The fashion industry already adores him – his work has been seen in Italian Vogue, featuring Kate Moss – making Venezuelan-born, New York-based contemporary artist Harif Guzman one to watch. The painter’s debut fashion line, ‘Haculla’, brings his gritty aesthetic to a collection of urban essentials including crew-neck sweaters and hoodies featuring his signature characters. Already spotted on models as they run between fashion shows, this is the newest ‘in the know’ label to wear.

Words and Photography by HYPEBEAST

Spring Summer 2015

Named after his graffiti moniker, the collection boasts Guzman’s trademark “Dark Ages” characters across a selection of street-ready apparel. His signature style builds on old masters in classical art, and is vibrant and provocative in nature. With his New York studio rumoured to be Andy Warhol’s old hangout, Guzman talks about his transition into fashion.

Meet Haculla

Art Meets Fashion

LC: How did you develop your trademark Haculla tag?

HG: Haculla is a 16-year brand/identity development that started from the grassroots. I relate it to how a chef makes a good recipe. Taking his time to slowly pick out the best ingredients that give the best taste and flavour without forgetting the presentation. Experience, hard work, preparation and perseverance are all fundamental characteristics behind the development of the Haculla tag.

LC: What is it about classical art that appeals to you as an artist who started from graffiti?

HG: The essence of art is beauty and it speaks to everyone differently. In my opinion, classical art specifically draws out a romantic nostalgia due to the focus on the craft itself. In those times there was less technology to interfere with one’s work leaving one to produce more intimate work.

LC: What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced translating your art into fashion?

HG: The Haculla collection came to fruition with the help of designer Jon Koon of Tykoon Brands. I am an artist and my focus is to create art. For me, being an artist and illustrator comes natural through years of inspiration and knowing what I see works and doesn't. It seems that in fashion, the structure and responsibilities are totally different. To translate my vision into different fabrics and to apply it onto clothing is a whole other skill set, which is why I brought Jon Koon on board. His passion and understanding for garments, fashion design and attention to detail is unprecedented in my opinion.

LC: How has New York played a role in your aesthetic as an artist?

HG: New York is the ultimate teacher for me. To find the romance in living here means you have to learn to work with the positives and negative. To thrive in this environment takes determination - determined people make it. A true New Yorker will understand these words. The beauty is in the struggle. This city has an effect on anyone’s work no matter what their skill set may be, it will definitely sharpen and refine your outlook: forcing one's mind to stay open to new ideas and to innovate.

LC: What are the hero pieces of the Haculla line?

HG: For the first season, the standout pieces of the Haculla collection would have to be the printed Hoodie and the Crew Necks with Chenille appliqué characters artwork. All the characters found on these designs represent over a decade of work and an evolution of my life in New York, both good and bad. You can’t fake this honest disposition.

Shop the Collection


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