Proper Interview: Lucien Smith, Woolrich ‘Without Barriers’

Not content with making some of the world’s finest outerwear, the wonderful people at Woolrich are also keen to help make a positive difference to the world. Which is why for their AW20 ‘Without Barriers’ campaign, they’ve enrolled the help of the incredibly talented American artist Lucien Smith who also runs the non-profit platform, “Serving The People” that provides vital support to emerging creatives. Lucien kindly performed modelling duties (alongside Ana Kras) on the new Woolrich collection shoot which was done back in July at the height of the pandemic. Which due to travel restrictions was done on two immersive set builds – the first featuring the grit of New York City. Whilst the other involved a serene snow-capped backdrop inspired by Mount Hood in the Pacific Northwest and this directly linking the campaign to Woolrich’s American heritage. Overawed by this combination of immense jackets, artistic talent and noble causes we decided to catch up with Lucien for a chat.

So Lucien, you’ve recently been involved in the Woolrich Without Barriers campaign, how did this come about and what has your involvement been?

Woolrich reached out to me directly and proposed the concept of “Without Barriers” and we were able to align our interest and even gain support from them towards my non profit STP. I’m not so interested at this point in modeling for brands, but I am always willing to do it if that brand is willing to financially support my foundation Serving the People. In this case not only was Woolrich interested in supporting our organization but even willing to discuss collaborations and so forth. So this made it worth my time and energy. 

What was it that appealed to you about Woolrich’s Without Barriers campaign?

A lot of my inspiration comes from the outdoors so working with an outdoor company like Woolrich made sense to me. Woolrich being a brand that focuses on outdoor apparel made sense with my interest in nature, for example my “rain paintings” getting to work in a set with set decorated nature and a rain machine was fascinating to me. I spend a lot of time camping and hiking so particularly this brand was a good fit. 

How is the current situation in New York itself?

I live in Montauk NY and I spend most of my time at home working, surfing, or doing home improvement such as landscaping.  

Prior to working with Woolrich what did the brand mean to you? Did it change after working together?

I always knew it’s brand ethos but after getting to zoom with the CEO, CFO and their whole team I was really connected with them and felt like they wanted to do something positive.

Do you have a favorite piece from the AW20 collection?

The red flannel wool jacket. I used to have a very similar –  if not a Woolrich – red flannel jacket in high school, that I also actually posed in for a self portrait I drew for my Cooper Union portfolio tests. So it was very nostalgic for me. 

I recently saw a quote that said you want to be the ‘Jeff Bezos of Non-profit directors’ . Can you tell us all about your ‘Serving the People’ project and how true this statement is?

As a quote it was something a bit misconstrued. What I said was that I hope serving the people my non profit can gather enough support to be as powerful as a company like amazon and be able to use those resources for helping society, in ways that our government and large corporations are not.

How important is it for you to provide support for young artists? 

Essential. I believe creativity and the arts are the only thing that are gonna help bring us together and create a bond through such a fragmented world. Future artists and creators are the ones who will be responsible for that. So providing them support and mentorship for me is my only true goal in life.

How can we help to support the STP project?

Spreading our mission to your audience. The more people who know about STP the better. What I mean by more is diverse, a lot of people in our circle and many others already are behind us and know our mission, but to spread that through publications like this and reach people who do not yet know of us will help increase and hasten our potential and goals.

As an artist which types of environments do you find the most inspiring? 

Home. My home is like my spaceship. I travel to other places and worlds through my computer, I find refuge and shelter here, I grow vegetables and herbs, it’s self sufficient. I could spend my entire life in this home and accomplish all my dreams and goals, because I built every inch of it and continue to build it. I call it my x-wing but it’s more like the Millennium Falcon. 

What would you like the future to be for you and the STP organization? 

We aim to facilitate innovative conversation through the intersection of art and culture. Our goal is to provide an alternative platform for creative inquiry and experimentation. I hope that as we grow we will be able to provide support not only in the arts, but in societies all over the world, enriching culture, and in turn educating and unifying all people globally to create a place that celebrates our differences rather than fear them.

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