Brisbane art galleries have long understood the link between art and fashion; the Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Brisbane are only two galleries that have dedicated exhibitions to designers and fashion. But Kontemporary or Modern Art (KOMA) might just be the first Brisbane retail store to dedicate floor space to artists.
KOMA is a retail outlet for super hip label ksubi. Ksubi was founded by Dan Single and George Gorrow in 2000 and has garnered worldwide success, with celebrities like Lady Gaga, Mary Kate Olsen and Emma Roberts amongst their fans. They're also known as 'the guys who released rats down the runway' in their 2001 show at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week.
While you'll not see anything too controversial at their Fortitude Valley store, KOMA is definitely designed to get people talking – and thinking. Ksubi will work with the James Street Initiative and the Institute of Modern Art to launch works by new artists each month. Richard Bell was responsible for their Christmas window dressing, while Rebecca Baumann and Robin Hungerford are set to launch displays that will compliment the current range of clothes.
Oh right, the clothes. In between the post modern sculptures and avant garde videos, you'll find the usual selection of frayed denim and acidic brights that have made ksubi a favourite with fashionistas.
If KOMA's goal is to attract customers, they've both succeeded and failed – while the interesting, sometimes head scratching, display of art is bound to draw in the punters, it also manages to distract potential customers from the clothes. Still, if you're heading to James Street, a visit to KOMA will make you feel like a dedicated hipster.