by Gigi Grimes
Most of us consider the little black dress a classic—a perfect compliment to every trend. But what do we get when we combine the real classics with pieces fresh off of the runway? Chris Rellas (COL ‘17) provides us with the answer through his trendy Instagram account CopyLab. Donning the subjects of iconic paintings such as those of Van Gogh and Salvador Dali with pieces straight from the catwalk, Chris combines two worlds in an ironic depiction. Chris came up with the idea for CopyLab while working as an intern at Nasty Gal. After printing fashion product images for his job, Chris found himself scrolling through one of his favorite art history blogs and decided to combine his passions—thus CopyLab was born. CopyLab has made waves in the fashion industry already amassing 18k followers and has been featured in Vogue, GQ, and Paper Magazine. Chris has also had the opportunity to work with high-fashion designers such as Charlotte Olympia, Anya Hindmarch, and Poppy Lissiman through his work. I had the opportunity to ask Chris a few questions about Copy Lab:
Gigi: Have you always been interested in fashion?
Chris: I didn’t really care about fashion until high school. Something changed in me and I realized that fashion is about a whole lot more than labels and staying on trend. Once I discovered amazing creatives like Nick Knight and Carine Roitfeld, I was entranced by the industry.
G: What was your inspiration for CopyLab?
C: I started CopyLab because I wanted to be humorous and playful, but I also wanted to explore fashion as a form of art. A lot of people discredit clothes but put fine art on a pedestal. To me, the two are intimately connected since both are huge in expressing the cultural climate of a certain time period.
G: You’ve been featured in Vogue, GQ, and Paper Magazine; who is the most interesting person you’ve met through your work?
C: I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one person! Being able to visit the Vogue offices and talk with content editors from other publications and design houses has shown me just how much work goes into content planning. Seeing all of that has been super helpful in figuring out what I want to do after college.
G: Do you have a vision of CopyLab progressing?
C: I have a few ideas in the works! In the coming months, I’ll be mixing in some of my own non-digital art and then collaborating on these sassy embellished sweaters that everyone should probably purchase. Still, I’m trying not to take anything too seriously, because I feel like that’s how creative projects turn to shit.
G: Which form of art do you most identify with, the featured modern pieces or the classic paintings?
C: I’m mostly into modern art. At the moment, I like Chloe Wise because I think her commentaries on consumer culture are divine, and Marina Abramović because she’s 63, has a better body than me, and still knows how to shock the masses.
G: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
C: One time these two girls got in a fight in the comments of one of my photos. That was the proudest moment of my life.
G: What is your favorite aspect about your work?
C: I like that it makes some people laugh and other people hate me. I am both the creator of happiness and the “disrupter of all things beautiful” as one angry lady on Facebook put it.
G: Do you plan on pursuing art or fashion as a career?
C: If all goes well, hopefully I can mix fashion and art into some strange career that hasn’t been invented yet. The thought of working in a real job really freaks me out.
Chris’ work with CopyLab is pretty amazing to say the least. Be sure to follow his addictive Instagram account and admire his work on coffee breaks between finals studying.