Talking with Passarella Founder, Danny Broddle
To coincide with the launch of our collaboration, we picked-up with Passarella founder Danny Broddle around the brand’s journey to date, what’s coming, and the infaant By Passarella hook-up:
Danny, what comes first: clothing, music, or art?
When I first started Passarella back in 2004 the various creative aspects were more separate, for example, for the first vinyl music releases the design house M/M Paris created our record sleeves. Over time the process has slowly merged into one. With each music release I’ll consider the artwork for the record sleeve, the design of which will then apply itself to the clothing collection in-hand. The artwork created may then end up being exhibited – exploring how the music might accompany the exhibition. And so on.
What inspired you to launch a clothing brand?
Breakdancing! Plain and simple. Everything I do stems from that. When I was 12, I used to attend a nightclub in Newcastle’s city centre. It allowed kids in on a Saturday evening and from there my interest in clothing, music and art began. It seemed only natural to want to start my own thing at some point. Initially it was really just for the enjoyment of the creative process, but then one thing leads to another and the next thing you know you’re having meeting in someone’s plush office.
Passarella has taken its exhibitions around the world. Is there an event that stands out for you?
An exhibition entitled Videodrome, created in collaboration with Penthouse magazine. This featured 16 artworks accompanied by a soundtrack created by me and the techno artist Perc. One of the key nights was in my hometown of Newcastle, UK. This was in conjunction with the retailer END Clothing.
The ‘Fantasy Scenes’ exhibitions also worked very well. These were 10 artworks featuring classic retro videogames from the industry’s golden era of the 1980’s. Each machine was sourced from collectors throughout Europe and North America, a process that took over 3 years to fully research and photograph. The backgrounds used were of my hometown, Whitley Bay, near Newcastle. One of the stand-out events for this was created with Le Bon Marche in Paris, but the artworks we’re also shown as far afield as Shanghai and Tokyo.
The brand has historically covered a lot of ground in-terms of themes for its prints, from Mickey Mouse to Penthouse Magazine, do you have a favourite?
I’m not sure which is my favourite. Maybe the first few ‘Fantasy Scenes’ vintage arcade machines, created in 2012, they were the first Passarella designs to use colour. Previously the artworks had always been black and white, so I wanted something that really popped out and represent a total departure from what we had done before.
The Passarella brand has used Organic fabrics since launching in 2004, but we have seen very little talk of it from you?
Originally, I imported all my fabric from Japan. The quality of which speaks for itself. Great quality fabric will last the test of time both in shape and in wear, no question about that.
Whilst I still import Japanese fabric for the jackets, more recently I’ve switched to organic UK made fabric for the sweatshirts and t-shirts.
You have collaborated previously with some big brands – which stand-out for you today?
The G-shock collab created in 2009 was a big success, I like to feel that part of the reason for this was learning about the Casio G-shock audience and understanding what they would be interested in, so when it came to creating a watch that held the Passarella design principles, it would also appeal to the G-shock consumer as well. So, when the 1000 units of the Passarella x G-shock watch launched it sold out straight away. Stores such as Colette, Selfridges and END Clothing carried the launch.
The Passarella x Penthouse ‘Videodrome’ collab is something I’m very proud of. Firstly, the artworks created didn’t contain any nudity, something I was very keen to avoid given the typical Penthouse market. The collaboration consisted of 16 large scale print artworks which were also sold as T-shirts and accompanied by a soundtrack created by me and the techno artist Perc. This soundtrack was available as a vinyl record which was sold at the exhibitions in London, Newcastle, Amsterdam, Brussels and Copenhagen.
There are a lot of collaborations today in clothing – what made this project with infaant interesting for you to explore?
No question, there are a LOT of collaborations in clothing. So, it was super important to me that this was a project I felt had something of value in terms of a creative reward and appeal. Hopefully something people, both young and old, would be happy to see.
How was the process of translating the Passarella DNA to kids?
I’d never really thought of doing a Passarella children’s line before, but in the original discussions with Ryan at infaant, I felt this was going to be something uniquely creative and a challenge that I’d enjoy being part of.
In-general the design approach with Passarella is to create work that people are familiar with and then add a twist - Disney, magazines, landmarks and flags, videogames and so on. The challenge was in translating this to a kids range with an added element of the important social and environmental issues that are affecting the planet today.
Do you have a favourite print from the collection?
I think I’m going to go with the melting I Love New York and LA designs. Across the board I think all the designs with their various creative approaches; pencil, watercolour and digital-collage work really well, but these two 3D designs, I think, work really well and it’s a first for me to work with this medium.
What’s next for Passarella?
2022 is looking to be a busy and creative year for Passarella. For the first quarter, alongside the infaant by Passarella launch, we have the next collection of clothing - a new collection of sweatshirts has just been released, more T-shirts, jackets and tailoring will soon follow. On the music front we have the 2nd, and long overdue, Passarella Death Squad album to release. The first being released back in 2010.
There are also some new ‘Fantasy Scene’ arcade machine artworks coming out, this time the backgrounds used will be in locations from around the UK, with London and Bristol up next. Further afield, New York City is also in progress.
Lastly, there’s the second issue of the newly launched RA!SE to come out. RAISE is a publication that aims to raise awareness on human rights and other such issues with all profits being donated to charitable causes, The Trussell Trust food bank charity for example.
Myself and Ryan are also starting work on the next infaant by Passarella collection for later this year, which is stepping things up again.
Thanks Danny x
Shop the infaant by Passarella collection here.
Explore the Passarella brand and their collections via the brands website here.