Absurdist Interview: Fashion designer Raphael Lobello

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Fresh couture
Fashion Denver's in-house French fashion designer and artist Raphael Lobello grew up in a fort built in the 1200s. After studying screen printing in Grenoble for two years, Lobello moved near Toulouse and studied fashion design for three more before coming to Denver, where he is learning English and making one-of-a-kind garments for the denizens of our fine city. Brandi Shigley, owner of Fashion Denver said, "His sewing is amazing." Influenced by outsider art, particularly the work of Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Lobello likes to mix paint with fabric to make clothing that is bold and colorful, with influences from native African art as well. With Brandi Shigley as our translator, we sat down with Lobello at Fashion Denver and got inside his head about nothing related to any of those things.

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Ben Dayton
Raphael with a costume in the works, commissioned for a Thanksgiving shindig
WW: Who has better style, cats or sloths?
RL: The sloth, because he's more tranquil and he's not domesticated.

WW: What color is the act of playing music?
RL: It is a lot of colors, black, yellow...

WW: For instance, what is the color of playing the harmonica?
RL: Black or gray, because I don't know how to play it.

WW: How does the bird know when to fly south?
RL: Because it has a sixth sense.

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Ben Dayton
Raphael Lobello fashion made from old Bob Marley jeans
WW: Would dried cranberries and cheese crackers go well together?
RL: Yes. Craisin Crackers! [Sings] Craisin Crackers, woo! Craisin Crackers. It would make a good commercial.

WW: How many authors can you fit inside a literary tradition before it explodes?
RL: Is this some kind of joke?

WW: No, but do you have any jokes?
RL: Yes, what is the difference between a woman and a car?

WW: I don't know, what?
RL: The car is a Suzuki and the [doesn't translate]. [Laughs].

WW: Who has more cheese, France or the USA?
RL: France. You have little cubes of cheese in America, and in France we have ginormous blocks of cheese. American cheese also doesn't have an odor. French cheese is alive, it's mildewy, it's got shit living on it. I love it.

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WW: What's your favorite magical animal?
RL: The fly.

WW: Who is your favorite dead author?
RL: Beethoven -- no, Mozart. He wrote spectacular operas.

WW: Who would win in a race to the north pole, a lion or a whale?
RL: The balloon, because it flies through the air.

WW: Any final remarks?
RL: I'm hungry.

Raphael Lobello plans to be in the states for three months. His unique clothing can be found at Fashion Denver, 1070 Bannock Street, or online at Dawanda.com

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