Daniel La Forest and Guilt
Photography by Diego Palma
What is Guilt and who is Daniel La Forest?
It’s a “business” I guess. We started years ago just to have a medium to say what we wanted. It sputtered on and off for a bit, but I’m happy to say this past year has been good for regaining focus after a hiatus. It’s kinda like a baby that’s just grown enough to say whatever it wants now (with no filter). Shifting away from comfort. We’re doing things that are designed to fail within a given system, sensitive to its initial state and linear in its growth. There has got to be some chaos. That’s like a big holistic view. But really, in its current state, we’re riding a satirical line between the absurdity of our every day and the joyfulness of our youth. We have no problem saying things that might piss people off, just don't fucking buy it. Initially, it was about printing t-shirts and making things based on what used to surround and inspire me growing up. That all felt a little regular after a bit. During a break in time, I really focused on being immersed in the world around me. I took in some of the things I grew up seeing and then caught up and saw where they had gone to. I was going a little stir crazy but couldn’t really deal with producing work that felt stale and without thought or love.
I’m 24. Which is also my lucky number.
I like to call myself a commercial artist. Or like contemporary commercial life artist. I like long walks listening to Burial in the rain. And want to hold onto the spirit of being a kid, but with the perspective and voice of some crusted curmudgeon. I also enjoy thinking about the sustainability of our regimented western civilization on a cultural and literal level. I work as a mover too but consider myself professionally unemployed.
I use my work as a medium for what I want to say and do. It’ll never be the same and is in a constant evolution just as we all are. The break I took from the brand and production, or really anything, was a weird long few years. Looking back it seems like it was an important time for personal growth and understanding. I used to walk around with my camera and just end up hanging out with strangers I’d meet in the streets. It was a period of learning and loving which made me hate everything I was making since it felt meaningless and bleak. It gave me time to develop opinions and more of a voice to use the platform created years ago. All that to say is, opening myself up to the world was key and is still part of an everyday routine. You just gotta love and embrace things as they come and expect NOTHING. In a good way.
Where does the name Guilt come from?
Initially, it was based on the context of the emotion growing up. By now the scene we grew up in was something we should be ashamed or punished for and a bit in its confusion of an emotion before understanding it.
It’s developed into a feeling of developing into a fuller person. If you don’t feel remorse and can never fault yourself, how do you develop? Guilt is something that leads to remorse. You can’t rationalize your actions based on someone else, nor can you blame them. It’s a bit of just an effort to be self-aware and to point out things we feel people should be aware of or creating a bit of a discourse on. It won’t be on a silver plate but the food is there for you to take.
You recently put out your first lookbook. What was the process behind that and how do you feel it went overall?
I think it felt like time to take a step back and just make it happen. Get people you know and are comfortable with and just run with it. A lot of the brand is centered on being casual and unapologetic, part of that is just being yourself and having fun. These are real people, big thanks to Tamia and Cassius for your help! Diego took lead on this one and I just kinda helped and watched it happen. So happy to have such a good team that wanna see this pop. Quickly going back to the lookbook… you wanna feel part of it like a fly on the wall, that’s what we’re going for. So stoked on how it turned out and looking forward to many more in the future.
Undeniably there is an over-saturation in the fashion world whether its streetwear brands or higher end fashion brands; what is the mindset at Guilt knowing that there are so many competitors out there?
It’s fun, over-saturation forces you to dilute yourself or to bump it all the way up. What’s the point of being flash in the pan and burning out as trends change? Seeing fashion brands trying to emulate streetwear is a funny thing, It’s very telling of what the trend is. Fundamentally fashion follows trends, with streetwear being the current trend, it is all too easy. There’s no sustainability with this direction, no connection to any roots or even slightly history. It’s just gonna burn out as things change. You gotta think there’s a reason companies are being brought up by larger companies and entities. This is all a trend.
On the flip of that, streetwear emulating high fashion just feels lost to me. Like the death of the brand. Fashion does not mean quality. I think we’ll stay in our lane and just stick to what we know.
Collaborations are very interesting right now with them being so frequent amongst the top brands from all genres of fashion. Where on the spectrum do you find Guilt when it comes to wanting to work with others in the industry?
Not interested in collaboration. I don’t see many in the future unless they’re something special and genuine (being something that just feels right), gotta get off the ground first. I want it to just stand alone, you can’t be telling your consumers you need to ride out with another brands creativity. I feel like that’s a major part of the saturation of the market as well. It seems like everything is leaning on itself and will eventually collapse. It’s all quantity over quality.
Also in relation to being in the shops. As much as I admire those who own them, it’s hard trying to make the most relevant products available while having orders filled 12 months in advance. I’d like to be able to work with a few shops but it would need to be a special relationship. The attention span in the industry is whack. That being said I do really want to get Guilt into some shops but I’m not throwing bait out for just anyone.
What kind of things are you planning for Guilt this year?
Our first full “collection". Like, multiple pieces that go together over a “season”.
Some pop-ups and parties.
A musical release or two.
Maybe a gold limousine.
Just fun stuff.