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In conversation with Tommy Ca$h

From cosplaying as Anna Wintour to knitting a thong during the show, Tommy Ca$h is still not banned from Fashion Week 

In the opulent surroundings of a Berlin hotel lobby, I await the arrival of Tommy Ca$h, a true titan of the artistic realm. Known to shake the scene with unyielding verve, Tommy is no stranger to the spotlight. Our paths have crossed before, in fact – I interviewed Tommy two years ago for the Glamcult cover. But with an ear to the ground, I eagerly await our reunion, mindful of the uproar he has caused following his electric appearance at fashion week and the Mugler H&M affair we scheduled him for that night. Since our last rendezvous, Tommy has released the MONEYSUTRA EP, an eclectic blend of hip-hop, electronic and experimental soundscapes. Yet, it’s not just his music that sets him apart, Tommy is an artist in every sense of the word. His performances are visually resplendent and unapologetically pioneering. 

I want to start off by discussing Fashion Week. Are you down?
For sure! I’ve actually not really spoken about it before – so that would be great. 

Let’s begin with the iconic duvet look as seen at the Y/Project show in Paris. The bed with the pyjamas, the face masks and the cucumber. Can you kind of tell me about this look and concept?
Originally, this look was done by Viktor and Rolf in 2005. I really wanted to use their look, I respect people’s art and always want to get to the originator. We hit up the Viktor and Rolf team, but there was literally zero communication. At that point, I was like, okay, what the hell? We gonna make our own! It was the last show of Paris Fashion Week, and the look was pretty reflective of all of our feelings at the time, I was really exhausted. We had a lot of shows that season,  it also was pretty cold, and I was actually almost naked for Rick’s show — so the exhaustion was real. 

Tell me about the Rick show, as it has less coverage than the others due to censorship (?).
I had a fake vagina for the show. At the time, my friends were like, okay, this shit is gonna’ be on the news. Like, we thought it’s gonna’ go so crazy. But because it was censored so much,  you couldn’t share it.  Vogue wrote about it and, like Dazed or something. But it was kind of under wraps, which is hilarious because I thought the duvet look would be the low-key one! 

Back to the bed… what were the reactions like?
I already knew that it was going to be a big moment when I sat down and there was Tyga and Avril Lavigne sat almost next to me. That was like the cherry on top of the cake. The look was a flame and that was like throwing gasoline on it.

Do you see these moments as a mode of performance art or less serious than this?
I definitely think of it as performance art, it is literally a performance of the character Tommy Ca$h. I’m from Estonia, where no one has broke out there. Estonian people don’t perform at Mugler parties and shit like that, they don’t sit in the front row. So I want to be a kind of Robin Hood of fashion week, taking the piss a bit. 

Showcasing your take on the intense wealth showcased at fashion week, for example.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. There are so many layers to it. 

There are so many looks we could go through, but if we are sticking to the highlights: the knit look, alongside you knitting the thong during the show.  Who’s the thong for?
I can’t name names, but I think this was one of my favourite moments. But I also loved when I went as a photographer for Balenciaga

That was so good. Obsessed with the images you got also; no edits, no perfected lighting.
I was standing with so many other photographers at the beginning, just waiting for people. One of the guys was like, “uh, do I know you’re from somewhere?” I was like, “No” and tried to make out that we had not worked together before. His name was Pierra Snaps. On the spot, I decided to call myself Mark Canon (mainly because that’s the name of the camera I was using). Eventually, I found out that Snaps is the personal photographer of Kim Kardashian. He’s the guy who goes around with them. Once I figure him out, he figured me out, because the people going to the show also began figuring out it was me. Some girl from Euphoria shouted out my name. I was really living because I love when I have such a character to play around with. 

Were you invited to the Balenciaga show?
Of course.

I love the role reversal. There’s this barrier between ‘press’ and ‘talent’, and crossing that rope gave such a fresh (and frankly, more interesting) perspective on not only the show but the culture surrounding it.
Absolutely. I’m excited for next season. I’m surprised I am not banned from Paris Fashion Week. Like totally. But the houses are all so different, the PR people are also so different, and none of them communicates with one another. 

Do these performance moves bring people to your music do you think?
I mean, it brings people to me, it puts my name out. Ultimately, however, it’s like water, it’s all just flow, you know? Fame just flows. 

A bit like how money flows through your take on Anna Wintour?

I wish she was there, at the show.
That would have been awesome.

What do you think she’d think?
You know, I have been with her at shows before, I think like four or five times. The last time I saw her was in Milan at the Diesel show and she was really chill, just on her phone. Because I went to that show dressed as a grandma cleaning up all the condoms on the floor. As part of my performance, whilst I was cleaning I asked her “Can you put your legs up?” Without taking her eyes off her phone, she lifted her legs and I swept under her. She wasn’t even paying attention, you know, like, oh, that’s probably just my butler. But it was cool to be Anna Wintour for the day, we hired this white limo, driving through the city drinking and hanging out the window down.


You’ve also been doing clothing yourself. You are wearing it now.

Can you tell me about some of your most recent collaborations? Kappa X Tommy Ca$h for example..
Yeah. It’s amazing to do different stuff while we’re also working on music. At the end of the day, when you have something physical, it’s different. It’s like an art piece almost…it’s like a print magazine. So later, when the internet will be wiped out, you still have physical, right? 

I sure hope so. How did the collab’ come about with Kappa?
Well, I was wearing it… And I was obsessed with the boy and girl sitting logo. Creatively, however, It took some time because the items are complex… We have suits, loafers from Italy, and so on… 

You also have the Kappa bondage mask?
I really had to persuade them to do the gimp mask, everyone was so afraid. I think we dropped it just after the whole Balenciaga thing, so that helped ha-ha. 

How do you stay motivated within the creative process? From your music, and performance art to design…
Somedays are bad. There are bad days and there are good days, sometimes you just want to procrastinate, but this is also okay! You should just do how you feel. Push yourself, but not to the edge of burning out. Artists need freedom, and to remember that they are free. It is easy to go into a vortex of no inspiration — especially if you have been working on something for a long time — but when I feel like this, I have to pull myself to a state of mind where I don’t give a fuck. This is my mantra: I don’t care about anyone, I do what the fuck I want.

This could be quite a dangerous mindset, no?
It’s more about stepping out of the monotony, or routine of life. I have to get myself out of the 9-5 routine and do things when they feel right… not when I am being told to do them.

Words by Grace Powell