The Fortoul Brothers are getting ready to release a new clothing line. The creative duo, comprising brothers Gabriel and Isaac Fortoul, plan to unveil the designs in early December. They’ll be available at Phoenix General, a boutique that's previously shown and sold the Fortoul Brothers’ work, as well as online.
The official launch will happen at Phoenix General on Saturday, December 1. Exact details will be announced as the release date gets closer.
The new Fortoul Brothers line will include about 15 or 16 separate pieces, such as dresses, men’s shirts, tops, T-shirts, and handkerchiefs. They’re still working to set the prices. They’re only making a total of 150 pieces this time around, created in Mexico City by artisans using eco-friendly materials. They’re in production now.
The clothing will feature the artists’ characteristic bold, simple lines, with a predominantly black and white color palette. They’ll also include small details such as hand-embroidered faces and silkscreen pineapples or other iconography pulled from the artists’ larger body of work.
“This is something we’ve discussed doing for 20 years,” says Gabriel Fortoul. “We were doing more garments when we first came to Phoenix, before we started focusing on fine art.”
The Fortoul Brothers create primarily paintings, drawings, and mixed-media works, which have been exhibited in several cities, including New York and Los Angeles.
They got their start here in the Valley, after relocating from New Jersey in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Later, they moved back to New York, then returned to Phoenix in 2014.
Early on, their artwork featured fashion references, such as figures donning stylized jackets. “The fashion element appears in our art, especially from 2004 to 2012,” Gabriel says.
Today, their studio is located in the Garfield historical district, across from Garfield Elementary School, where they’re working to complete a massive gardening-theme mural.
It’s one of many projects they’ve undertaken during the last year. In April, the Fortoul Brothers collaborated with the Heard Museum for a mural in Roosevelt Row called Freedom is Back. Last October, their artwork was featured at the Lost Lake Festival at Steele Indian School Park.
Currently, they’re working on an installation for El Museo del Barrio in New York City. And they’re finessing designs for an installation at Phoenix Art Museum, which will be on view for First Friday on October 5.
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The new fashion line will be their second project involving Phoenix General.
Last December, Phoenix General collaborated with the Fortoul Brothers for “Total Eclipse,” which included 100 small drawings exhibited in the Shortcut Gallery space the boutique shares with Framed Ewe, plus T-shirts and hoodies with two hand-painted designs. It also featured a small number of items, such as backpacks and planters, with hand-drawn artwork.
The Fortoul Brothers expect to create more merchandise, and clothing such as ball caps and hoodies, moving forward. “This is just the first step,” Gabriel says. “We’re not calling ourselves fashion designers, but the idea is to evolve into having a full collection.”