David Austen x Oliver Spencer

David Austen is an artist whose work encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture and film, and explores themes of love, often through text. Inspired by literature, from ancient myth to contemporary poetry, David’s evocative work allows room for multiple meanings and interpretations...

David Austen Moodboard

Oliver Spencer’s long-standing friendship with David began when he was a customer and grew into a creative relationship when Oli shot a campaign at David’s Bermondsey studio. Oli remained interested in David’s work and soon suggested combining art and fashion. The texts and illustration that are used across the three T-shirts that are the products of this collaboration convey the evocative nature of David’s work. Art can be personal and private, and this collaboration allows it to be taken out of the art world and onto the street.


When working with text, David considers the weight of words. Using an American typeface from the 1920's that has been part of his work for years, specifically chosen for its clear, almost industrial look, David cuts and pastes the letters by hand. A great lover of literature, David draws inspiration from timeless poets - from Shakespeare to T. S. Eliot via Harold Pinter - but also appreciates the toughness of the words used in American crime writing.


Deliberately creating words and phrases that are open to interpretation, David finds poetry in moments of misunderstanding and the idea of glimpsing words momentarily. This concept of glimpsing text translates wonderfully onto clothing - David’s words may be read as someone passes by a T-shirt on the street or in a shop. David’s work reflects on love and desire and so his words have a yearning, and a certain nostalgia. To avoid any glibness, the words are concrete in their print, but not in their meaning.

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Shop the collaboration

See more of David's artworks

Oliver Spencer

From early beginnings as a self-taught tailor and shopkeeper, Oliver Spencer has built a brand around his vision: hand-crafted quality paired with stylish accents and details. In the words of GQ, a ‘uniquely British take on relaxed style’.

Read the Oliver Spencer story