and Helmut Lang understands the power of collaboration. As fans of the brand will know, Helmut Lang have teamed up with an impressive list of artists over the years, including Carrie Mae Weems, Jeremy Deller, Josephine Meckseper and Paul Sepuya.
With a collection just as much dedicated to thinking and doing as it is to fashion, 15% of the proceeds will go to Incarceration Nations Network (INN), a think-tank that concentrates on innovative prison reform efforts around the world.