“I think you are more of a man than anyone when you are wearing a skirt. You’re brave,” affirms model, photographer, and visually fluid 24-year-old human Johan Zoo aka Blanket 667. His Venezuelan accent, mullet-esque hair, and feminine and masculine silhouettes comprise the creature that can be found on runways and artistic groups around the world. His resume includes modeling for the binary-bending fashion brand Art School, as well as his current work with the Vivienne Westwood art collective and iconic fashion house, which enlisted Zoo, alongside five other inspiring young artists, to recreate the AW18 collection themes through their own visual language. Part of a group of gender non-conforming and contemporary voices within fashion, Blanket 667 is an individual who is challenging ideals and breaking limits. His personal style is the very meaning of fluidity, an authentic idea of self-proclaimed identity through fashion. His attitude and acceptance add even more heat into the mix.
Faith Ripoli, BA Fashion Journalism, talked with JoHan, to discuss his work and the power and freedom of style.
You go by the name Blanket Zoo. What is the origin story of this identity?
When I arrived in London a few years ago, I was out at a party for the first time and one of my first friends started calling me ‘blanket’. Everybody thought that was my real name. I see it as if London has made its choice to name me. Also I think it’s because I am very cozy.
What are your preferred pronouns?
My pronouns are HE and HIM but it doesn’t really matter to be honest.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
I think I would be a puma by night and a kitty by day.
What is your favorite social media platform?
None of them, but I’ll say Instagram for now.
How would you describe your aesthetic as a whole?
Filthy Latino Mess.
Name one thing that inspires you
Nature and anti-capitalist, radical social weirdos.
How and why did you get into fashion?
I never meant to be in fashion. It was something that just happened. I am more into conceptual photography and art.
What is the power you see in fashion?
The way I use it, if you look good within yourself, you feel good, so you act good.
As a model for Art School, you have been a visibly gender-fluid figure in the industry. What is your take on the current state of visibility in the industry when it comes to fluidity?
I feel that we still have a long way to go to be really fluid in the industry, but me and my pals are here to change the game.
You obviously have created a network of people within the industry that share similar beliefs in terms of identity and gender. However, do you see yourself and your network as outliers?
I would call me and my friends the new ambitious weirdos that actually want a big change.
How would you define gender-fluidity?
I define gender fluidity as freedom of not giving a f%$#k. I am what I want, when I want.
What piece of clothing makes you feel the most complete?
My Vivienne Westwood bag.
Recently you’ve become a part of the Vivienne Westwood crew. Would you consider yourself a gender non-binary punk?
You can’t call yourself a punk. I am more like that little devil who doesn’t give a f#$%k anymore.
What do you value in the cross-section of the punk movement and the gender revolution?
Punk never care, so there has always been a connection to the idea of being free and being whatever you wanted.
Words by Faith Ripoli, BA Fashion Journalism. Previously posted in Fluid Magazine.