we talk to designer liz olko about spring ’13.

by ray siegel

Obesity and Speed is a New York based line and to say that it does a fine job of encapsulating the vibe of the city's downtown inhabitants would be an understatement. Designer Liz Olko was among the first to recognize the need for a line that caters to a different kind of customer—one that wouldn't think twice about checking out Rick Owens at Barney's and picking up a pair of snakeskin pants at St. Marks Place in the same day. It couldn't be more our style.

This season's lookbook called to us and it's not just because there were so many familiar faces—Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells who has of course graced the pages of NYLON and writer Noah Wunsch who has contributed to girls and NYLON Guys. The two suited up and took to the football field to capture Obesity and Speed's SS '13 line, which is their sportiest one yet. Again, that couldn't be more our style. We caught up with Olko so she could tell us more about it.

Where was this shot?

We shot the lookbook at a high school football field in Brooklyn. I was showing the photos of the location to my friend Robert Nethery, who photographed it. When I was explaining the collection to him he stopped me mid-sentence saying he had the perfect location in mind and he was right! I can't believe something so amazing and suburban-feeling was so close to us in the city. The football team in the lookbook had been playing a game while we were shooting. Post-game we asked if they would mind posing for a photo with our models. They were so cool. I'm also shooting a film based on the theme of the collection, which will be shot at a football field in my hometown in New Jersey.

What inspired you this season?

This season I was inspired by the eerie-ness that I felt while watching Friday Night Lights for the first time. It felt so darkly beautiful to me and had instilled a sense of foreboding. I had already been thinking about how Obesity and Speed could do athletic wear. The colors, tie dye and graphics were inspired by surf culture and old heritage styles: Old varsity and college logos, and old surf photos. I used new fabrics like athletic mesh and net, and for the first time used indigo dyeing and bleaching on recycled denim.

What specific references—be it art or music—influenced this collection?

I am hugely inspired by film and music. It's hard to say specifically who or what. My apartment is basically a huge library of books, records, and movies.

Tell me why you chose these two models?

Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells and my friend Noah Wunsch. Alexis and I are mutual fans of one another. In addition to being insanely beautiful she is beyond cool and really represents what the brand is and has become. She easily crosses over between the light side and the dark side as much as Obesity and Speed does. Noah is an actor and writer and a great friend of mine. He has modeled for obesity and speed before and is a great male representative for the brand.

What did you make an effort to change this season?

I think it's good to change it up and for the aesthetic to evolve. It's applying the old punk sensibility to current trends and also exploring other areas of interest of mine. In this case: athletics, surf, music, and a new use of color!

Has your customer changed since the line began?

Our audience has expanded greatly from when I first began the line, which is so amazing to me.  It's so cool that the line appeals to a punk kid and to a girl who is more likely to shop at Barney's than on St. Marks's Place. Also, the need was there for those who shop at both. As I have grown up, so has the line.

Have you changed?

When I first began the line it was very small; it started with one style of hand sewn appliqued sweatshirt. (The lace appliqued Misfits skull sweatshirt). Obviously the line has grown since then, which I'm really proud of. At first, I felt like I needed to adhere to one aesthetic or a singular way of thinking. As I grew up, so did the collection. I realized how much larger the scope of what I could do really was and began to try harder and aimed higher. I really tried new things...both in my life and with the line. The label also became a vehicle for other things: I made a zine, collaborated with artists that I admire, like Alexis Krauss, Othelo Gervacio (an illustrator and painter), and  Nicola Druker whom I work closely with for concept and graphic design. We've shot a film, and we're working on another one. 2012 has actually been a really insane year full of change and growth.

In case you missed it, here's another lookbook we love.