Artist Danny Cole Brings Whimsical Dreamscape Of Creature World To New York Fashion Week 2023

When Danny Cole began Creature World, his magical and immersive art project, at 17, it was the first time he picked up a paintbrush. Fast forward six years, and the ‘creature’ (as he calls it) from Cole’s imagination has become a widespread emblem of nostalgia, playfulness and hope across the art scene and beyond.

This week, Cole debuted his utopian daydream at New York Fashion Week, presenting his first-ever Creature World, gender-neutral clothing brand to the city crowd. 

But this wasn’t any old catwalk. In Cole’s words: “It’s an entirely new world I’m building.” The creative-turned-designer brought to life an immersive, interactive playground that paid homage to the creature that has lived in — and now outside — of his head since childhood. 

“I fell in love with this idea that perhaps with enough passion, this universe of my dreams doesn’t have to be just of my dreams, and that maybe I could make it something that existed in this world,” Cole says.

Cole unveiled his new Creature World label through a gleeful live experience show at NYFW on Tuesday. Photo: Courtesy of Creature World

From decorating alleyways and pockets of New York City with his hallmark creature tag, to dreaming up capsule collaborations with streetwear label Advisry, Cole wants the whimsical whirlpool of Creature World to encourage people to explore their own introspective universes.

Now at only 23 years old, Cole is transcending his label into almost every possible realm there is. His visionary ideas bagged him the title as one of Converse’s selects of artists inspiring progress in 2020, while his trippy, cartoonish aesthetics have made it to the big screen at global fetes such as Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. 

Never one to shy away from delving into new visual mediums, Cole also launched his own NFT series in August 2021. The 10,000 piece collection quickly sold out and became one of the most coveted token drops on OpenSea — an accolade that cemented Cole’s status as a cult favorite in Web3.

For the interdisciplinary artist, there’s no end goal. He likes to see his work as a cyclical process with boundless possibilities. “I think it’s a waste to set an end goal,” he says.

To commemorate Cole’s first showcase on the NYFW calendar and the beginning of a new era for Creature World, Cole caught up with Jing Daily to discuss why fashion needs greater humanity, redefining the runway, and the future collaborations on his bucket list. 

Drawing on facets of streetwear, utilitarianism and workwear, Creature World’s new gender-neutral line is made for everyone. Photo: Courtesy of Creature World

You unveiled your first ever showcase and dedicated Creature World clothing line at NYFW this season. Can you tell us how you came up with the concept and where the inspiration for the show came from?

I would say that the goal of Creature World more than anything else is to make people excited about life because they understand that their dreams are a part of this world if they want them to be. And that’s what I took into this show. I wanted people to see that there is truly a universe in these pictures that is on these garments, so we created it to become a sort of zoo where each creature had its own environment. So we made these huge sculptural scenarios where you get to see creatures in the creature world, representing the scenes that these clothes depict. I wanted people to feel like their clothes are inside of their environments, too. 

You’ve already dabbled in the world of NFT drops, sculptures and live art. Why did now feel like the right time to launch a clothing collection?

The funny thing is, I actually arguably kind of did start with clothing. I used to screen print on the clothes that I would find at our local thrift store warehouse in New Jersey. But it was only ever for something fun for the people around me. I’ve said for years that what I want is not to show people a piece of art, but to put them inside of it. And clothing is quite literally the definition of that. 

I really wanted to make sure that I could take everything that fires me up, about dream worlds, imagination, vibrancy and color, and bring that to every environment. Just like in this collection, there are things that you can wear to work and formal events, but also casual clothes and things that you can go hiking in. 

The interdisciplinary artist extended his ambitions into the fashion industry following a sell-out NFT drop in 2021. Photo: Courtesy of Creature World

Five years from now, where are you hoping Creature World will be? 

I have this all actually mapped out and I’ve had this mapped out for a little while. I’ve been very disciplined when it comes to continuing to move forward, but there’s not a specific end goal in mind. I’ll start by saying that I think that it is a waste to set an end goal, because what happens when you reach that? And then you’re like, okay, I’m done. I did it. I’ve set the goal of Creature World as something that is impossible. So I know that I will have the opportunity to keep on working towards it and that this mission can be eternal. I guess the end goal of Creature World is, can we make this world real? 

Can you give us any intel on any other projects you’re working on right now for Creature World?

What’s really cooking right now are in the realms of fine art and in the realms of things that I hesitate to call fine art, because it is just truly art that is meant to reach everyone. There are also live experiences, digital experiences, and technological experiences. Also video games and a lot of work on what I will call, at this moment, a cartoon show. There’s also more clothing. But there are a lot of things that don’t fit into many boxes either that are nice to just call special projects.

You’ve already released a select number of collaborations, but who would you love Creature World to collaborate with in the future? 

Alejandro Jodorowsky. I didn’t grow up watching movies and I saw one of his movies for the first time, like maybe a year or two ago and I couldn’t believe it. I felt like his goal was the same as mine. Also Juana Molina. She’s a musician from Argentina. I would say in the United States she’s lesser known, but I like how she is willing to take risks creatively. And lastly, Yayoi Kusama. I know she’s having a really popular moment right now, but Kusama is a hero. 


Creatives, Jing Meta