Fashion designers and multimedia visionaires, Vin & Omi, have collaborated with actress and singer Ruby Modine (daughter of Hollywood actor Matthew Modine), to help promote awareness of Asperger’s Syndrome – an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which causes restricted social and communication skills, and affects 68.3 million people across the world.
The result is a mesmerising and slightly trippy video entitled “Living In A Bubble”, directed by the pair, set to Ruby’s delicately beautiful vocals on her version of the Rolling Stones classic “As Tears Go By”, also released in 1964 by Marianne Faithfull.
|Still from ‘Living In A Bubble’ © Vin & Omi|
Omi is himself an Asperger’s sufferer, and spoke to me about how it affects his life as a designer.
“Autism and Asperger’s sufferers tend to obsess over things”, he explained. “For me, my obsession is fashion. It’s about knowing every little detail about how couture is created – the technique, the fabric, how many yards of fabric are needed – it all becomes an obsession, a need to be in control of every little thing, but that helps me to create, because I become immersed in the entire design process”.
Referring to the video’s title ‘Living In A Bubble’, Omi described how the syndrome has affected his ability to socialise, “I hide behind a façade. In 2004 when we first launched, every time we went out I used to wear a mask to hide behind, a mask of a sheep’s face, and I eventually became labelled as ‘the black sheep of fashion‘.
“People judge you so quickly in this industry, and I wanted to hide from everything. Now in my daily life I find comfort at home, in the pool or in my personal studio which I don’t let anyone into, and when I’m in there and it’s quiet, I become engrossed in fashion for 2 or 3 days in a row – it’s like my version of binge drinking! I get an absolute high from it.”
Discussing how the collaboration with Ruby came about, Omi told me, “When I first heard Ruby’s version of ‘As Tears Go By’, I listened to it for 3 weeks non-stop and every time I listened to it, I would cry. So I decided I wanted to communicate and explain who I am and why I’m the way I am, through music and visuals. I think lots of people who are creatives are quite fragile, and I wanted to find a way of making people aware of Asperger’s and maybe open up a discussion about it.”
Far from being the stereotypical Hollywood glamour-puss, rock ‘n’ roll edged Ruby has now become a muse for the design duo. “We love her look and vibe, she’s so Goth, and it works with our aesthetic. We’re now working on a few other projects with her which we’re really excited about”.
Premiering here exclusively, watch ‘Living In A Bubble’ below, and you can also read my upcoming interview with Vin & Omi exploring their signature scientific style, out next month on Districtmtv.com.