Y2K fashion is back, or did it ever leave?
2022 has so far seen the resurgence of the micro miniskirt, cargo trousers, low-rise everything, velour tracksuits, kitsch accessories, and the list goes on…
We spoke to Francesca Frankis, the self-taught designer behind Cold Feet, a brand that embodies the epitome of Y2K fashion with its nostalgic airbrush one-off designs that are selling out almost instantly.
Is design something that you studied?
I always studied art and stuff at school. Growing up it was always my main passion and the thing I thought I’d pursue. But I actually ended up studying history at uni. Although I enjoyed parts of it I don’t think my heart was fully in it haha. As soon as I left I pursued my art full time.
Where are you currently based?
I’m currently working in London, specifically South East. I was born and raised around here so it’s a special place for me. I also love the creative scene in London, especially South East; feels like there are so many young people doing exciting things.
Is airbrush the main media you work with or do you ever use other methods?
Airbrush is definitely the main one, but most of my pieces have other elements like hand drawn parts with a fabric pen or even painted on. I also use a lot of bleach and dyeing too. I love to add different layers and dimensions to my work so I find combining a few processes gives it a really full and rounded end result.
What artists/designers inspire you?
I think a lot of different people have inspired me. Sometimes there are so many I can’t even pinpoint them, it just feels like they come out through my work. Growing up I always loved street art so I think that definitely inspired me. Also cartoons and kids’ shows. More recently artists like Claire Barrow have defo been a big inspiration. Also, the airbrush movement in the USA and just all of the work those artists come out with are amazing.
Where do you source the clothing that you airbrush?
It’s a real mix. Some stuff I find in charity shops or online like eBay and Vinted. Other times I’ll just cut and sew it myself. But often the blanks I use are surplus vintage blanks I find/buy in bulk.
You always blur your face in pictures and keep your identity hidden, is anonymity important to you?
As Cold Feet kind of started off as a joke I didn’t want anyone I knew to find it. So I started blurring my face. But as it took off I kinda liked the anonymous aesthetic. I think it adds to the hype of it all; people don’t fully know who cold feet is and so are more intrigued by it. Also, I think in the fashion industry there is so much surrounding looks and beauty standards. By blurring my face and the face of models I use I’m eliminating that and bringing the focus back to the clothes.
What would be your dream store to be stocked in if any?
I’m not sure. I think a store in a city other than London would be cool – maybe New York or Tokyo.
What’s your favourite piece you have designed so far?
I either love or hate most of my work. Some pieces I spend so long trying to perfect that I really end up disliking them haha but I’d say one of my favourites so far was the “reflecting” pink long sleeve. I spent agesssss on the airbrushed design in the middle and the end result I was super proud of from a technical level.
How frequently do you release pieces?
It varies. I usually try to release a piece most weekdays or at least a few pieces a week. At the moment I only release a piece at a time but I have some exciting bigger drops in the works.
At OffTheRails we truly celebrate being unapologetically authentic and going against the norms. Something we always ask is what is the most OffTheRails thing that you have done?
Hmmm I think the whole idea that I pursued my art full time was pretty off the rails. I quit my job and decided to take a risk and put all my energy into Cold Feet. It seems like that risk is slowly paying off. I think being yourself and staying true to yourself is the best way to live.