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Artist Joe Cruz for Whistles

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Browsing through Joe Cruz’s illustrations generates waves of nostalgia for when I was younger, spending hours colouring in the faces of people featured in magazines or newspapers. There is something so appealing about taking a face and twisting it to look like someone new, it empowers the reader to challenge the editor’s photoshop skills. While my scribbles normally amounted to giving Victoria Beckham a jagged fringe, some biro induced stubble and highlighter yellow lipstick, Cruz’s takes care with the contours of the image, he gives a colourful depth to vintage, archive photographs.

When 26-year old artist Joe Cruz was growing up his grandma owned a factory producing clothes for fashion labels like Vivienne Westwood, and Aquascutum, so it comes as no surprise that Cruz was quick to make a leap into fashion. Cruz sums up his work as “simple, bold, and colourful” and this combination of colours and interesting graphics is what has won him fans, and clients. After his first commission when he was picked by Mary Portas from thousands of applicants, Cruz has gone on to work with brands including Stussy, Penguin Books and Reggie London. Cruz’s latest collaboration is with Whistles, creating a printed sweatshirt and T-shirt for their recently launched menswear line.

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Joe Cruz for Stussy

The pieces are an authentic blend of Cruz, who applies his signature bold imagery to the photographs of the Barbrican building that was shot by Jamie Hawkesworth for the Whistles’ AW14 campaign.

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Joe Cruz for Whistles AW/14 

The design team and I have been a fan of Joe’s work for a while, we like his use of strong colour and simple lines,” says Whistles design director Nick Passmore. “We thought he would be the perfect choice to adapt our Barbican imagery.  We knew he would add depth to the photograph and give it a contemporary twist to fit with the Whistles aesthetic.” Depth is certainly correct; Cruz’s work creates another dimension to photographs.

The Joe Cruz x Whistles two-piece collection is available to buy from December 22.

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