Of the many forms 0f artistic expression through which creatives experiment with gender, fashion remains one of the most exciting. Los Angeles couple Everett Williams (he/him) and Nicholas Scarpinato (he/him) are two such experimenters, who time and again invite us into their world where the subversive and divergent meet in style. Everett is in charge of the creative direction, and Nicholas is in charge of photography. Together, they capture a surreal world free of gender constraints.
The creative couple work with some of the largest names in fashion–such as Mugler, Versace, and Jean Paul Gaultier, to name a few. Together, they’re helping these brands push the limits of gendered clothing. It’s a project of passion with the end goal being a fashion industry free of gendered norms and constraints.
INTO: There’s undeniable surrealism in your guys’ creations. Where does that come from? What inspires the unique and often abstract nature of your projects?
Everett Williams and Nicholas Scarpinato: We are both so inspired by each other, honestly. We are huge inspirations for each other. We are constantly collaborating or bouncing ideas off the other, whether about creativity, the world, or life. When we work together, our ideas only get stronger. Apart from that, we are most inspired by the world around us. We are big on experience, and we are constantly searching for something to make us think and wonder. We make it a point to find inspiration daily, whether through music, books, museums, parks, bike rides, or traveling.
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How does your artistic vision bleed into your fashion sense and the outfits you guys put together?
Everett: Our artist vision is entirely connected to our fashion sense. Nicholas loves a colorful, nostalgic-feeling outfit. Sometimes he’ll come out of the closet and you just don’t know what you’re going to get. I love that so much about him and his personality. For me, I really lean into costuming for photoshoots, which has allowed me to create some incredibly unique looks. What ideas I come up with for a photoshoot inevitably are taken out into the world—a night out with friends, a party, a red carpet. My sense of playing with clothing for shoots has really transformed how I dress in the real world, and that makes me so happy!
Everett, I think many would describe your work as sumptuous, and Nicholas, yours is often very whimsical. In what ways are your styles and art manifestations of your identities?
Everett: Our identities on camera reflect our personalities perfectly. Nicholas goes with the flow. Nothing causes him stress. He is just happy all the time, and I think that really comes out in his work.
Nicholas: Everett is very clean-cut, organized, and given to multitasking. He can watch a video about anything and fully conquer that skill by the next day. I don’t get it. From conception to final edits, we really try to allow each other to make their mark on each other’s work. It’s taught us a lot about trusting one another. One person doesn’t always have all the answers.
Both of you experience clothing from some of the most famous designers in the world. It must make you guys very particular about the clothing that you keep. So when it comes to the clothing you own, what qualities are worth looking out for?
When we buy clothing or decide to keep clothing, we look for something unique. Something that inspires us, and something that we want to keep until the day we die. Both of us are very inspired by the past. We both love vintage clothing because it has a story: Another person had a full life in the piece. We look for the same in new items. Will this piece live on, and will it continue to inspire others later? Ultimately, we’re trying to build a creative archive.
@everettwilliams My favorite color is clearly green! #fashion #outfits #nanushka #balenciaga ♬ As It Was – Harry Styles
You guys are masters at incorporating bold colors, prints, and layering. Are there any fashion hacks or tips that you can share with our readership?
The best fashion item you can ever wear is confidence. You have to feel good in what you’re in. Explore, try new things, and see what you like or what intrigues you. Don’t think about what others will think or say. If you’re wearing confidence, no one will look better than you in the room. When it comes to assembling a look, think about how color and prints complement one another.
Layering can also be so fun because you can take one piece and completely change how it looks. For example, right now I am obsessed with wearing lightweight, skin-tight, long-sleeved turtlenecks underneath oversized t-shirts. It completely changes the way both pieces look and elevates the overall look tremendously. Just have fun, try new things, and be confident.
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What are the boundaries in fashion that you feel we still haven’t pushed? What do we have yet to challenge?
I think we both agree that boundaries in gender need to be pushed a little—or a lot! I’m still shocked we are still separating clothing stores by gender or even size. It’s archaic. People are shopping in every section of the store today, and we should be encouraging people to shop where they want.
We have seen the norms of clothing change so much in just a few years. Working with big names like Versace, Mugler, and Lacoste, how have you seen brands respond to the topic of de-gendering clothing?
You can definitely see some brands opening up, which is exciting. It’s been really amazing working with Mugler, because their clothing approaches gender—genderlessness—in a very unique way. I’ve loved playing with all their runway pieces and creating amazing outfits from pieces first worn by women on the runway. As a brand, they’ve encouraged me to do that, and you can see how they’re pushing fashion in so many ways. At large, it’s an exciting time in the industry, since so many young designers are breaking archaic rules of gender in commercial fashion. I think we will see some incredible new brands over the next few years.
You both appear to live such rich lives with so much success and love. Is there any advice you have for young creatives that may be reading this?
The best advice we’ve ever received is “Don’t give up!” So many people want overnight success, but impatience ends in burnout and exhaustion. It’s much better to play the long game and learn to explore your craft. Work on growing as a creative, and keep thinking, making, and being inspired. Someone once said to me, “People don’t fail. They give up.” That statement has stuck with me forever. You can’t compare yourself to anything. You have to trust your creativity and vision.
Let the world play its part. Sometimes others will succeed before you, but your time is coming.♦