Since 2017 Josué Thomas has been setting his work against the backdrop of our political present through Gallery Dept., an all-encompassing brand that is creatively pushing boundaries. The luxury label has become a favorite amongst celebrities like Rihanna and Kendall Jenner, and has done collaborations on limited-edition collections with Lanvin and Migos. Seeing as to how furniture is considered the new flex in streetwear, it’s no surprise that Josué would be one of the first of his peers to branch out into that category. “When I started acquiring vintage decorative arts for my own place, I had a heightened appreciation for interior design and furniture in general,” he says.
Gallery Dept. is officially staking a claim with a one-of-a-kind custom chair molded in the brand’s signature deconstructed denim pieces. Handmade in Los Angeles, the Debourd Denim Swivel Chair is inspired by midcentury design with a classic shape and fundamentally modern physique. The fabrication material consists of blankets of vintage denim scraps that Josué selected by hand. Bidding for the debut Gallery Dept. chair will start at $5,000 and it will be available through a live auction today, August 11, at 12 pm PDT/3 pm EDT on Gallery Dept.’s website.
What Josué finds so appealing about repurposing vintage garments is the act of reimagining an object. Not only is it a natural practice throughout his work, but it’s at the core of Josué’s entire design ideology. “While it’s sometimes challenging for other people, it’s just a natural inclination of mine,” he explains. “It’s purposeful, particularly because there is a sustainable aspect to it that I find interesting. I don’t believe that everything needs to be new; it just needs to be interesting to me.” (If there’s one thing we’re certain of, a denim chair never ever goes out of style. Who could forget the bleached denim chair by Likeminded Objects from the 2019 UO x Clever collaboration?!)
Considering he doesn’t have a formal background in fashion or design, Josué is living proof of how far a creative can go when the pursuit of passion is persistent. This month, he’s also hosting a solo exhibition at AF Projects. “My whole philosophy behind making things is that, for me personally, I hate labels,” he says. “At the end of the day, I like being an artist, just so I can make whatever comes into my head. Once you give someone a label, it closes off opportunities and people. If I am confined to the way people think, I wouldn’t explore half of what I explore. If you understand design, you can kind of do anything you want to do. To me it’s just a question of energy.”