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Quil Lemons x Sky High Farm Workwear 04
Photography Quil Lemons

Farm boys do it better: Quil Lemons drops his first ever fashion collection

Stepping out from behind the camera, the photographer has teamed up with non-profit Sky High Farm Workwear to design his dream capsule collection

It’s been a whirlwind few years for photographer Quil Lemons. Since cementing himself as one to watch in 2019, the Philadelphia-raised, New York-based artist has lensed some of the biggest names in the industry, from Billie Eilish to Oliver Sim, Telfar Clemens, Spike Lee, and more; led campaigns for brands like Gucci, Valentino, and Coach; made his IRL museum debut at New York’s International Center of Photography; and established his photography as a space to celebrate Black joy. 

Now, for his latest endeavour, Lemons is extending his artistry into the design world via his first ever fashion collection for Sky High Farm Workwear. The label – supported by Dover Street Market – helps raise funds for Sky High Farm, a non-profit farm in the Hudson Valley of NY which makes nutritious food grown with regenerative farming methods accessible to communities in need. With a portion of Sky High Farm Workwear’s profits going back to the farm, the brand aims to create a new, ethical model for fundraising. So far, its collaborators have spanned from Comme Des Garçons SHIRT to Balenciaga, Supreme, and more.

“It's where fashion should be,” Lemons tells us just days before his own collection under the label, titled Farm Boys Do It Better, drops. From “farm” logo crop tops mimicking old-school Ford logos to lime green fuzzy cardigans, and low-rise jeans bearing pockets stamped with Lemons’ own portraits, the offering feeds from Lemons’ own personal style and artistry – especially drawing inspiration from his 2021 photo-series “Daydreams”. “These are my dream clothes,” says the artist.

To celebrate the launch, Lemons – who’s also taken on the title of Contributing Art Director at Sky High Farm Workwear for 2023 – shot a series of campaign images and a short film, showcasing the collection with references to re-connection and a cathartic return to clubbing post-pandemic. “If you couldn’t dance, what would you do?” a voice asks, opening up the film before models dance in the clothing under flashing lights. Here, we catch up with Lemons mid-shoot day to discuss the collection, his wavey farm-day music recommendations, dream blunt rotation, and more. 

Hey Quil! Can you please describe Sky High Farm Workwear in your own words? 

Quil Lemons: The first word that comes to mind is “easy”, and not in the sense that this wasn’t difficult or thought out, it was just a really easy process and really organic from the start. It’s just been another way to stretch my brain and really push photography, push myself to a new place, then just keep exploring this idea of being a photographer, but also just being an artist. 

Why does this project feel important to you?

Quil Lemons: Fashion sometimes struggles to figure out how to do something more. It’s a human challenge to really give back to underserved communities, but the mission Sky High Farm Workwear has is one that I think a lot of people in fashion should follow when it comes to donations, reworking clothing, recycling, and working towards every good cause. Their ethics and morals are exactly how we should be thinking about (fashion) right now, especially with things like climate change.

It’s a mindfulness that I wish more people had – even myself – and I think that this project made me even more aware of the stakes that we are at. I don’t think many people are as aware of how we really do need to start rethinking how we are living and interacting with the world of fashion, but also just the world in itself.

“It’s a mindfulness that I wish more people had – even myself – and I think that this project made me even more aware of the stakes that we are at” - Quil Lemons

Can you please tell us a bit more about your collection? 

Quil Lemons: I feel like the collection is really just a manifestation of my closeted self and personhood, like the colours for each of the sweaters and (designs) printed onto the clothes come from the photos that I took from my museum debut with the ICP (International Center of Photography). I think that you get to just walk away literally wearing pieces of myself, but also my art, but also my photographs, all at the same time. 

What’s one piece that you feel summarises the collection, and why? 

Quil Lemons: It’s a tie between the sweaters and the jeans, but they both do the same thing where the images get extended into wearable items. I think that’s what the goal of it was for me.

Can you guide us through your design process for the collection? Was it similar or different to how you approach photography?  

Quil Lemons: The first party was really similar – I was pulling so many different references and pulling in my own work. The sourcing was a really similar process, like, “I like this shape,” or, “I like these things.” But, it became a little bit more collaborative and involved, which was so nice to be able to lean on a team that has made clothes before. When it came to silhouettes and things that were sellable, learning from the team was such a fun part of the process. 

The first conversation was like, “I want you to make a piece of clothing that is uniquely yours and that you want to wear everyday.” Now, the whole collection is that… things that I’ll literally be wearing every day.

What inspired you while you were sourcing for the collection? 

Quil Lemons: It’s a little narcissistic to say, but I really love my own fashion sensibility. I felt like if I was going to make a collection, I couldn’t make it without a crop top, and I couldn’t make it without a  fuzzy sweater, and I couldn’t make it without low rise jeans. Things that just felt like a part of me that I needed to put into a capsule collection. If I was putting my name on it, it needed to be all my favourites.

“The first conversation was like, ‘I want you to make a piece of clothing that is uniquely yours.’ Now, the whole collection is that… things that I’ll literally be wearing every day” - Quil Lemons

How did this inspiration tie into the imagery for the collection? 

Quil Lemons: For the imagery, I just wanted it to be really fun. After the pandemic, I felt like a lot of the projects I was taking on were kind of rigid. I love dancing, and I wanted to bring an upbeat energy to fashion that I felt like it was missing. I wanted to bring a closeness and togetherness that only comes when you’re moshing. So, I wanted those feelings to come across. It was kind of sad, not being able to go out of the house for two years and not being able to be in a club being sweaty without being fearful. Right now, I feel like we get the first chance to really be on the other side of the pandemic without as many hesitations, so I wanted the imagery to feel like that. This is what we’re getting back to.

If you were a farm animal, what would you be?

Quil Lemons: I thought I’d be a piglet, but honestly, I think I’d probably be a goat.

If you were spending a day on the farm, which album’s playing on repeat? 

Quil Lemons: It’d probably be something by Steve Lacy. One of my favourite albums by him is Apollo XXI, and I think that one is so free. If I’m on the farm, I’m probably laying back smoking weed, maybe dabbling in psychedelics, and I feel like it’s the perfect album to listen to for that.

Speaking of, what’s your dream blunt rotation?

Quil Lemons: There’s a model pack forming: Akon Changkou, Dede Mansro, Anok Yai, Maty Fal, Ajok Daing, Nyagua Rhea, América González, Jordan Daniels, Quinn Mora. It’s a bunch of girls, and they’re always having a really good time. I ran into them at a club in Paris, and I was like, “I would love to just do nothing, but smoke a blunt with you.” 

Maybe that’s your next campaign for the collection…

Quil Lemons: I’m speaking it into existence! 

If you were a cartoon character, what would your outfit be? 

Quil Lemons:  I would be Cajun Fox from Courage the Cowardly Dog. He wore nothing but sunglasses, and he was so cunt. One of my friends pulled up a picture, and said it reminds them of me, and now I can’t unsee it. 

What’s your weirdest, wildest internet obsession right now? 

Quil Lemons: It’s Citi Bike Boyz. It’s a bunch of skaters that get Citi Bikes and do crazy BMX tricks. It just feels new. I feel like the internet can get a little stale and content gets repetitive… I love Citi Biking, and it feels so New York.

Who do you want to see wearing Sky High Farm Workwear? 

Quil Lemons: It’s a toss-up between Anok Yai and Ice Spice, and either one will kill it.

You have to photograph someone on the farm, who would it be? 

Quil Lemons: Give me Naomi! 

What’s the title of your Dazed cover? 

Quil Lemons: Either “Get Sky High” or “Get Back to your Roots”.

“Farm Boys Do it Better” launches online at, Dover Street Market Global E-Shops and retail locations, and with the brand’s global retail community at 10:00am EST February 15.