This story is part of Image issue 13, “Image Makers,” a celebration of the L.A. luminaries redefining the narrative possibilities of fashion. Read the whole issue here.
Every piece has a past, just like you. Every piece is one of one, just like you. So don’t wait for the next time to get the Last One Left.
My brand is 100% recycled; we take all the clothes secondhand, whether we get them from the thrifts or rag houses. If people donate them, we do that too. And then we rebrand and repurpose them. We do cut-and-sew reconstruction of clothes. We turn things that aren’t clothes, like blankets, into clothes. We screen print logos on top of the clothes, whether designs are already there or whether they’re blank.
Last November, I branded this Texaco gas station off this exit called Desert Center, Calif. I would pass the gas station all the time. The look of it attracted me, and then the name “Desert Center” is, like, the best. It’s one of the best places where I could put one of my installations because I grew up in a desert — I grew up in Arizona, where it is super-hot all the time. And this building was abandoned, so it was just a perfect canvas for the concept of the brand — taking something that is preexisting, has character and a visible past, and creating an attraction piece out of it.
The Desert Center capsule collection is centered around the look of Texaco. It features these washed-out green jackets and pants — Texaco workers back in the day wore those colors, the same green uniform. Other items are red, yellow and black to basically mimic the branding style of the Texaco. We made some hats for the first time — I took vintage Texaco hats and embroidered the branding on top. NASCAR is also a big influence on my creativity — with my car that I painted and the branding style and all of that — so part of it imitates Texaco NASCAR drivers.
There is no normalcy to the clothing artist Sonya Sombreuil makes. She is moving at her own speed.
We went out to Desert Center for the shoot. Most of the squad modeling the clothing were all there when I originally branded this Texaco gas station, whether they helped me work at the market, made things, or took photos or videos. The day of the shoot was 104 degrees. The AC hose of my car popped on the way. It was me and my dad in my car, windows down all the way there. Of course, I was flooring it because I couldn’t drive fast enough to create enough wind flow in the car to cool us down.
The building was totally covered in graffiti, but the branding on the sign was still intact. So we pulled the ladders out and climbed on top of the building. We got up there and took the shots. It took pain to do this, but we got some special shots. This is like one of my dreams come true.
Christopher M. Bailey, a.k.a. Chrisvsmyself (CM), is a Los Angeles-based audiovisual designer and living art piece made in the USA. The intention of his work is to make people view experiences, objects and even themselves differently. He is the creator of LAST ONE LEFT by 1-Off.
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