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August Getty TINITUS Interpreted by Ellen von Unwerth

August Getty, one of the hottest fashion designers to come out of US unveils ‘TINITUS,' a collection of fifteen exquisite and poetic designs, following the March prelude of the world's first digitalized couture looks created in collaboration with the Institute of Digital Fashion. Four virtual garments set in a utopian landscape as an immersive web experience that referenced Arthurian legend, English mythology, and spiritual iconography. This one-of-a-kind digital prelude served as a bridge to the collection's physical realm, with the final reveal captured by renowned artist and photographer Ellen von Unwerth. August Getty is a visual storyteller with a poetic sensitivity to the world that surrounds him. His comprehensive touch to fashion draws us into his universe of mythological femininity and masculinity without limits. We were happy to take a moment with August Getty to get an insight into his creative mind.

IRK: Your latest collection TINITUS is a virtual extravaganza. Can you tell us more about this creative collaboration with London’s Institute of Digital Fashion?

August Getty: The collaboration was a beautiful amalgamation of art, friendship, patience, and understanding. It is something that I haven't quite experienced before and am so grateful that they let me into their world of digital expression. I was able to expand my own artistic mind into their world. The knowledge that I have learned is something that I will constantly use as a tool on my belt for many years and many collections to come.

IRK: Your couture collections have such a vision and flair. How do you draw inspiration? And how do you create your moodboards?

August Getty: It's quite simple where I draw inspiration from. I listen to HER. I listen to the voices around me. I pay attention to my hand at work. I pay attention to my eyes when they see things that pique my interest. I pay attention to the birds that sing. Most importantly, I take my time at the end of every collection to mourn my past collection like a death and then that is when I allow myself to be an empty vessel for inspiration to find me and fill my cup up with.

Designer August Getty transcends the limits of fashion and technology with a virtual coutureprelude produced in collaboration with the Institute of Digital Fashion

IRK: This digital ecosystem aloud you to feature your collection on diverse body types and identities. How revolutionary and liberating! Can you tell us more about this and will this continue to change who you design for in reality?

August Getty: Since I came out as non-binary last year, it has opened my eyes, as well as my creative carafe. My trans brothers and trans sisters, nonbinary siblings, men and women of every shape size, color, and culture, will forever be a continuation of my right arm. We will always be present in every future collection that I will ever do.

TINITUS' by August Getty Atelier photographer Ellen von Unwerth

IRK: Ellen von Unwerth shot your collection. How was it to work with her?

August Getty: Working with photographer Ellen Von Unwerth was a remarkable experience, one that I quite simply will never forget. She saw the models as I saw them which was intrinsically beautiful, full of life, and full of vibrato. In fact, I took Ellen to my friends' drag show in South Beach at The Palace, and she watched many of our models perform. The look in her eyes when she watched them perform was something that I will never forget. She couldn't stop smiling. She couldn't stop cheering. We knew they had to be a part of the shoot. And that is one thing that we wanted to evoke with the patrons who would be wearing TINITUS. We wanted to create a room that was filled with energy, filled with laughter, and filled with love. We are two peas in a pod. She pushed my boundaries, and I pushed hers. It is a friendship made for life.

IRK: Did you give Ellen von Unwerth Carte Blanche or did you direct her to your vision?

August Getty: When working with a creative, it’s an incredibly collaborative process on both sides. We went back-and-forth with many moodboards, ideas, and thoughts, but ultimately you trust them because they’re also taking a piece of their soul. Ellen worked her magic! TINITUS at its core has always been about our, the people's, work. It's always been for you. So how could I ever micromanage, redirect, or change someone's artistic vision when it came to the land that we created? TINITUS is a secular experience with no denomination, just artists coming together.

IRK: You included a diverse range of people in the shoot which reflects the virtual TINITUS. How did you or Ellen von Unwerth select this cast of beautiful people?

August Getty: The casting process was so easy and natural. Ellen and I wanted the shoot to evoke personality and passion, so we selected a diverse cast who embodied this. The dynamic cast consists of people who inspire me. There was an intrinsic, symbiotic bond that each model had with each particular garment, because baby when it's right, it's right. I made sure each model felt comfortable at home and beautiful. We made sure each model understood the meaning of TINITUS, and quite interestingly enough, one of the models Alyona opened up my very first fashion show at New York Fashion Week. It was a beautiful family reunion, and my best friends and my family were all there. I remember my brother Nats cheering on the sidelines for his wife Gigi while it was her turn to shoot, along with my best friends from Miami who were so excited but so scared because it was their first shoot ever. I promised everything would be ok, and TINITUS lead the way.

IRK: Your sister-in-law Gigi Gorgeous is featured in your new collection. How is it to design for a family member?

August Getty: Creating TINITUS and designing for a family member are two very different things. TINITUS is something that I built for everyone. Working with a family member though is one of my greatest joys and pleasures. Gigi helps me see what it is to be a woman, and I in turn help her see what it is like being an artist. Both are met with an extreme amount of trust, faith, and honesty. We always inspire and support each other, and we would never steer each other wrong. My brother Nats has always taught me to be unabashedly shameless in your creativity and to take no prisoners in your art. If we're scaring people, then we're doing a damn good job. He is a polarizing figure in my life and an idol in my eyes, and he will forever be my first muse.

IRK: We are big fans of your work here at IRK Magazine and have featured your designs in our editorials several times. We especially like your reference to armored Victorian gowns which we see again in this new collection. Our favorite piece is the hand-molded burgundy Nappa Cavallo leather piece called Vibration XII. The round shapes are exquisite. Can you tell us why you often go back in time to find your inspiration?

August Getty: I especially wanted to "go back in time" with this collection because TINITUS feels like a space that has always been timeless. I want others to feel that we have been there before—leaving remnants, a trail, Hansel & Gretel's breadcrumbs from a former life. I was inspired by old English mythology and referencing that centuries ago people had been to TINITUS and that we've all been to TINTITUS. It is an ongoing vibration that will never die. It is not a myth or a legend, but instead, it holds reference to all our myths and legends, similar to a library. It is our encyclopedia of past humanity.

TINITUS' by August Getty Atelier photographer Ellen von Unwerth

IRK: You started creating fashion at a very young age opening your brand at age 18. Who or what drew you to fashion? did you always know you wanted to be a designer?

August Getty: Similar to my left arm, my liver, and my right big toe, fashion is woven within my DNA. It has never been a choice, and it has never been an option. It is something that I was intrinsically born to do. The inspiration to act on this though came from my mother who raised me in a safe community of art and family. I remember creating dresses for my Barbie dolls at the age of 4, using her old shoe garments and creating dresses made from scarves. She created our home to be a safe learning space for myself and my art and that's how I chose the path that I lead. But don't get me wrong, if this whole designing thing doesn't work out, I'm opening up a tanning studio.

IRK: You are a strong supporter of LGBTQI rights. We so admire your dedication to helping others. Can you tell us an inspiring story about how you have made a difference to this community? What is the charity most personal to you?

August Getty: The work that I do is solely for the purpose of making people feel at home, at peace, and in love with who they are at their core. I've had many experiences with those who have thanked and accoladed my work to their personal journey in life, all of which will remain private to me. I cherish and hold each one of those stories in my heart.

IRK: You dress some huge icons including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Zendaya, Gigi Hadid, and sister-in-law Gigi Gorgeous, among many others. Who was the first celebrity you collaborated with?

August Getty: It was my 3rd collection titled "Thread of Man." It was the fashion show I birthed with David LaChapelle, and Jennifer Lopez was the first celebrity client I dressed.

IRK: We love the nuances of Golden Hollywood in your collections, who were your favorite film stars of that time?

August Getty: Rudolph Valentino, Natacha Rambova, Marilyn Monroe, and Sophia Loren. They are a huge inspiration to my life, especially as a child from Los Angeles with an Italian mother and understanding the enigmatic beauty of what a woman is instead of what men think a woman should be.

IRK: Are you already creating the next collection in your head?

August Getty:I have a rolodex of collections ready to get the green light from my team. Many of these collections will eventually transform and evolve into something quite different. I always think it is important to honor your “creative vomit.” Spend 10 minutes metaphorically throwing up your creativity. Let it all out of your system. Vomit as much art as you can, and then in time, go back and honor your craft. Refine your ideas. That is where your artistic integrity will be born.

Designer August Getty transcends the limits of fashion and technology with a virtual coutureprelude produced in collaboration with the Institute of Digital Fashion

IRK: How do you see the future of fashion? What is the future of fashion for you?

August Getty: The future of fashion is a scary concept for me to think about. Once my fashion leaves my body and my paper, it is no longer mine. Instead, it is for you, and the reaction that I have is because of the person who is wearing my garment. I am unsure of the future. All I know is that my journey is to make everyone—women, men, nonbinary and people in-and-out of the binary code—feel beautiful and share my stories with them. I consider myself a storyteller, and better yet, a couturier.

IRK: What advice do you give for young aspiring designers, stylists and the fashion community?

August Getty: The advice that I have for any aspiring artist or creative is that there must be a passion for discipline. There is a lifetime of hard work, emotional distress, and a heartachingly commitment to the craft that we lead. Build around you a safety net of friends, family, and a safe environment to catch you when you fall. Don’t fear rejection because it's not about how many times you get told “no,” but about how you channel that into your art. Your collection will show people who you are. Just remember that your worth starts with you, and I love you.


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