Just as smartphones have altered the pace of human life, technology’s forever-sprint has wrought change in the worlds of music and fashion. You can build an entire symphony with a few clicks of the mouse and no traditional instrument in sight. Synthetic, technical fabrics can create the futuristic feeling of blasting straight into space, without your feet ever leaving the ground. These advancements can feel unsettling, so they prompt a desire to return to nature. And there’s a beauty to that, whether it’s in repurposing existing materials or building a future through old-fashioned community.
Kelsey Lu is a cellist and singer known for her soul-charged bellows and grounding melodies. Her friend Pierre Davis is the mastermind behind the gender-defying clothing brand No Sesso, which weaves together fabrics new and old of varying textures, colors, and shapes to create eye-catching, collage-like pieces for everyone. On a phone call from Los Angeles, the two pals and collaborators shared their visions of a future Earth, how art factors into that image, and how they’ve each found their own homes on this planet through art.
KELSEY LU: Nature, and the importance of its conservation, is my biggest inspiration. The natural world — the earth, the plants, the things that we have around us — is definitely, for me, a starting point. How emotional it is and how much our emotions are in tune to what is around us — it holds so much history. It’s impossible for us not to feel it. When I was little, what I loved to do was be on the ground, out in nature. I always see it as a center place for me to come back to.
PIERRE DAVIS: I love the ocean. That’s where I feel the most connected, and it’s always been that way. It’s very true what Lu was saying about how the way you feel is always in tune with what’s going on around you. One No Sesso collection was all inspired by trees, for example. I printed wood prints all over this really cool fabric, so everyone wearing them looked like wood sculptures. There’s always small touches of nature and earth in a lot of the pieces that I design.
A lot of my inspiration is post-apocalyptic, in a sense. If it was the end of the world, I would want to be in a pair of Nikes and something that’s really high-tech that I can use forever. I see the future of Earth being very black, very pro-black, lots of people coming together.
“You can’t have art without community.” — Kelsey Lu
LU: The future of Earth that I would like to see is one of transformation and progression — consciously, socially, racially. Earth is on a steady decline, environmentally speaking. I see things heading toward a sci-fi kind of Earth. The air is going to be so polluted that we’re all going to have to walk around in air bubbles, or really fashionable bubble domes. I don’t know, I want to hope for a better future than the one that’s here now. I’d like to see more space art — more art in space. More virtual realities, more digital art.
PIERRE: In the fashion world, I see a lot of people starting to use different sustainable materials — lots of repurposing denim, repurposing cotton. There are really cool T-shirt brands right now that use all vintage cotton. I guess it’s always been done, but it needs to be done a lot more.
There are so many older forms of art that are now becoming lost practices because not everyone uses all these media anymore. When I think about art in the future, [I think about] having to figure out how to use older resources again, because the future is also [going to be] about having to go back and depend on Mother Nature.
LU: I think that that’s kind of always been the case in music; things always come back around full circle, in a way. I don’t believe that there is a future without physical instruments, or that everything will be digital — that’s not the future of music that I want to see. I think that it will come back around. Vinyl is kind of making its way back into a mainstream as an ideal way of listening to music.
PIERRE: No Sesso is always collaborating with other artists and like-minded people in our community, building a really cool platform for friends and people who are not the ideal fashion standards in terms of what the industry says people should look like.
Fashion and music go really well together. A lot of the musicians that I like to collaborate with, nine times out of ten I’m listening to their music in the background while I’m working. So it’s just like designing for that person in a sense.
LU: When I was going on my own path of finding out what makes me, my drive and everything was based off of community. The process was freeing. Having a community, you’re not always going to get along or agree on the same things, but that’s important to how you’re thinking and playing. That’s one of the things I love about No Sesso so much — it is a collective of beautiful people that are connecting to other people outside.
Earth is going to be like a dive bar, or a dive venue, and everything else is going to be happening in space. We’ll be like, “Oh yeah, I’m going to Venus to do a show. I’ll meet you at Mars.” Music is community. Music brings people together, fashion brings people together. You can’t have art without community. All of it is invaluable.