THE PROCESS ISSUE JAMES JEBBIA
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THE PROCESS ISSUE
VERBAL & YOON
MANUFACTURERS OF HANDCRAFTED WATCHES, BICYCLES, LEATHER GOODS & JOURNALS. &2!.+,). 34 .%7 9/2+ s 7 #!.&)%,$ $%42/)4
INTRODUCING AN AMERICAN COMPANY MAKING THINGS IN AMERICA.
AD THE CONVERSE JACK PURCELL HUDSON BAY SNEAKER
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AVAILABLE AT CANVASMALIBU.COM AND CONVERSE.COM/JACKPURCELL
i T â€™s A m AT E r iA l w or ld
T H E p r E s T i g E pA C K F E A T U R I N G A S K Y TO P L X, FA L CON, A N D VA I D E R L X
E D I TO R I N C H I E F Kevin Ma P U BL I C AT I O N M A NAG I NG E D I TO R Alexander Lendrum C O N T R I BU T I NG E D I TO R S Davis Huynh Eugene Kan Petar Kujundzic Ambrose Leung Alex Maeland Jonathan Poh James Shorrock E D I TO R I A L A S S I S TA N T S Arthur Bray Zahra Jamshed C O P Y E D I TO R Peter Suh C O N T R I BU TO R S Sean Baker, Douglas Brundage, Justin Li, Jonathan Moy, Christophe Victoor, Gary Warnett A DV E RT I S I NG M A NAG E R Andreas Menelaou A DV E RT I S I NG E X E C U T I V E S Stefano Constantinou Tiff Shum Stephen Yu DESIGN Tiffany Chan SPECI AL TH A NKS Keith Au, Angelo Baque, Jerry Buttles, Desmond Cheung, Edward Chiu, Sarah Driscoll, Brittany Hurdle Ewing, Annoushka Giltsoff, Jason Jules, Ida Khabazian, Sabrina Lee, Brenda Lo, Trish O'Callaghan, Brandon Shigeta, Emily Spurr, Annalisa Turroni, Marcella Withers, To Cheuk Yin
C O N TAC T
firstname.lastname@example.org Room 1918, 19/F, Tower B, Southmark 11 Yip Hing Street, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Printing in Hong Kong by Asia One Printing Limited All Rights Reserved. ISSN 2304-1250
W W W. H Y P E B E A S T.C OM
THE WATER RESISTANT FABRIC USED FOR THE LEVI’S® MADE AND CRAFTED™ PARKA WAS DEVELOPED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH 133-YEAR-OLD BRITISH MILLERAIN, THE WORLD’S PREMIER MANUFACTURER OF WAXED COTTON. LIKE US, THEY HAVE BEEN REFINING AND TESTING THEIR CRAFT FOR OVER A CENTURY, USING SKILLS HANDED DOWN THROUGH GENERATIONS. IT TAKES YEARS OF COMBINED EXPERIENCE TO MAKE A JACKET THIS GOOD. BUT GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME.
WE OBSESS OVER EVERYTHING WE MAKE BUT ITâ€™S WORTH IT
AD GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME. WE RECOMMEND YOU TAKE TIME FOR GOOD THINGS TOO
THE PROCESS ISSUE WINTER 2013
E DIT O R ’S L E T T E R
HIGHL IGHT S 24 NE W S
F E AT UR E S James Jebbia
LOOKS CP Company and Craig Green wings+horns and Dior Homme Devil May Care and Levi's® Vintage
72 88 130
Pigalle 148 IN T E RV IE W S David Obadia
FAC TORY V I S I T S Barbour
The Frye Company
A RT S Dave Kinsey
L IF E S T Y L E Herschel Supply Co.
Guide 206 M US IC Woodkid 216 C OL L O QU Y VERBAL & YOON 222 GUE S T Andrea Rosso
DIR E C T O RY 230
16, RUE SAINT ROCH - PARIS KRISVANASSCHE.COM
With four issues behind us, we’ve figured out our own way of contributing to the print world, and have formulated a pretty fluid process to creating our publication. Although, it goes without saying that its measure of development is not without its challenges and vital experiences. This is why we’ve decided to focus on the process of creation for our 5th issue. As it is often said, “it’s the journey that counts.” As an audience, we often only see results. The hard work, arduous tasks and countless hours spent on the actual process are mostly overlooked. Supreme, a brand that has firmly situated itself at the head of our culture has established a retail reputation of instantaneous purchase, but what its loyal fans may not be aware of is its stringency in its ideology as a brand that applies to all its aspects of creation. Often avoiding the limelight, we were able to talk to Supreme founder James Jebbia to discover how the brand came to be and what it took to get there. The ‘Process’ issue as a whole takes aspects of our creative culture and looks at the path of creation each featured brand and individual took towards their accomplishments. We also introduce our Factory Visits section; exclusive to this issue that epitomizes the very art of manufacturing. It goes without saying that a lot of effort, hardship and excitement go into the act of development, which to us makes it worth sharing.
Kevin Ma Editor in Chief
SU PR E M E for N I K E SUPREME NIKE FLYKNIT LUNAR 1+ Exclusively previewed here, the Supreme Nike Flyknit Lunar 1+ brings together two powerhouse brands in a subtly designed yet significantly branded effort. Without taking away from the minimal aesthetic of the Flyknit, Supreme adds slight brand detailing with the first half of their name screened onto each side of its upper in dark tonal grey. Its acclaimed red Box Logo sits on the tongue to accompany Nikeâ€™s own logo - a clear imprint of the collaboration. The sneaker itself holds innovation in construction through its tightly woven polyester yarn that makes up its entire upper. With performance in mind, the knit varies in density with a looser weave in areas requiring flexibility and ventilation versus tighter weaves in high-stability areas. Make sure to grab the Supreme Nike Flyknit Lunar 1+ when it drops this early fall. 24
TA K A SH I K UM AG A I for R E IGN I NG C H A M P HEAVYWEIGHT FLEECE JACKET AND SWEATPANT Canadian brand Reigning Champ has brought on the efforts of renown photographer and designer Takashi Kumagai for a two-piece project. Consisting of a 25oz Fleece jacket and sweatpants, the black and white tonal suit embodies RC’s quality tailoring with casual wear, while Kumagai’s influence can be seen in its formal and subtle details. While the Jacket comes in two colorways, both pieces sport knit bands throughout and embellishes the collaboration’s co-branded label. The Heavyweight Fleece Jacket and Sweatpant can be found at Reigning Champ retailers this September. Jacket is approximately $370 USD, Sweatpant is approximately $156 USD 26
FEATURING REYKJAVIK TALENT GUรฐmUNdUR รLFARssoN Unconventional Talents on www.lacostelive.com
ST US SY for T I M BE R L A N D 6” PREMIUM ZIPPER BOOT As key developers of streetwear, Stussy and Timberland have teamed up on a rework of the iconic sand boot. This collaboration sees the comeback of the classic 6” Timberland Boot silhouette that hold all the comfort and technology famed for its utilitarian construction. The boot is contrived of waterproof leather on its upper, while seam-sealed construction and a padded ankle collar make up the details. To signify the collective effort, the 6" Premium Zipper Boot adorns the Stussy brand and N°4 logo at its tongue and metallic Timberland branding at its heel. $200 USD 28
E N NOI R for DE L TORO BIKER CHUKKA & SUEDE CAMO SWEATPANT Famed for its all-leather application to its fusion of "street-meets-high" fashion, En Noir teams up with luxury footwear staple Del Toro for a capsule release featuring the above Biker Chukka and Suede Camo Sweatpants. Designed through the synergy of both brand’s respective visions, both pieces are toned down from Del Toro’s usual Miami inspired aesthetics, bringing on En Noir’s more minimalistic NY/LA approach. The all-red Chukkas hold micro detailing with stitching on the upper that creates a ribbed look to the side panels. The suede sweatpants sport an all-over dark tonal camo that is subtle yet stylish. Both pieces are made through Del Toro’s quality Italian craftsmanship and will hit shelves this holiday season. Chukka $350 USD, sweatpant $1,250 USD 30
DQM for VA NS HBT DQM has teamed up with long-term collaborators Vans on an eye-catching collection with a tie-dye color scheme that references the jungle, desert and ocean. The pack consists of three renditions of the timeless Authentic profile, each receiving a unique dye treatment - an enzyme process created specifically for this project. Washed cotton herringbone uppers sit atop an off-white midsole and waffle outsole, with details seen in its color dipped enamel eyelets, round leather laces and pigskin flag label - showing meticulous craftsmanship trademarked by each collaborative effort. The HBT models release November 15. $85 USD 32
M A R K NC NA I RY for WOOL R IC H WOOL E N M I L L S GARFUNKEL JACKET AND EXPO CHINO PANT The American classic Woolrich Woolen Mills adopts the skills of all-American designer Mark McNairy for this twopiece suit ensemble. The tweed suit consists of a two-button single breasted convertible collar jacket, and a flat front light pant. Offered in a cool grey colorway, the jacket and pant are composed of 100% wool from Woolrich Woolen Mills, and are crafted within the US. Both pieces are now readily available. Jacket $550 USD, Pant $295 USD 34
C L A E for A X S FOL K T EC H NOLOGY STARKS BOOT Crafted as an introduction to the collaborative relationship between innovative footwear brand CLAE and AXS Folk Technology, the Starks Boot takes elements of a traditional boot and fuses it with athletic and light performance aesthetics and functionalities. It utilizes oiled full grain leather for its upper and lightweight blown EVA for the outsole. A tie-dye pattern colored with all natural indigo dye is accented on the upperâ€™s side panels, and its outsole sports subtle speckled detailing. To celebrate the new accord between the brands, the Starks Boot is only offered as gifts, however more collaborative products from the effort will hit retailers soon. 36
NEWS A selected ensemble of fall/winter products
2 White Mountaineering x Tretorn
1 A Kind of Guise
3 Topo Designs x AXS Folk Technology
1 A Kind of Guise Black Melange Bear Jacket
Built primarily of soft Japanese fabric, the Black Melange Bear Jacket is lined with 100% wool from German manufacturer Steiff, known for their high quality and warm outerwear material. Details include black melange with fur trimming around the collar. Approximately $780 USD
2 White Mountaineering x Tretorn Ballistic Nylon x Suede GORE- TEX Boot
Utilizing nylon and suede GORE-TEX, these White Mountaineering boots maximize waterproofing while maintaining breathability. Embellished with light checkered stitching and an additional sole for coloured detailing, the boots fuse practicality with design.
3 Topo Designs x AXS Folk Technology Backpack
Famed for their outerwear appropriated bags, Topo Designsâ€™s collaborative product with AXS Folk Technology is a tanned backpack composed of vegetan leather. Highlighted with blue accents, the collaborative backpack will be available through AXS Folk Technology in the 2013 fall/winter season. $225 USD
6 Woolrich John Rich & Bros. 5 Zanerobe
4 visvim HOLTOM STOLE Blue Scarf
5 Zanerobe Camel Dynamo Chino Pant
6 Woolrich John Rich & Bros. Artic Parka Camo
visvim presents the HOLTOM STOLE Blue Scarf for 2013 fall/winter and carries visvim’s know-how in beatnik tailoring, employing quirky philosophies in light of modish designs. Utilizing its forte in natural dye techniques over extra soft cashmere, the HOLTON STOLE Blue Scarf is another celebration of visvim’s “Japanese-Americana” motifs. $480 USD
An evolution of their signature comfortable Chino silhouette, the Dynamo Chino from Australian bred Zanerobe infuses elastane and a heavy knit rib cuff into the pant. It also features a constructed waist with a drop crotch and tapered knee. $119 USD
Woolrich John Rich & Bros. releases a down filled Arctic Parka that supports street sensibilities with its dark tonal Camo print. Releasing September 1, the Parka comes with a detachable Coyote fur hood and features button-up fastening. $1,400 USD
A C O L L A B O R AT I O N W I T H R A S M U S S T O R M
7 wings+horns Fishtail Parka
Crafted using a nylon and polyester fusion fabric, this highly breathable fishtail parka features water resistant and windproof qualities. This functional outerwear also includes snap-in closures and a subtle plaid print. Approximately $560 USD
8 Converse Jack Purcell Camo Pack
Converse delivers another bold collection under its tennisinspired annex line, Jack Purcell. With comfort, fit and style correlating one another, the Converse Jack Purcell Camo Pack sees the use of all over camouflage print on its duck canvas uppers, while metal eyelets and branding at its tongue adds subtle design. $60 USD
9 wings+horns Cowichan Vest
Another selection from its fall/ winter line is the wings+horns hand-knit vest. It is composed of wool duffle cowichan in grey/ charcoal, and features a riri zipper at the front, real horn toggles and is of 100% virgin wool construction. Approximately $470 USD
10 Head Porter
10 Head Porter Mombasa Messenger Bag
Japanese bag imprint Head Porter delivers the Mombasa Messenger Bag featuring a hard-to-miss leopard print at its front panel. Crafted with a dynamic blend of nylon and faux fur, the bag is both functional and stylish, featuring a range of pockets and straps to further Head Porter’s utilitarian approach. $160 USD
11 Volcom Buzzard
This fall, Volcom debuts in the footwear realm after 22-years in the business. Made with fashionforward motifs, the Volcom “Buzzard” features navy leather paneling, waxed laces and a blue and white vulcanized sole. With branding at its tongue and heel, the sneaker blends Volcolm’s street-ready heritage with its new-found lifestyle approach.
12 visvim STURGIS Sweater
Adopting an Americana style to its Japanese tailoring, visvim delivers the STURGIS Sweater for 2013 fall/winter. The shawl-neck cardigan is made from low-gauge Merino Wool knit and features a ribbed collar, hem and cuffs, with a flag pattern and peace design at its back. Dyed with indigo, the fleece provides an additional layering option to your winter wardrobe.
13 Billionaire Boys Club
13 Billionaire Boys Club S/L Long Tunic Shirt
Headed by Pharrell and Mark McNairy, the BBC Black Line iterates the classic dress shirt design with added length. Perfect for layering and fitting for the fashion-forward, the cotton ripstop shirt is a reflection of both designer’s acclaimed efforts in merging streetwear with high fashion and will be available from September 15. $198 USD
14 HEX Laptop Sleeve
Composed of the Westmore colorway - the defining color choice for HEX’s latest collection - the laptop sleeve is designed to fit snugly around a laptop for maximum protection and design. $39.95 USD
15 RVCA Reverse Wool Cotton Jersey
RVCA welcomes the cooler months with the Reverse Wool Cotton Jersey. From its Greco-Roman connection, the Raglan crewneck fleece features bold Roman numerals “XVXA” in chenille fabric across its chest, while twill yarn patches serve for elbow pads. Made with unbrushed cotton, the jersey comes in a slim fit profile. $110 USD
16 Le Coq Sportif
16 Le Coq Sportif Flash
French sportwear staple Le Coq Sportif culls from its running archive to revive the Flash. Originally released in 1990, the sneaker regains popularity with its mix neoprene and suede upper, fetching retro colorway and iconic rooster logo. Cleancut with odes of its heritage, the Flash is now available as a limited release. $110 USD
17 Altamont Adhan Shirt & Pants
California streetwear brand Altamont brings forth its bohemian motifs this winter in its Adhan print offerings. Adhan, loosely translated to â€œcall to prayerâ€? is a compelling print inspired by Afghan war rugs. Altamont has employed the beatnik pattern across a capsule of lightweight button-up shirts and pants, crafted with 100% woven cotton. Shirt $70 USD, Pants $70 USD
18 Edgar Eeven Poe
18 Edgar Eeven Poe Vest
Priding themselves on handmade one-of-a-kind products, menswear label Edgar Eeven Poe adds a layer to your fall-ready wardrobe with their denim fabric vest. Made with Japanese yarn-dyed indigo denim, the vest includes handstitched horseshoe patched pockets and red sashiko pattern stitching details. $220 USD
20 Stussy Deluxe x master-piece
19 rag & bone
21 Billionaire Boys Club 19 rag & bone Bastion Jacket
rag & bone’s aviator style bomber jacket is a definite classic with a vintage appeal. Composed of 100% nylon, the jacket is built of genuine fabric from Japan - all of which are authentic fabric reproductions of original flight jackets. $695 USD
20 Stussy Deluxe x master-piece Camo-cord Waist Pouch
Stussy Deluxe teams up with renowned carrier brand masterpiece on the Camo-cord Waist pouch. Showcasing both brands’ street-ready designs, the waist pouch features luxurious suede accents at its bottom panel and zip-tugs, while camouflage corduroy adorn the sides. The understated offering also comes stamped with stitched leather branding at its front corner. $75 USD
21 Billionaire Boys Club S/S Louisville Shirt
From Pharrell’s partnership with long-standing collaborator Mark McNairy comes another piece from their BBC Black line. Made with Loro Piana wool, the button-up baseball jersey receives an all black treatment while keeping to the quality aesthetics synonymous to each collaboration. The full line will be available from September 15. $178 USD
22 President’s Coach Jacket
Abiding by the brand’s ethos of fashion with functionality, the President’s Coach Jacket is an essential for the days of fall and winter. Made out of Loropiana Lelander wool and blue thermore, this insulated outerwear is subtle in its contemporary design and practical for the season. $691 USD
23 SUPRA Chimera
Lil Wayne’s first shoe from SPECTRE by SUPRA, the “Chimera” features a unique collar panel that flows from heel to toe box, as well as internal lace ghillies and a large padded tongue. The red upper sits on top a unique clamshell heel panel, while the SUPERFOAM midsole is distinctly lightweight. Generous padding all around ensures a snug and comfortable fit. Approximately $185 USD
24 Zanerobe Big Cat Crew Knit
Zanerobe releases its own print offering with this oversized leopard crew knit sweater. It’s composed of navy blue Jacquard knit, with extra texture added to the black and rose pink leopard spot artwork, adding texture and depth. $129 USD
JAMES JEBBIA Almost two decades in, authenticity is still everything
WO R D S BY G A RY WA R N E T T
Photography by Yuri Shibuya
THE RZA Photography by Kai Regan
SUPREME X RIZZOLI BOOK COVER
As a brand, Supreme doesn't do small talk. Setting the bar high through the formula of hard work and attention to detail, Supreme's mission is to keep the standards set worldwide with relatively new outposts in Japan's Shibuya district and London's Soho, plus a European webstore recently launched. Its 20th anniversary is around the corner so there’s reason to celebrate, even if it’s executed without bombast or fireworks. Acknowledging the past without wallowing in it, Supreme is the product of its environments and the sum total of skating's myriad subcultures. Supreme inhabits a place where Earl Sweatshirt, Nate Lowman, Eric Koston, Glenn Danzig, Marilyn Minter, Adam Kimmel, JA, Ian Curtis and Mickey Mouse can all coexist with a rarely explained logic. That unspoken cultural cohesion is understood by generations of the store's visitors and those far beyond the physical spaces' catchment areas. The world doesn't need another Supreme history lesson or nostalgia trip. Supreme's clean aesthetic in a pre-cleanup New York has been beneficial to its longevity, but for all the perceived mystique behind the stores, there's no magic to their 19 years in business. This isn't the byproduct of some quick fix formula, nor was there a calculated scheme to dominate the industry and straddle both high fashion and the Tumblr generation — it was something that worked and Supreme’s founder James Jebbia and his team have strived to make it work even better.
speculatory chatter that success brings, is there an alternative to what James Jebbia built over the last two decades? A careful approach to publicity and output means that James Jebbia doesn't grant a great deal of interviews. At the same time, there's little mystery to the man behind the organization — no runarounds, secret locations or sealed off spaces. He just sees no reason for himself to be out there telling the same tales again and again. Once-elusive brands are transparent nowadays, but Supreme remains remarkably tight-lipped until information needs to be deployed. Sitting in James’ SoHo office, where his desk is overlooked by a vast photograph of iconic workaholic James Brown leaning on a Rolls Royce, soul’s godfather’s ostentatious antics are a contrast to his namesake's more subdued approach to the grind. The ephemera — books, record sleeves and artwork — on display in the room indicate that his own interests aren’t far removed from the worldview Supreme has cultivated, despite his willingness to let the younger generation sit behind the counters and in front of the lens, season after season.
Supreme is operating on so many channels right now that it's tough to pin down a solitary point of focus. Then there’s the usual “are they still number one?” speculation. Despite the 57
Future Proofing James, has your avoidance over the years to take a frontman position on Supreme been down to wanting to let the brand speak for itself? I wasn’t fully conscious of it to be honest. I never consciously said, “Hey, I’m gonna sit back and not really talk.” I mean, for the first 10 years nobody ever hit us up for anything so for me it has always been quite natural to be like that. There’s not a lot to talk about. We try to put out good stuff and we let the product do the talking. It just seemed to work out that way and I’m not really that comfortable talking about a lot of stuff. It’s not that I’ve got secrets – I’ve always found the story quite boring really. No one wants to hear that though. Well, I’m not the type of person who’s going to gloss over things to make them look all perfect and pretty so it is what it is – here’s the product. For me, I don’t really care what a designer has to say. I like Margiela, but I’ve never read an interview with him and nor do I need to. When I do read something about a designer it doesn’t alter my thoughts about their collection when I see it in person. Back in the day it would be great once every two years if The Face hit you up for something, but press opportunities like that were few and far between – now it’s a world where people talk a lot and there’s a lot of information out there. We’ve not looked at the social media stuff and been like, “Let’s change our tactics!” Not at all. Now brands want that transparency – to chat, narrate and show a behind-the-scenes. Do you think that’s a little overrated? For us, the way that we do it is by letting the product speak for itself. Instead of putting time and effort speaking on the process of how we get the collection done, our energy goes into presentation. A lot more can be said through good visuals of the clothes on our website and editorials. We try and make sure the photography and styling of our stuff is done at a high level so that people can view it in the best possible way. Do you think you inadvertently future-proofed Supreme with the basics and minimalist nature of the logo and store, or did you have a long-term plan for Supreme 19 years ago? We’ve always had a clean aesthetic, from the logo itself to the clothing and the interior of the shops, Supreme has abided by the less is more aesthetic. Like any brand though, we’ve had our ups and downs over the years and it hasn’t been plain sailing since we opened. If I showed you what we used to do at the beginning you’d be like, “Damn, how did you stay in business?” If I had a long-term plan I would have signed longer leases.
the classic box logo tee in six years. When we did the box logo tee, that’s all that everyone wanted. In Japan, it would be like, “Here’s our order – we want 3,000 of the box logo tee and 100 of everything else.” Do you find it f lattering that people might see Supreme as an effortless organization? There’s a certain efficiency that could be perceived as simplicity. In a way I do find it flattering even though that's not the reality. If I check out a new collection I admire or listen to an artist’s new album and I really like it, it's better for me to imagine it came together very naturally and effortlessly, as opposed to thinking a crew of people busted their asses for six frustrating months to make it happen, which is more often the case. Do you feel more of a pressure to elevate? Years ago it was very easy to associate Supreme with several other brands, but now it seems to operate in its own lane. I think the pressure that exists is one that we created for ourselves by positioning Supreme apart from other brands and being leaders, not followers. We have a great customer base that expects new things from us each season and they appreciate it when we get it right. How gratifying is it to see kids into Supreme? Youth has always been the barometer. They have access to everything and they’re often very critical. Being in skate keeps us grounded in youth culture and I am very happy to see new generations of kids getting into Supreme. If they didn't, I would view it as a failure. Quality Control When you put out a T-shirt that references Peter Saville or the Misfits, do you feel that you’re joining the dots on youth culture? That’s not necessarily our intention. First we have to be able to stand behind the artist before we begin the process of creating a collaborative project. Then obviously we have to make sure that the design is good and works for Supreme. That’s what is most important to us. Once the project is released, it’s a bonus for us if we help put a customer on to a great artist or musician they may not be that familiar with.
Outside the Box
When you’re doing a tee or cap with homage to something, when do you make that an official collaboration? There was the Exploited tribute shirt from a decade ago that was an homage to their visual identity – would that be official if it was released now? We wouldn’t do that now without getting permission. 18 years ago we did a Basquiat tee and we’re doing something official with Basquiat now. We weren’t trying to be shady – that’s just how it was back then. Things are a lot different now.
Do you feel that in recent years that emphasis on the box logo has leveled out a little – has the key focus shifted? Yeah. Our clothing has itself evolved and become a lot better. Supreme has developed and progressed from being just a tee, sweat and cap company to making what I would consider really legitimate clothing. So it’s not that all the focus is off the logo – it’s just that we have other items as well that people want. But the logo has strength, because the combination of having good products and a strong logo is powerful. We haven’t produced
On that topic, how fastidious are you and the team when it comes to quality control? If clothes fall apart, the customer isn't coming back. We here at Supreme are all on the same page on understanding where the brand needs to be in regards to standards. Every product we make has to be of very high quality, nothing less. We get this slack sometimes where people think our stuff is too expensive – what they fail to realize is that our clothing should be more expensive. We use top factories and source the
LONDON CALLING Photography by Alasdair McLellan
SHANE MACGOWAN Photography by Shaniqua Jarvis
SUPREME SHIBUYA Photography by Jun Okada
best fabrics. The reason that we're able to do it at a reasonable price is that we don't do wholesale. Ordinarily if something costs $100, you wholesale it at $200 then the retailer sells it for $450. We don't do that – standards are high and quality control is a must for us. Good sourcing is a good selling point. We pay attention. We go through everything. The shape of a shirt collar is important, as is the fit of a jacket and everything else we make. Young people take notice of all the details now – they know if a collar feels good and if a jacket fits properly.
Beyond the key pieces each season, would you like to be seen as a staple brand like Polo? Pretty much, but like, one-hundredth of the size. For us, there are things that will be in and out of style for other companies but we will always make them. We will always have a coach’s jacket, hoodie, tee, and a camp cap – I don't care if they're popular or not. For us, there are key pieces that are at the center of Supreme. To us, the style of a skater 20 years ago is still relevant today.
Do you have much input at the design stage? I'm very involved in what's going on but I'm not doing any of the design. I have a very good design team to do that – I'm involved in my own way. Supreme goes off on so many directions but does the skatecentric core keep everything grounded? It does. There are rules to skating. People can say what they want and say we're not a real skate company, but we are. There's a lot of unspoken rules. There are for sure. For me, I'm not fully entrenched in the skate world, but a majority of the people around me are and yes, it is important to me that anyone that skates can come into the store and say, "Yeah, that's one of the best skate shops in the world." And our thing may be a little different to most, but people know and respect that what we do is 100 percent legit and we're just part of the skate culture in our own way. 61
62 Pinstripe twill parka and vertical strip top by SUPREME Field parka, flags pullover and wiseÂŽ beanie by SUPREME
SUPREME Photography A R I M A RC O P O U L O S Stylist K E I TA I Z U K A Producer H I S AO E B I S U Art Direction A N G E L O B AQ U E
Captain varsity jacket, bleached buffalo flannel and corduroy 5-pocket pant by SUPREME
Hair K E N I C H I YAG U C H I Model G A B R I E L “ N U G G E T ” P L U C K RO S E
64 Corduroy snap front jacket and oxford shirt by SUPREME
Striped cardigan, pacific camo pocket tee, no wale corduroy slim jean and cord croc strap camp cap by SUPREME
66 SchottÂŽ leather MA-1 and virgin mary tee by SUPREME
Fleece pullover, flight pant, drop shadow waffle and velveteen camp cap by SUPREME
68 Quilted satin bomber and polka dot thermal henley by SUPREME
WiseÂŽ racing jacket, mini harvard pullover, small box sweatpant and marled cuff beanie by SUPREME
70 Plaid bomber, big dot shirt, no wale corduroy slim jean and leather crusher by SUPREME
Lions puffy jacket, sup crew, rigid slim jean by SUPREME
ECHOES CP Company Photography N E I L B E D F O R D Styling G L E N N K I T S O N Production U P S TA I R S P RO D U C T I O N S Photographers Assistants C H R I S R H O D E S a n d K H A L I L M U S A Styling Assistant S C O T T J O N E S Grooming KO TA a t C A R E N Make Up P E N G P H A N Models B E N & S A M a t N E V S a n d ALEXEY a t D1 Retouching O L I V E R C A RV E R
CP COMPANY Down jacket
CP COMPANY Mille miglia jacket, LEVIS VINTAGE Denim CLARKS Wallabees
CP COMPANY Shirt, LEVIâ€™S MADE AND CRAFTED Trousers CLARKS Shoes
CP COMPANY Dynafil jacket
CP COMPANY Rain coat, LEVIâ€™S MADE AND CRAFTED Trousers BRITISH REMAINS Leather shoes
CP COMPANY Down goggle jacket, LEVIâ€™S VINTAGE Selvedge denim ADIDAS X MCNAIRY Shoes
CP COMPANY Woolen blazer
ANTITHESIS Craig Green Photography S Y LVA I N H O M O Styling L AU R A WA LT E R S Photographer’s Assistant DAV I D H O L B RO O K Stylist’s Assistant R E N A L L I TA N Grooming FA B I O V I VA N Retouching M E T RO I M AG I N G Models O ’ S H E A a t S E L E C T M O D E L M A N AG E M E N T a n d J A K E S H O RTA L L a t A M C K M O D E L S Shot at S T U D I O D
Hand-painted shirt, undershirt and hand-painted pants by CRAIG GREEN Shoes by PURIFIED OPPOSITE PAGE
Hand-linked patchwork jumper by CRAIG GREEN
Top, shirt, undershirt and pants by CRAIG GREEN Bag by EASTPAK X NICOMEDE TALAVERA OPPOSITE PAGE
Top, shirt, undershirt and pants by CRAIG GREEN Shoes by PURIFIED
Crinkle pleated top, undershirt and pants by CRAIG GREEN Bag by EASTPAK X NICOMEDE TALAVERA Shoes by PURIFIED OPPOSITE PAGE
Beanie, jacket and shirt by CRAIG GREEN
Jacket, hand-painted top, undershirt and pants by CRAIG GREEN Cap (worn inside out) by UNIVERSAL WORKS OPPOSITE PAGE
Hand-linked patchwork jumper as shawl, shirt, undershirt and pants by CRAIG GREEN
WINDOW PAINS wings+horns Photography J E N N I L E E M A R I G O M E N Art Direction / Styling R E D I A S O LT I S Hair / Make Up J E N N I F E R L AT O U R Model J O H N N Y B U RG E S S
Camel moleskin two button blazer and white long-sleeve solid oxford button down shirt by wings+horns
90 Grey mĂŠlange melton wool mac coat, long sleeve button up color blocked, long sleeve shirt and moleskin snap cap by wings+horns
Grey mĂŠlange melton wool mac coat, long-sleeve twill flannel semi-spread collar button down shirt and moleskin snap cap by wings+horns
92 Navy moleskin two-button blazer and grey long-sleeve broken check button down shirt by wings+horns
White cotton shirt and camel melton wool varsity jacket by wings+horns
94 Olive tartan fishtail parka, white cotton T-shirt, charcoal mĂŠlange merino wool blazer and mid-town chino pant by wings+horns
Charcoal primaloft quilted vest, moleskin snap cap, long-sleeve twill flannel semi-spread collar button down shirt by wings+horns
CONTROL Dior Homme Photography C A R L O T TA M A N A I G O
Black wool long fitted jacket, white cotton poplin shirt and black panama silk tie by DIOR HOMME
From left to right: Black wool raised neck fitted jacket and black wool trouser, black wool fitted jacket, metal clip buckle, white cotton poplin shirt, white patent leather raincoat, black wool knit sweater, black wool serge trouser by DIOR HOMME
From left to right: Gray wool trench coat, black wool high-neck sweater, gray wool blouson by DIOR HOMME
Black wool long fitted jacket, metal clip belt, white cotton poplin shirt and black panama silk tie by DIOR HOMME
David Obadia I N T E RV I E W BY C H R I S T O P H E V I C T O O R P H O T O G R A P H Y BY K A R L H A B
The rise of street brands in the ‘80s and late ‘90s changed the way the world saw and embraced fashion. While the importance of design, cut and material were still prevalent, there were new aesthetics and values that defined success. Brands like Stussy, BAPE and FUCT were born out of a desire to convey cultural identity through the iconography of youth culture. The triumph of streetwear exemplifies the importance of branding and culture that consumers now look to when deciding what to wear. The logos emblazoned across Shawn Stussy’s T-shirts for example marked a path for fashion as a type of lifestyle, one that celebrated street culture with everything from Californian surf style to urban sensibilities. Subsequent to the surge of culture-driven brands, many cities have had their subcultures acclaimed through fashion thanks to the support of local brands, as well as independent retailers willing to educate its customers with the labels they carry. Taking inspiration from its predecessors, Brooklyn We Go Hard is emerging from the Parisian fashion landscape with a vision of art in mind and a likewise passion for culture. Its goals and values are to raise awareness for the artists of today, using the medium of fashion to share their expression with not just Paris, but on an international scale. Its strong interest in creativity – more so on a contemporary aesthetic – is an ever-present aspect of their designs and what sets its stride above others is its inspiring seasonal publication, as well as various special projects developed with leading retailers and brands such as Kitsuné, colette and Opening Ceremony. BWGH hopes to set a new standard of appreciation for streetwear, a feat it aims to achieve by maintaining open relationships and thinking ahead. David Obadia, one of the two founders behind the brand, explains this prognosticatic sense of mind best, and delves into the process of creating fashion today.
The Process of Building a Brand BWGH is probably one of the faster growing brands in the streetwear industry these past years. Who are you and what is your secret? I am David Obadia, a 24-year-old life-lover born and raised in Paris. I have always been very interested in art and fashion, following a lot what was going on in New York and Tokyo. I created the brand BWGH in May 2010 with my friend Nelson Hassan, a selfmade entrepreneur who already had a background 102
in the textile industry. Meanwhile, when a bunch of my friends had started traveling the world, following their respective passion; I was stuck in college for five years pursuing a marketing degree. I eventually started working with Stephane Ashpool from Pigalle, and learned a lot from him. He helped me understand that you cannot calculate everything within our field; a brand identity comes mostly from the identity of the people behind it, and from the people who end up wearing it. Fashion is something very spontaneous, and the best way to be relevant nowadays is to really pay attention to what is happening on the streets. I am very grateful to him for having shared with me his vision on not only fashion, but also on how important of a relationship a brand has to have with culture, music and its core values. We now know BWGH as a brand offering full outfits, from dress shirts to chinos to leather jackets. How did you start this project? The brand comes from a desire to create a fashion project with a real artistic view. We started gathering young photographers we loved back in 2010 to create an artistic collective. Then came the idea to print their work on T-shirts and make a distinctive product promoting young talents. We kept working from this moment on to develop a whole collection, and we now have a complete wardrobe with all essential pieces, from outerwear to accessories. The idea of starting a brand is always hard, when it comes to choosing a name and figuring out what exact direction you want things to take. In our case, things have evolved quickly out of true energy. The evolution of BWGH has and will always follow what we feel is right for the moment. Your products are found all over the world in some of the most selective and inf luential stores. How did you manage to get the brand carried by such retailers? At the very beginning of our brand's journey, we decided to participate in fashion trade shows like Capsule, Tranoï and Rendez-Vous. We exhibited our line in the three major places we believed were important: Paris, New York and Berlin. In this way, we were able to meet many retailers from various countries. The interaction was simple, they would come to us. However, we always wanted to have a selection policy with the choice of retailers. We have always aimed to work with people that would translate our story and reflect our brand values. We choose shops who exude a good global energy, and surround themselves with other brands that we admire. We especially love shops that mix high
fashion and streetwear, developing a real style philosophy and always sticking to an artistic view. This approach to consumerism is not telling the client what to wear but educating them about fashion, art and culture. BWGH is about creating personal style and these retailers are major supporters of independence and self-expression, shown not only through their brands but also through their clients.
The Process of Designing a Collection Your last collection was based on the city of Burano in Italy. How do you choose the themes for your collections? The starting point of a collection is always an experience, whether it is a film, a photo, or a trip. When thinking of inspiration for our Spring/Summer 2013 collection, the images of my recent trip through Italy with my girlfriend immediately came to mind. I was seduced by the rich colors, vibrant atmosphere and intoxicating energy of the fisherman island of Burano. On a larger scale, I think every experience I live can lead to a collection. It is just a matter of transforming and translating what surrounds us into a final object as simple as a piece of clothing. We are trying to make garments that can facilitate creativity and stimulate people to express themselves. At the end
of the day we are just a brand, our products are just pieces of fabric and what we value the most is the experience of sharing our love for art and design, as well as our life values. Speaking of fabric, where do you source yours from? Our fabrics come from all over the world. Each season, we select the fabrics we are going to work with at fabric trade shows like Première Vision in Paris and Pitti Filati in Milan. Sourcing fabrics is a key aspect in the process of designing a product – most people will judge the quality of a shirt on the type of cotton that is being used. At these shows, we meet with suppliers from every continent and choose what we think is best regarding each category of product for the whole collection. For example, we have been working with Liberty London for our printed shirts. Some suppliers appear as staples to the public, and it helps build a trust between the brand and the customers. For other shirt fabrics, we have also been working with Kawamura and Maruwa, two companies from Japan offering the most qualitative cotton we found for what we do. Recently, we have been trying to create more unexpected pieces such as our Suede Bomber jackets. For these types of products, we prefer to work with smaller manufacturing companies that we source locally within the heart of Paris, offering a very unique “savoir-faire,” with a real passion for their craft.
The Process of Expanding a Brand Since the brand’s birth, you have quickly collaborated with some of the most renowned entities in the industry, from Opening Ceremony to colette. How did these projects happen? We have been lucky enough to have always been able to meet and work with people we like, since our first season. The first collaborative project we did was with Opening Ceremony. While they were in Paris for their buying, their team came to a trade show we were exhibiting at, and they liked our work. We had been big fans of Opening Ceremony, for their collections as well as for their beautiful retail ventures for a while. When two entities enjoy what each other is doing, I believe it makes sense for them to collaborate on items that will mark the beginning of a story. The same thing happened with other stores and brands such as colette and Le Bon Marché… Kitsuné was another incredible project! The best indicator of this success came from our customers, as the products were sold out very quickly. Collaborating with others also allows us to work with people we really look up to, like my mentor Ronnie Fieg. It is a part of our work that really makes us proud of what we have achieved and we're grateful to have connected with such amazine people. For the past two seasons, you have been publishing a magazine. Why did you feel the need to create your
own communication tool? As soon as we got a wide enough distribution, we decided to launch our seasonal magazine. Sharing stories and cultural values was our goal from the start – it is in our DNA. I believe that high fashion brands are strong because they are really good technically. On the other hand, streetwear brands build their identity on the environment and community they create around them. For BWGH, my goal is to build a bridge between these two ideas. It means working hard to reach a high technical level while keeping pertinent creatively. Hav i ng bu i lt suc h a n e x tensive col lec t ion sold throughout an impressive selection of retailers in only three years, what can we expect from BWGH and yourself in the future? We have done our best to develop more qualitative products every season since the beginning. Our purpose is to make our customers understand and appreciate the evolution of the brand from every single detail. It could either be a strong piece in the collection, or an interview of a wonderful individual in the magazine. We want BWGH to be more than a clothing line. As for myself, I plan to travel more in the near future, build more relationships with like-minded people across the globe, get inspired by interesting object that may come across my way, and eventually one day open our first retail store in Paris.
Top by BWGH
REPOSE BWGH Photography J A M E S P E R RY Styling K E L LY A N N H U G E S Hair & Make Up M I C H I KO YO S H I DA Photo Assistant & Retoucher H I D E Models K U M I K E A Z O N a t M O D E L S 1
Top, jacket and hat by BWGH
Top and hat by BWGH
Jumper, shirt and hat by BWGH
Top by BWGH
Louis Wong I N T E RV I E W BY DAV I S H U Y N H P H O T O G R A P H Y BY RYA N K I B L E R
As a noun, a process is described as something that is developed over time; a painstaking series of experiments and errors that ultimately, hopefully, results in something great. For a designer, developing a process is an inherent component to the work. This is true for painters, writers and other artisans, yet especially true in the competitive realm of fashion – a field rife with reiteration, fashion repeats itself and so on. Despite all this, there are a myriad of young designers with a flare for the ostentatious, creating outlandishly detailed collections in the name of fashion for its own progressive sake. Some of them are quite successful, while others are too quirky for their own good. In the thick of this frenetic industry is an unfazed Louis Wong, the presiding head designer of A.P.C. and formerly a men’s designer at Louis Vuitton. As a brand, A.P.C. bears little regard for trends. Guided by the principles of founder Jean Touitou, the label’s insistence on simple silhouettes, clean lines, and otherwise subtle design has generated a cult following amongst both consumers and other designers. This appreciation for minimalism need not be confused with a lack of inspiration. In fact, like any great design, A.P.C.’s aesthetic has been refined and meticulously adjusted over time until it developed its own identity – one inevitably separate from the canon of French custom. It’s beautifully fitting that after four years of working for Louis Vuitton, Wong would take the helm as head designer of A.P.C. The transition draws parallels with an age-old balance between old and young – where one thrives on the runway, the other finds life when worn on the streets. Wong is strikingly similar to A.P.C.’s ethos. A reserved, calculated man by nature, he understands his work for the brand as the culmination of experiences with Louis Vuitton. Wong recently released the second edition of his collection under the A.P.C. umbrella: Louis W. The line is simple: a tasteful range of jackets, printed tops and pants, each of which draw inspiration from a specific place and time in history. Within the collection, we find the story of an adventurous male, and the overlap between classic European and American street styles. Each piece represents a staple, a summary, and homage of modes before it. When asked about his newest collection, Wong alludes to his own personal process: finding his strength in designing rugged, yet elegant masculine looks. Where his first collection was somewhat tapered, here we see Wong expressing the many facets of his A.P.C. man: brooding, mature and naturally dashing. A heavily coveted gold lamb army jacket is the loudest piece in the collection, yet still retains a classic cool. 112
Wong’s line could have only been developed by virtue of contrast to the ornate work of his past. It is this sense of procedure; the maturation of his work over time, that makes Wong an ideal subject for the Process issue. The following is but a brief insight into one of fashion’s most creative working professionals – a reminder that greatness is the result of practice, as simplicity is of complexity.
A.P.C. is a brand that’s consistent with simple and elegant designs and colorways. Can you explain this particular overarching style? I think that Jean Touitou (A.P.C. founder), when he started the brand, had a strong idea of what it would be… well he started in the late ‘80s. I think the late ‘80s were one of the worst times in fashion (laughs), but that’s just my opinion. Everything from the ‘80s was exaggerated. It was a messy time in fashion. He came up with this concept of super-clean, pure aesthetics and I think it’s still relevant now. Even though fashion has changed, many looks have been inspired by A.P.C. in their basic aspects. What inspired you to become a designer? I always liked the way clothes can reveal somebody’s personality. The way clothes tell you what your background is, what your influences are, what you’re interested in. It’s always been the social aspect. So I think that’s what pushed me to become a designer. When you design clothes, especially when you design real clothes, I love that aspect that shows personality. How did you get your start as a designer in the fashion world? I got an internship at [Louis] Vuitton menswear and became a designer there for four years. Were there any lessons you learned from Vuitton that you applied at A.P.C.? Well, it’s practically the opposite. Basically I was there when they started menswear and it was actually always really strong in terms of themes. Fashion has changed now because it’s much more artistic, especially in menswear. But when I started menswear it was much more about bringing a strong theme and strong story. And I really like this aspect. What about in developing A.P.C. lines? Well, it was a bit strange at the beginning. I had this strong idea of A.P.C. and I couldn’t really see it when I was there; maybe because I had this weird memory of it. I think just little by little you try to bring
back the core aspect of A.P.C. I guess it was about making it more about proper clothes. It was largely about sportswear when I arrived a long time ago, but my thoughts on A.P.C. were not so much about sportswear. In fact, I thought it was much more about real clothes – grown-up clothes. How did your Louis W. line for A.P.C. come into fruition? Did you think of it as an extension of A.P.C. or are you trying to keep your line separate? Actually it’s a bit of both. It is an extension because it’s through A.P.C. and I worked with A.P.C. The style is kind of logical for the brand. It’s a really small collection so it has to be really powerful in terms of meaning. It has to have its own life, but remain inside A.P.C. For a while, we discussed with Jean the way we could make things evolve because my position is quite clear with the brand. I design for the spirit of A.P.C., and I wanted to offer and create a proper image. The idea was to have a vision that was a bit different than A.P.C. I suggested to Jean that Louis W. was a good idea because it was different. You could have a different price range and also I wanted to focus on just one item and not an outfit. Those were the two main points I think; just to focus on a piece of clothing and the fact that it’s a bit different from the range of A.P.C.
big in music and movies, you can always take some basic elements from. But for now, I would say all the new R&B and hip-hop artists in New York. All the news faces that people talk a lot about like Frank Ocean, A$AP Rocky. There’s always a new one every month. But that’s kind of what I find fun actually, and they’re also stylish. They’re almost too “fashion,” but in a way I think it’s healthy that they have such a strong fashion sense. I also like the mix of the proper American style and their interest in European style. I think that’s really rich at the moment. If you weren’t a designer, what else would you be doing? Perhaps work in movies. I wanted to be a screenwriter when I was little. Final words? Follow your personal world. I have a feeling that so many people are just into what comes up, you know? Sometimes you wonder if that has anything to do with their own background.
Tell us about the jacket pieces in your collection. Basically there was an aviator, a motorcycle, and a more classic bomber. Three styles, and then afterwards there were variations in terms of quality. Within the first collection we tried to mix leather and fabric but now we are much more focused on just leather because it makes more sense for the story. But for the first one, we kind of mixed textures just to give a proper story. But I try to keep the same general style. Obviously it’s always a bit different but you know you will also have continuity. That’s something I like. What was the first article of clothing you designed? Wow, that’s really, really tough actually. I designed a line of T-shirts when I was younger that I sold in stores. It was kind of handmade artisan T-shirts, dressup T-shirts (laughs). That was ages ago! Yeah, I guess that was the first thing I designed and it wasn’t printed, it was more the cut of the T-shirt. As a designer, do you feel you can design anything, or are you open to designing other areas or just into specifics? No, no. Some people are good at it (laughs)! I even think there are lots of areas in fashion I wouldn’t touch because it’s not my world – super dressed up women, it’s obviously not in A.P.C. style. If you know what you’re good at, I think it’s good to focus on it and to expand it. I know I’ve found my strength. I know it’s mostly the masculine world and the masculine world in womenswear too. What is your biggest source of influence as a designer? It changes all the time, but my biggest influence would be popular culture in general. I think what’s 115
IDLE A.P.C. Photography FA N N Y L AT O U R L A M B E RT Fashion Editor M A D E L E I N E Ã˜ S T L I E Grooming A L I C E O L I V E R u s i n g B O B B I B ROW N C O S M E T I C S & B U M B L E A N D B U M B L E H A I R P RO D U C T S Model T O BY a t E L I T E a n d DY L A N a t M O D E L S 1
Red jersey varsity sweatshirt and navy/white checked cotton shirt by A.P.C. Navy suede bomber jacket by LOUIS W. FOR A.P.C. OPPOSITE PAGE
Black leather jacket by LOUIS W. FOR A.P.C. Grey knitted roll neck jumper by A.P.C.
Navy breton striped knitted jumper and jeans by A.P.C. Camel suede bomber jacket by LOUIS W. FOR A.P.C. OPPOSITE PAGE
Brown suede bomber jacket by LOUIS W. FOR A.P.C. Blue patterned knitted jumper and jeans by A.P.C.
Brown suede biker jacket by LOUIS W. FOR A.P.C. Pale blue cotton shirt by A.P.C. OPPOSITE PAGE
Blue patterned knitted jumper and pale blue cotton shirt by A.P.C.
Nathan VanHook I N T E RV I E W BY J A M E S S H O R RO C K P H O T O G R A P H Y BY N I K E
In the realm of shoe design, most designers are relegated to living in the shadow of their work. There are some who transcend the shoe game to become icons in their own right, designers like Tinker Hatfield, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo to name a few. Nate VanHook may not be there yet but if his track record is anything to go by, it’s only a matter of time. His name doesn't necessarily ring a bell at first but as a reader of this publication, you're bound to be familiar with some of his works. In just five brief years in Beaverton, VanHook has worked on the Nike Aina Chukka, the ACG Lunarwood, the Woven Footscape Chukka, and the Lunar Flow among others. Not too shabby by any means, but the model that really put VanHook on the map was the Nike Air Yeezy II, one of the most recently coveted silhouettes within the sneaker realm. VanHook, the senior footwear designer of Nike Sportswear was born and raised near Washington, D.C. and attended Philadelphia University's Industrial Design program. After graduating, he would spend a short stint teaching before transitioning to freelance furniture design and onto wetsuit design. At the same time, VanHook had been expanding his artistic repertoire and had his sights set on a Master's of Fine Art degree from London's Central Saint Martins before a chance opening at NSW had him packing his bags for Oregon. We had a chance to catch up with Nate VanHook to unveil his latest creations. The designer was kind enough to share his take on footwear design, his favorite shoes, his latest work – the Nike Lunar Terra Arktos – and why the '80s was his favorite decade.
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself and what you do at Nike Sportswear? I’m a senior footwear designer at Nike, and I represent Nike Sportswear. I’ve been there for five years and my goal is to really push and create new silhouettes by using our best performance elements of design. I work with a small team of material, color and footwear designers, and help work with them on outdoor products and some special projects as well. W hat is it t hat at t racted you towa rds desig ning footwear? I was always a fan of shoes and sports growing up, and used to draw shoes as a kid. It’s a product that people wear every single day – it’s accessible, expressive, fun, and the fact that shoes from the ‘70s and shoes 122
from today are so different, it shows that there’s this progression in footwear that’s really amazing. And Nike, for me, is the top company in footwear because it immerses culture, design and art all together – my background is in design but I’m also really fond of art and sport, and it’s a great fuse of all these things. Is there a particular era that is most captivating to you, in terms of the overall aesthetic of the shoe? I grew up in the '80s and everything was super expressive, like the Bo Jackson and the Agassi shoes, but I would say today’s product is, to me, the most inspiring. Just to see what we’re doing with Flyknit and Free, everything that I see other people working on at Nike is so well thought-out. These shoes of the ‘80s – would you say they were what really kick started your desire to be involved in designing? I’ve always loved Nike, but I would say the Presto was one shoe that was definitely important for me. I was in college at the time and it was such a new, fun and playful model but it was also very functional, not only for athletes but also for everyday wear. That’s something that I think we do that’s great in sportswear, there’s all these performance attributes but it’s also great for everyday wear. And then there was this whole idea of “small, medium, large,” like a T-shirt for your feet, with the colorways and everything – that was such a breakthrough. And even the lace moldings, to me that was such a simple design but also very forward-thinking. Would you say that’s the most inspirational model for you? Or is there a bunch? I love the Presto, I love a lot of shoes, but when creating new footwear I’m not really looking at old footwear to get inspired. I’m always inspired by things like modern and futuristic architecture, furniture, artist editions, and even looking at totally different fields, like NASA and space. That stuff to me is really inspiring, it’s all about the future. Would you say that science fiction and its concept of creativity and design comes in to play with that? I wouldn’t really say science fiction but definitely the idea of forward-thinking. What’s great about [science fiction] though, is that it's so “blue sky” and people push so much. There’s all those classic movies, like Back to the Future, Minority Report or Star Wars – it’s never something bland, it’s always really forwardthinking, and I think that’s something we try to do too. I’m working on 2015 now and what people are going to want to wear then, and the big question
is what do you want the future to be? As designers we are really shaping the future and I do take that as a responsibility to keep pushing the envelope. Would you say that you are consciously shifting the design of the shoe towards the future? Is that something that’s always a consideration throughout the design process? We have so many designers at Nike and everyone’s really pushing and encouraging each other. I’ll go see what other designers are running and think “wow, how can I use that innovation to push myself?” And that definitely helps us to go from just taking things along to consciously creating a better product, and collectively solving new problems. Like with the Lunar Terra Arktos, we thought, let’s make a stand on what would be the ultimate lightweight boot, and by doing that you’re taking a lot into consideration and rethinking it in so many new ways so that, when the product is released, you know people are going to say “wow, I didn’t think a boot could do that.” This is the first time anything like this has been done – what was the big challenge with that? For the Lunar Terra Arktos we wanted to make a very lightweight boot, but also make it fully waterproof. So the idea here is that if you’re walking around New York or Russia or anywhere, if you’re ever stuck [in a situation where you need it] you’re always fully protected. And then there’s also this idea of the bootie
pulling out. I used to work at a wetsuit company before and we had booties for surfing when it was really cold out, and that’s where I got this idea of incorporating a system so that instead of having all this thick, puffy lining, we use a foam material that's puffed out – you instead have breathability without compromising warmth. We wanted it to be warm, waterproof and functional, while also allowing it to be a boot that you can scuff up, break in and flex. By having the innovation of Hyperfuse you can create this really thin skin that you don’t need a lot of for protection and durability. We were just in Russia a month ago and we were showing this to the kids, and they were like “this is the Moscow boot!” It’s amazing because we were there in April and there was snow all over – they’d just had a huge snowstorm. It’s really just heavy snow and blizzards from October all the way to April, and everyone’s in boots for six months of the year. So, if I can make a boot that is something people want to wear at the Sochi Olympic Games, or the everyday guy or girl to wear around Moscow, it’s also going to work in New York, in Beijing, and in Shanghai. So it’s sort of about making these lofty goals that would be great for everybody. Is there ever a time where you go overboard with the design? The interesting thing about the Arktos is there’s inspiration from the Zvezdochka, the Marc Newson design shoe, but also from the simple function behind
the Matryoshka dolls. There’s this idea of the stacking doll that they had in Russia where you have like six different dolls inside each other – this idea of objects within objects. So for me, it can be a super simple design, and the idea, I think, for a good design is holding things back. At the end of the day, once the objects are assembled, I can look at it and say “a waterproof shell and a bootie.” The idea is to put as much as you can in, and then slowly start pulling it away, analyzing it, and wondering what you can do. I could show you the Terra Arktos and tell you all the different functions that are on it, but what matters is that I can show it to you using just that one uniting concept – that’s what’s really important. Breaking the idea down to the simplest point is the hardest thing in design, but also where you see breakthroughs. From this ‘less is more’ aspect, can you expand a little about the process of stripping it down? Is this a team effort and how does this work with other inf luencers, how do you come to an agreement? Everything at Nike is a team effort whether it’s design and business, to launching a new product. But as far as the process goes, the initial idea is setting these lofty goals and then working on what innovations we can use to solve the problems, and becoming handson very early. For instance, this “Solarsoft” stuff – the idea was to create barefoot footwear but have it be the kind that you would want to wear everyday. So harder foam within a softer foam. Another great thing is that it has a little lip on it, which is an older technique in shoe manufacturing and basically just stitching the upper to the lip, but you can create a whole bunch of silhouettes. We had this idea to create something lightweight and super soft, and it was such a huge team effort that worked with everyone from manufacturing to the business team, etc. That speaks for the Inneva, the Arktos, everything. Everyone is part of this huge process.
that model?” because it’s so new to you. I want to continue that and use the innovations that people are working on. And I think that process is fun more than anything, it’s exciting. The Arktos isn’t a fully-fused shoe, we have leather because as a boot you want something to break in and age well. So we have that mix between a material that gets better with age, and a material that doesn’t age – so there’s this idea of taking something that’s familiar and bringing to it something that’s unfamiliar, merging the two, and then bringing my own twist to it. It’s an 18-month process for a reason, you work on these products for a long time but there are all these hiccups that come along on the way – but that's the fun of it, there’s these things coming back to you and when you see the product now I realize I’ve seen 10 iterations to get here – from me cobbling, to sketching, to working on patterns. I personally enjoy it. Like if I go to a furniture exhibition or something and I get to see all the original sketches and prototypes, that’s what I think is the coolest part. What are your favorite shoe designs of the past year? For shoe designs in general, the Flyknit Marathon is my favorite that has come out in a long time. I also enjoy the Lunar Eclipse running shoe a lot, and all the stuff that Nike Running is doing with Shield technology. Then there’s the signature product – the LeBron and the Kobe which are super expressive. In terms of sportswear, I respect what they did with the Lunar Force 1 in keeping the iconic silhouette and making it so lightweight, but the Flyknits to me is the most amazing stuff that I’ve seen in a while.
When did the merging of performance and functionality to a lifestyle aesthetic come about in shoe design for you? As a young kid, all the shoes I loved were actually performance shoes. That’s what I think the great thing about sportswear is. The Air Max 1 was like the most performance-driven shoe at the time and people adapted this product for their everyday life, so it’s always been performance worn as lifestyle. I’m creating new product for sportswear, I want to take performance elements from what’s going on now and put them in the product. Who doesn’t want the most comfortable and lightweight product? If it’s good enough to win the Olympics, it’s good enough for you walking around the city throughout the day. It’s something that’s always happened, it’s just the fact that now you have this amazing background built up of product that people can wear. But for me I’m trying to push the envelope, I want to give you something you see and you’re like “wow, what is that?” As a kid when I would get an Agassi or a Bo Jackson, you would look at it and think “wow, what is 125
Shubhankar Ray I N T E RV I E W BY D O U G L A S B RU N DAG E P H O T O G R A P H Y BY M AV E R I C K I N M A N
Fashion is frivolous. By definition the term and the industry that it has spawned connotes beauty as well as an ethereal trendiness. As fads ebb and flow, a garment that was considered supremely fashionable in one season could lose all credibility overnight. As the infamous Coco Chanel adage goes, “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” Nonetheless, one of the most ubiquitous, workwearincepted fabrics in history has also evolved to become a trademark in the spheres of both fashion and style: denim. Collectors fetishize it. Fans go through irrational rituals to create the best experience possible. Owners can’t explain why, but despite a plethora of unfixable tears, unsightly stains and irreversible fades, they’ll never throw out their favorite pair of jeans. The charm of the material is that it grows alongside its wearer. Whether spun on vintage looms in an old factory somewhere in Japan, mass-produced in an anonymous factory for the sake of utility, or custom tailored to a connoisseur’s body by Italian craftsmen, there is nothing as versatile and iconic as a pair of jeans. The story of denim is a long and fascinating one rooted firmly in the material’s historic utility, originally marketed to gold prospectors and workmen. It was invented in Nîmes, France during the Middle Ages (more on that later). Made from woven cotton twill, the fabric is differentiated by the incorporation of indigo dyes into the weave, lending it a trademark blue hue. Eventually denim made its way into military and work uniforms around the globe. In 1873, Levi Strauss was granted a patent for using copper rivets to secure pockets on denim trousers, and the modern pair of jeans was born. Since then, advances in technology have allowed fashion brands like Dior Homme to create masterful works of wearable art by coating denim in wax, infusing it with stretch fabric, and dying it spectacular colors. Purist brands like Flat Head have found an obsessive fan base clamoring for raw jeans made with special equipment and left untouched in terms of treatment and wash. Classicists can always rest easy knowing that Levi’s is still around and kicking, stitching its trademark “arcuate” onto the back pockets of thousands of new fans every year. With such a voracious base of customers, dozens of “designer denim” brands have popped up over the last decade. Despite the undeniable demand, it remains difficult to differentiate oneself in the market when the same fabrics, technology, and distribution channels are essentially available to anyone with the funding and fashion-savvy to launch their own label. The question remains: In a time of fast fashion and globalization, 126
how can brands make a pair of jeans special anymore? Maverick Dutch brand G-Star RAW decided to let the consumer do it for them. In 1989 G-Star RAW was founded under the mantra of “just the product.” Since then, the ramshackle European operation has expanded to around 350 boutiques worldwide, millions of pairs of jeans sold and dozens of celebrity advocates. Following a “three dimensional” approach to denim design, G-Star RAW uses unconventional techniques like high-fashion body molds, metal threading and experimental conceptualization exercises. The brand’s downtown Manhattan showroom and HQ is littered with bizarre “experiments” and joint projects including a jacket custom-made for a greyhound skeleton, a guitar completely ensconced in metal, and a special collaboration with dubstep producer Skrillex. Jeans come in every shape and size from a polymercoated black pair that doubles as slick leather pants to cardboard-stiff raw straight leg pieces. Here, we catch up with Global Brand Director Shubhankar Ray at a chat about the history of his favorite material, marketing old-school products in the digital age, and the future of G-Star RAW.
Why are jeans one of, if not the most iconic piece of clothing? If you look at the birth of street fashion and the real catwalk, which is the street, it is all about how things bubble up: without a strategy and without a plan. If you look at the most iconic pieces of streetwear, they are all made by technicians and product engineers, not by designers. So function comes before form – it’s more like industrial design than fashion design. The thing about denim is that it has this ability to cut through all barriers of race, taste, gender, sexuality, location and age. The origin of denim is work clothing so it’s something that has an enormous heritage around it. It’s “of the people,” and a culture has emerged from that. It’s something that has gone beyond fashion… which has a built-in obsolescence. Every six months, trends are changing, but denim is a constant. It can gravitate between street and luxury, between high and low, between young and old. It is generally rare that you find a product that can have such a wide bandwidth. It can be worn by young, cool kids and also 72-year-old Hollywood actors and producers. You rarely come accross something like this.
W hy do you think G-Star R AW has amassed such a following among Hollywood types and celebrities? It’s a function of America and the American marketplace. However, it is rare for a brand to have fans [like] Justin Bieber wearing our product – from hoodies to denim jackets to jeans – and then at the same time have Jay Z wearing a wide array of G-Star RAW as well. And interestingly, Jay is not put off by Justin wearing it. With women, we have Kristen Stewart, Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron all wearing G-Star RAW. It’s the universal nature of denim. It’s very democratic and much more about appropriation rather than marketing. What do you mean by that – the “appropriation” factor? It means that the biggest player can spend multi-millions of dollars on an ad campaign yet that doesn’t mean, necessarily, that they win. There’s this appropriation factor, and that’s how a lot of new denim brands became cool. It stems from the street. The rules are made on the street. Therefore it exists almost entirely outside the “establishment.” It’s not a surprise that denim was there at the birth of rock ‘n’ roll – with Elvis, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe all wearing denim. This youth culture then got carried through the ages. Those are three of the USA’s most iconic cultural figures. Do you think there is something about denim that is distinctly American? The history of denim was made in America and the
culture was born in America. This is why you have a certain nostalgia for it [in the USA]. It’s why you have vintage collectors. How does G-Star fit in as a European brand? Interestingly, the mechanics of the denim business is as such: when you think of things coming from Europe, when you look at something like G-Star RAW, we’re not from that heritage world. We’re only 20 years old (as opposed to Levi’s 100 plus years). So we need to be more modern. There’s this duality in the denim industry and, in a way, when you’re part of the “new denim” movement, people aren’t looking for the same old shit. We make 5-pocket denim and core, classic offerings. But at the same time we need to innovate. So we’re modern and metropolitan as well. That’s a little bit the opposite of the crux of the jeans business, which is really coming from the countryside: a product for cowboys, farmers, steel workers and miners. Denim was born in the countryside. However, we were born in the city. We’re for the city. So we had to develop our own signature and have a clear point of distance. Wou ld you say, for G -Sta r R AW, t hat “point of distance” was pioneering in the field of raw denim? It’s in our brand name. We were one of the first brands to approach raw denim from a commercial standpoint. We were able to have a three-dimensional approach to design. Our head designer back in the day was inspired by a motorcyclist who had gotten stuck in
a rainstorm and he liked the way the bottoms of his jeans curved around his legs and also the texture of the wet fabric. This was his insight and that’s our differentiator – three-dimensional denim design. We give volume to the jeans. This Ellwood product (grabbing a pair of denim off a nearby shelf), for example… we’ve sold 40 million pairs of this jean. So it’s obviously reached a tipping point. The tradition of the denim business is a cut-and-sewn business, so it’s flat. We were developing a process of designing denim on 3D mannequins and looking at techniques of modern innovation so that we are able to, for example, create a pant where some of the product is unwashed and some of the product is washed and shrunken. We also bake some of our jeans in an oven which holds in the 3D shape. It’s not the standard jean. It’s more formed to the human body, and we think this is a modern approach. You can build in the character, as we do with our more advanced offerings, or you can create it yourself. Our job mentality is not to tell you how to dress or what is fashionable, our job is only to give you styling propositions. And in a way all fashion becomes about communication. In the end, denim puts the onus on you. You’re wearing it rather than it wearing you, while often in a lot of high fashion, the garment wears you. Would you say denim is a storytelling fabric? Yes and also it’s your personal story. When it’s raw that’s chapter one. Denim has the capacity to hold memory. People develop a personal relationship to it. People just won’t throw away their favorite jeans. Everyone has that damaged, ratty, un-wearable pair of jeans that they hold on to for some reason. And this is remarkable in the modern world because the modern world is so throwaway. We live in an attention economy – the economics are driven by attention. Yet people hold on to this democratic, easily available material. It’s not like it’s rare, yet people hold on to it. Eventually, the garment becomes yours because your character is imbued into that product. The only other iconic product like this is a pair of sneakers. What do you think fans of streetwear, denim and the like have in common that causes them to develop these emotional attachments? There is a maniacal quality to it. These people, people like you and I, we’re maniacs. The people making it are also maniacs. And the difference with sneakers is that when the sneakers age, the smell prevents it almost from becoming that denim item because most people won’t chuck them in the washing machine. With denim, you don’t wash away the character when you clean the jeans. You have lots of culture built into how to clean the denim, in fact. When I was 15 I had my first pair of shrink-to-fit Levi’s. I put them on, got in the bath and shrunk them to my sizing. I’ll never forget that. Some people freeze their denim. With my raw denim, I now try not to wash it ever. I don’t dryclean them. Often I’ll hang them on the back of a chair
and use a spray bottle to cover them with water and a little bit of perfume. Then it’s drying again with your shape built-in, and you no longer have the smell. Once again, it’s a product that you build yourself. We’re not giving you the character. We’re just giving you the material. What’s with the dog skeleton? In our ateliers, we’ve made some crazy denim objects such as the coat you see the greyhound skeleton wearing. It’s a design exercise. Making Prouvé furniture for our office, for example, can inform our store design. Each thing leaks over onto another. You see this in the video accompanying this – the concept of ‘destroy and destruct.’ From explosions [come] components of hard denim and hardware; from fabric rises a ballerina. What markets are your biggest fans from? We have fans in lots of different places. We’re biggest in Holland, Germany, the UK, and France. We’re relatively young in America – the home of denim. Well, actually the home of denim is France where it was used in sailboats in Nîmes. Hence the name “De Nîmes,” which means it comes from Nîmes in the south of France. It was shortened to “denim.” But anyway, in America, we concentrate on the major cities – LA, New York, Miami, San Francisco. I see some really maniacal fans in America, and we’ve been appropriated by Hollywood and the music business. By the time we were showing at New York Fashion Week, we had a showroom in LA with absolutely no staff. It was only until 2008 that we started operating more and more within the entertainment industry, and they use it in their downtime. It’s not for getting dressed for an event. It’s them using it as a garment that they actually like. What best characterizes G-Star R AW’s marketing campaigns? Bringing contradictory characters together like we did with Liv Tyler and [international chess champion] Magnus Carlsen. This season, we’re highlighting Serge, the guitarist from Kasabian and American ballerina Keenan Kampa, who was the first non-Russian to graduate from the legendary Mariinsky Ballet. Rankin shot the campaign; Kasabian did the music for it and it will be downloadable, of course. What other brands do you look up to from a cultural standpoint? We like both vintage and modern brands. There’s a rich history in denim culture with some of Levi’s vintage garments as classics. I wouldn’t say I look up to them but we respect them. Then there are brands like Supreme, which has elevated the culture of streetwear to art. I think this is similar today with brands like our own – you have to be passionate about it and be able to elevate your culture. For example, it’s unheard of to go to New York Fashion Week with a denim brand. Yet we were able to elevate the idea of denim by implementing a new level of craftsmanship into the democratic fabric. We’re like super-specialists in a mass market. 129
DEVIL MAY CARE Photography LI N DSAY AR M S T R O N G Styling AT IP W Art Direction B R E N DO N C L E AVE R Grooming M IC HIK O Y O S HIDA Model KO N AN HAN B U RY a t M O DE L S 1 Stylist Assistant DAVEY CL AR K E Photo Assistant J O E S PH S E R E S IN Retouching PRO VI SI O N STUDIO S Digital Operator C R U S O E W E S T O N
MONCLER GRENOBLE Hooded gilet DODD CLOTHING Overcoat
CARHARTT WIP Denim jacket and jeans, MONCLER GAMME BLEU Trench coat, KRISVANASSHE Shoes OPPOSITE PAGE
MONCLER GRENOBLE Shirt, JOHN VARVATOS Jacket, PENFIELD ‘Millwood’ chino
KRISVANASSHE Shirt LOUIS W FOR A.P.C Gold bomber jacket OPPOSITE PAGE
CARHARTT WIP Blazer DODD CLOTHING Mac KRISVANASSHE FOR LEE Jeans JOHN VARVATOS Boots WORLDS END VIVIENNE WESTWOOD Hat
JOHN VARVATOS Knit jumper and suede jacket, PENFIELD ‘Campbell’ hooded shirt, BLK DNM Jeans, TWOTHIRDS Scarf, REDWING Boots
LANVIN Short sleeve top and blazer, MONCLER GAMME BLEU Lifesaver vest, HEAD PORTER ‘Tanker’ rucksack, THOM BROWNE Sunglasses
KARL BY KARL LAGERFELD Cardigan and scarf, LANVIN Blazer, MONCLER GAMME BLEU Lifesaver vest, BLK DNM Jeans, KRISVANASSHE Shoes, WORLDS END BY VIVIENNE WESTWOOD Hat OPPOSITE PAGE
CARHARTT WIP Polka dot shirt, MONCLER GRENOBLE Bomber jacket
Orange tab long sleeve t-shirt by LEVIS VINTAGE
WEEKENDER Levi’s® Vintage Photography E W E N S P E N C E R Photographer’s Assistant / Retoucher H A R RY WAT T S Stylist G L E N N K I T S O N Stylist Assistant J O H N H AY L E S Model J AC K B E L G ROV E , E D H U B E RT a n d A K I N O L A DAV I E S
Striped shirt and sta rest trousers, 50s sweatshirt and chinos by LEVIâ€™S VINTAGE
Velour striped sweater, washed 501 jeans, 50s sweatshirt and chinos by LEVIâ€™S VINTAGE
PARIS SOUND Pigalle
Photography DA N I E L L A B E N E D E T T I Styling S T E P H A N E A S H P O O L a n d C H R I S T O P H E V I C T O O R
Walter Mecca: musician wears a PIGALLE jersey long parka. Kirikoo Des: musician, dancer, digital artist wears PIGALLE wool long coat, rustic trousers and a wool hat. Bonnie Banane: rapper wears a PIGALLE leather bomber jacket.
Mr X: music producer, DJ wears PIGALLE rustic jacket, rustic jumpsuit and wool chapka hat. Yanniv Goodman: DJ, designer wears a PIGALLE mohair jacket and a FĂœRTHER jumpsuit.
Tez: beatbox artist wears a PIGALLE felt long sweat hoodie.
Jimmy Whoo: music producer wears PIGALLE box tee and jacquard bombers jacket.
ManarĂŠ: music producer, DJ wears a PIGALLE gabardine jumpsuit and NOIR NOIR cap and bomber jacket.
BARBOUR The quintessential British brand bringing function with design through the generations
WO R D S BY A RT H U R B R AY P H O T O G R A P H Y BY E M L I B E N D I X E N
A br a nd s t e e p e d i n t r ad it io n a nd s y no ny mou s w it h practicality, Barbour's appeal is not simply in its quality tailoring but also in its heritage which spans over five generations of family-owned business since 1894. Hailing from the northeast of England, its craftsmanship is known to be passed down from one generation to the next, in turn attracting admirers across the ages. Trademarked for its perfected use of waxed cotton and lightweight quilting, Barbour’s products serve customers that are looking for outerwear that’s both durable and undemanding. Functional without compromising comfort or fit, the jackets provide a finishing layer to a city gent’s suit or a workingman’s shirt – engaging demographics across the board. T he 1940 s saw t he rise of B a rbou r i n t he real m of motorcycling – a domain that lasted four decades and c e m e nt e d t he bra nd’s reput at ion a nd app e a l for t he adventurous, daring and rebellious. In a very different arena, the British navy adapted Barbour clothing for its uniform, attracted by its minimalist yet practical design. Nowadays, classic staples – like the Liddersdale jacket with its corduroy collar, diamond quilting and two large front pockets; and the Soldway jacket with its belted waist, four flap pockets and throat latch – are seen on the sophisticated, young and trendy. Regardless of changing times, Barbour is among the
rare brands that remain relevant some 120 years since its inception, and it has its simple yet meticulous values to thank for that. Without excessive embellishments and utilizing only the required details needed to serve its purpose, Barbour’s design comes from its earnest approach in crafting with the finest fabrics. This provides not only a dashing appearance when brand new, but also a quiet maturity when broken in. While some brands find leverage in “fair wear and tear” beliefs, Barbour’s “made to be worn” motif shows the jackets to improve over time, combining age with elegance in the continuity of modern classics. If Barbour’s 11 independent retail shops in the UK and worldwide customer base are not enough to convince, perhaps its three Royal Warrants to supply waterproof and outdoor clothing to the Royal Family will remove any doubts. The notion that many contemporaries find interest in a brand that’s over a century old speaks volumes on Barbour’s longevity in its chosen genre. The brand fits harmoniously into this issue’s Process theme, with the word holding nothing but the highest regard for Barbour's craftsmanship. We caught up with key members and longstanding employees of Barbour who shared with us the important aspects that make up the brand, its respected heritage, and how “beyond repair” are words rarely spoken by the staff. 159
Product During production, we mark every piece with its order number, size, pattern piece label, etc. so customers can see exactly how much care and effort goes into making the garment.
Change Change is inevitable, so the customer has to be behind the change and that’s what helps drive things through. Sometimes people are reserved about the need to change because we’ve been doing things a certain way for so long, and yes it’s true that we have been doing things right, which is why we’re still here. But at the same time you’ve still got to open yourself up and look at other ideas. If you can understand and explain why you’re doing things, then you’re on your way, but you can’t keep hanging on to the past – it’s good to have your memories, but you have to think of what’s coming next.
Heritage Barbour has been talking about its newest design since October last year, and it was difficult because we needed to get new fabrics before we started production. We’ve worked with jackets that have similar features and materials in the past, as well as the weight, the system, and the operators. Some of the newer jackets are based on older designs in our archives, and it’s great because it’s gone full circle – we try to keep in touch with the heritage.
Repair If a garment needs to be fixed, it is taken to the center where the ladies work on it. One jacket might take a few minutes to re-stitch, while another might take three or four hours. People will come in with jackets that have been with them for generations, and it’s rare that we say anything is beyond repair. It’s unusual for people to have a generational affection to their clothing, but what's even more unusual is that they can get it mended. When it comes to the wax finish, we’ve tried a few different ways, but the one we have traditionally used has proven to be the most effective. It generally takes 15-20 minutes to re-wax the jackets, but on occasion it can take 3040 minutes because for some jackets the wax has to be redone at a cooler temperature.
Process We always start with five jackets before we dive into production. That way, we get a bit of a confidence and are able to spot any problems. There’s a difference between dealing with samples and the actual production process. With samples, if we meet any problems we only have to deal with one or two rather than a few hundred. It takes a little over an hour to complete a jacket, but we try not to rush it so that we get it right. It’s crucial that we take the right amount of seam off, and that we get the jackets matched so that when you wear them, everything is perfectly symmetrical.
THE FRYE COMPANY Continuing Americaâ€™s legacy in artisanal footwear through innovation and design
WO R D S BY E U G E N E K A N P H O T O G R A P H Y BY J E R RY B U T T L E S
There’s a lot to be said about brands that still manufacture within their country of origin. Many developing countries with an eager workforce are looked to for production to satisfy their desire for double-digit GDP growth. Across Asia, this effectively shifted the scope of producing for many different industries over the course of the last half century. Yet the last few years have seen a strong revival in regards to domestically-made and artisanal goods, which comes to represent a more honest and, at times, a more emotionally connected product. The Frye Company is among the growing legion of brands that have made it their mission to help continue the legacy of America’s strong production history. Its interest in pushing itself forward and bringing the art of manufacturing back into the limelight is nothing short of admirable, especially given the fact that manufacturing overseas has become an important economic consideration for many companies. One hundred and fifty years of history have provided The Frye Company with generations of knowledge in getting the job done. Many people have set out with the same pair of 166
Frye boots for multiple generations, and the design remains timeless. Upon the acquisition of its first Goodyear welting machine in Massachusetts back in 1923, the use of the breakthrough machinery along with the other 190 steps of product perfection has guaranteed a product that will stand the test of time – the examples and testimonials are plentiful. Along the way The Frye Company has amassed a series of production firsts in America. Whether it is the transition to the aforementioned Goodyear welt or the move towards electric power versus steam in its factories, the desire to innovate is delicately threaded within the brand’s heritage links. Timeless footwear aside, The Frye Company is positioned as a fashion brand under the watchful guidance of Creative Director Michael Petry. An extensive chat with the head creative provided us with an in-depth look into The Frye Company’s internal production process as well as the brand’s strategy towards manufacturing. As we see many legacy brands fight for relevance in a rapidly changing landscape, Petry seems to have a firm grasp on what’s needed to maintain The Frye Company’s past, all the while looking ahead.
In addition to this interview, a video supplement will appear on Hypebeast.com that will provide a dynamic look into The Frye Company’s factory and provide a moving picture into the production of high-quality American-made boots.
Can you tell us a little bit about what makes The Frye Company what it is? We’re the oldest continuously operating shoe company in the United States, so we have a long history of making shoes here – we have a long history of artisanal footwear. We make an incredibly high quality product that I think has really stood the test of time. I think that’s what the brand is about in a nutshell. With an obvious pride in its heritage, how much of the company’s traditions are relevant today? It’s twofold. We still make shoes the same way we did in 1923 when we first got the Goodyear welting machine in Massachusetts – the constructions were made the same way
with the same kind of attention to detail, and the same kind of craftsmanship, but I think that throughout the years there’s been an evolution of what the patterns and silhouettes look like. As a 150-year-old company we’ve definitely seen updates, from what the company looks like to the construction, and we’re as universally well-worn and well-proven as a 150-yearold brand could be, but the silhouettes are modern and we keep the ball rolling forward. Has there been a strict upkeep of these traditions regarding the creative and manufacturing sides to the company, or is The Frye Company only forward-looking? Is it a mix of the two? I think it’s a mix of the two. It’s certainly a balance that we like to give people. I think we do that based off of the way we make our shoes and the 190-step process – the amount of hands that touch the shoe and the pride and care, the things that are core elements to what make the brand. But, we’re also always forward-looking, if we look back at our history we were always thinking ahead. We were the first footwear company to use electricity and were the first company to move from 167
steam power to an electrical-powered factory, and moving from a cement shoe to a Goodyear-welted shoe. We’re innovators but you always have to pay attention to what got you here. Functionality in its footwear was the focus of the company when it first opened. What can you tell us of the focus in design today? We don’t consider ourselves to be a fashion company, we consider ourselves to be a footwear company and a brand that makes shoes that are comfortable. I think one of the coolest things we’ve heard was when we were at our photoshoot, and this guy was telling us how their badass biker friend said he had been wearing our Frye’s for the last 20 years. So the functionality of the shoe is really what puts us on the map. I think it’s an enduring brand, I think it’s a brand that stood the test of time because of its functionality, so it’s certainly a huge element in what we do. With other ‘Made in America’ shoe companies out there (Red Wing Shoes, Timberland, Wolverine, etc.), what was the process like to maintain individuality while growing as a company? 168
We have a lot of respect for everyone who makes shoes, obviously in general but also within the United States. It’s nice to be in good company with some of those other brands, and we all make products which are unique and individual to our own brands – we try not to step on each other’s toes. I think there’s a lot of respect within the shoemaking industry and also within the brands in order not to drift too close to each other, so you’re kind of in an elite and tight crowd. Making shoes in the United States is not a new or novel thing to us, and it’s nice to be in good company with some of those other guys. W hich men’s Fr ye boots/ boot exemplif ies the company ’s longstanding strive for innovation in material, technique and design? A year ago I would’ve told you something like a harness boot or an engineer or something like that, but now, the Logan definitely exemplifies what we’re really about. We took a boot that was a 1940s workman boot – at the time you welted it and it was firm and stiff with a steel toe – and we’ve turned it into a work boot that’s also casual. We’ve put in a plump leather
and it’s denim-friendly, but also reminiscent of what that 1940s boot is and was. We’ve now taken it and modernized it to be a casual boot. What do you take for inspiration for your men’s boots of today? We talk about this a lot. We get inspiration from the craziest of places – it’s a hard thing to define. Looking at our work with Irving Penn, we were just looking at all these crazy pictures of people and we just felt like there’s certainly inspiration for us there. It’s a hard one, there’s no place that we don’t look for inspiration when making our men’s boots. We make men’s boots based on some of our older classic women’s boots. We’ve made boots based on baseball gloves and on some fly fishing gear that we just bought. So we’re digging through every bin of every flea market. We’re digging through everything we can get our hands on in order to get inspiration. One thing we talk about that really rings true is that we really believe in the shit that we make. I think a lot of people can’t say that, I think a lot of people make things just for a living, while we believe in every product we make and really believe in every single
thing we do. You can see it in the workers, they love it when we come [to the factory] and they know we take the same pride that they do, so we try to design from within the brand and build the brand out. I think the overused term now is “organic” but we had that term rolling for many years because we really do have an organic design process. It’s been a steady evolution of the brand rather than a revolution every season, and that’s just one of our philosophies. Frye has been responsible for inventing shoemaking machines for their factory in the past. Is this still happening today? We invented our own stone-washing machine and the idea was that, a few years ago, no one believed that you could take a finished shoe that was bought, finished and ready to go out on the street, and then stone-wash it. They said “no one will buy it, it’ll fall apart,” so we built a machine that could do it. The industrial strength washers for stonewashing on denim, etc. won’t take a big boot because that would completely destroy the machine. So we set out to find a stone tumbler and started to build our own machine. These guys were telling 169
us there were like seven rotary-driven belts and we just went though all these different kinds of processes to try and turn the machine, because once we got the box built it was too heavy to turn. Finally we’ve got this machine built now that is epic, it’s like a killer machine that allows us to stone wash, and we’re just really starting to get into it now – we just have so much opportunity with it. W hat can you tell us about the process of introducing new designs into the Frye boot lineup? What is it that makes a new design sellable? It starts from the basics. It has to have a perfect last and this handmade feel to it, and one of the things about us is that no two boots look the same. It’s not like it’s machine-driven, every pair has these slight differences and you get this feel that somebody touched these and worked on these and for us that’s a big part of it. And I think once you get all the elements right, like the leather, the last, the color, and the things that everyone seems to be striving for, it really feels a lot more comfortable and soft – a more relaxed feel to the boots 170
What are your thoughts on the ‘heritage’ look? Is it a trend or something that will stand the test of time? I think it stands the test of time. I think it’s great and it’s something that’s really cool. We’ve kind of flipped here in the last 18 months to think about that heritage look that everyone attributed to Portland or Brooklyn, I think it’s perfect. I think that’s what men should be wearing, and if you look at some really rad looking women they’re starting to do it too. I don’t think it’s a fad, I don’t think it’s a trend – I think it’s going forward. I hope so at least… Or I’ll need a new wardrobe…
SHINOLA Offering a diverse range of American-produced products with an all-American brand image
WO R D S BY J O N AT H A N M OY P H O T O G R A P H Y BY V E R E N A S T E FA N I E
Situated in Detroit, Shinola’s headquarters occupies an impeccably clean 30,000 square feet of the monolithic Argonaut Building – once home to General Motors’ design lab. Sharing this historic building with Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, Shinola draws inspiration (and interns) from the arts and design school, designing and producing everything from bicycles to Swiss movement watches. Currently they offer leather goods, two steel frame bicycles, soda, notebooks and watches, and are working to create a brand that builds an ever increasing range of American-produced consumer goods. The space is expansive and open, with two complete factories sandwiching an office space that houses design teams, press relations, management, showrooms and more. Since its inception in Houston, Shinola’s primary goal has been to bring watch manufacturing to the United States, and the search for a proper location took the company’s founders across the country. In Detroit, Shinola found a city with plenty of space, enthusiasm, and an extremely underutilized labor force. The city then helped Shinola pre-screen factory applicants who now spend their days assembling Swiss movements in Midtown Detroit. 176
Majority of the headquarters is taken over by Shinola’s state of the art watch factory. The airtight assembly line is visible through large windows that run its length, and separate the sterile, laboratory-like factory from Shinola’s design and business offices. Inside the pressurized room, technicians clad in cleanroom suits and hairnets quietly assemble the entire watch. Every step from initial design to mounting the hands on the dial is done in-house. The process begins with Shinola’s Argonite movements. The movements are assembled from Swiss-made components produced by Shinola’s partner Ronda AG. Based in Lausen, Switzerland, Ronda has been manufacturing movements since 1946, and has had their experts flowin in from Switzerland to Detroit in order to train Shinola's technicians to assemble the Argonite movements. The technicians are vetted by vision and dexterity tests to ensure they are able to see and properly manipulate the delicate, miniature components. Once the dexterity and vision tests are passed, the technicians undergo rigorous training with their Swiss counterparts before stepping onto the assembly line.
The assembly of the Argonite movements alone can require anywhere from 46 to over 100 individual components, and masterful precision and accuracy required for watchmaking is evident once you step foot into the factory. It is quiet, so much so it feels silent. The only real noises are the hum of overhead lighting and the dull hiss of the air pressurization system heard over the tiny clicks and electronic buzz of the individual workstations. There are no wasted movements. Even the Swiss instructors move deliberately and quietly, gently demonstrating how to use a microscope and tweezers to drop the delicate elements into place. Once assembled, the movements are attached to the dial, the hands are set, and the technician nestles it into a stainless steel case. The case is closed, the back plate attached, and the watch is pressure tested to ensure that the gaskets, sapphire crystal, and case are properly fitted and sealed. The watch is then given mechanical and visual inspections and finally attached to a stainless steel or Horween leather strap. A few hundred feet away from the watch factory is the bike manufacturing area, where Shinola assembles its range of
bicycles designed by Sky Yaeger. Yaeger, a bonafide name in the bike-building industry, has worked at Bianchi for 17 years with iconic designs such as the “Pista” and “Milano” to her credit. Currently Shinola is offering two Yeager designs: the Runwell, which shares its name with Shinola’s debut watch, and the Bixby. Both models feature Shimano internal hubs, custom drop outs, fork crowns, fender mounts and internal cable routing. Like the watches, the bikes are assembled entirely by hand, with the fenders requiring 75 individual pieces alone. The bike assembly process involves well over 300 individual pieces including cromoly steel frames and forks produced by the historic Waterford Precision Cycles based in Wisconsin. The close proximity of the factories to the design team has allowed Shinola’s designers to become intimately knowledgeable about the manufacturing process. This give and take between the two teams allow for innovation on both sides. Designers burdened with the present limitations of the factory often create innovative designs in response. At the same time new, innovative designs eventually lead to the development of new manufacturing processes. 177
The collaborative atmosphere of the headquarters is echoed in Shinola’s overall design philosophy and its partnerships with other American companies. Materials and components are sourced from independent producers like Horween Leather Company in Chicago, which are then turned into handmade leather goods by the Eric Scott Company in Missouri for Shinola. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Shinola seeks out the best in their fields to help create the best product possible. This approach has allowed the company to focus the majority of its initial energy and resources into building and developing a watch factory from the ground up – an incredibly complicated and technical process. Despite the varying products the brand produces, Shinola stands out as a brand that maintains a clear and concise brand aesthetic that is reinforced and informed by its dedication to quality production methods and simple, but nuanced design philosophy. This was all translated in the phone interview with Shinola’s CEO, Heath Car, and our tour of the factory by Creative Director Daniel Caudill.
Why the name Shinola? Heath Car: After the company was formed, we needed a name. As we were mulling over names, at some point someone said “you don’t know shit from Shinola” right there in the meeting room. We all thought ‘hey, that has a ring to it.’ We checked it out and the name of the old shoe polish company was available for purchase. We took it from there and haven’t looked back. We knew we wanted to focus on products sourced and manufactured within the United States. Basically we started with watches because we knew it would be the hardest thing to start with manufacturing-wise. Making watches in the U.S. is very disruptive in terms of the watchmaking world. We knew it would raise some eyebrows. Daniel Caudill: The primary focus of the company was to make watches in America. The whole foundation of [Shinola] is based on this factory. It’s almost revolutionary to be doing what we’re doing in the United States. Not to sound pretentious, but our goal is to prove that quality, well-designed luxury products can be manufactured for a profit here in the United States.
Can you tell me a bit more about the Runwell, the first watch Shinola is offering? What kind of movement is used? HC: The Runwell comes in stainless steel cases featuring unique serial numbers. We chose the Argonite 1069, a threehand remote sweep movement for this watch. The Argonite is a 46-piece quartz movement made with Swiss parts from our partner Ronda. How did you decide on the Argonite movement? HC: Starting off we needed a simple three-hand movement. Since we were starting from absolute scratch, we naturally selected the least complicated movement. Although the threehand movement is relatively simple, it’s still very complicated. Forty-six individual pieces are assembled by hand just for the movement alone. Why did the company choose Detroit for its factory? HC: It was a pretty quick process. We wanted to localize the brand – it’s not enough to just get the made in USA label. We wanted to connect the company and factory with
a particular city and community. The labor force is in Detroit where there is plenty of space. The people we met at the College for Creative Studies, representatives from the city, and people from the neighborhoods were all wonderful. At some point it became ‘how could we not work in Detroit?’ DC: One of the most obvious factors was the fact that the city of Detroit has a huge labor force that is ready to work. When we first met with the city and told them what we wanted to do, they welcomed us with complete enthusiasm. The city really helped us in so many ways and made the decision that much easier. They did everything they could to help us. They helped us with everything from locating a suitable space, to dealing with zoning ordinances. I think most importantly the city offered to help us pre-screen initial factory technician applicants. What other city in the country will help you pre-screen applicants? And the people they helped us find are amazing. They have become integral to our process. 179
Tell us about the training process for your watch technicians. DC: Currently we have about 15 technicians that are working in our factory. This number will continue to grow as we start building more movements and adding new watches. The idea was to start with a small crew and train them with Ronda trainers. The training process is designed so that once our initial crew becomes Swiss-trained experts; they themselves can train the next set of technicians. Can you explain a bit more how you work with students from the College for Creative Studies? DC: There’s a lot of layers to our relationship with the college. Obviously we share a building. We also sponsor classes and events for students; you can see some of their presentations in our office. For me personally, the idea of working with young people who are excited about design is inspiring. It helps with new perspectives, which is what I personally take away from. The relationship between the school and Shinola is definitely continuing to grow in new and exciting ways. We’ve even made a few hires from our internship program with the college. 180
Do you see Shinola as primarily a watch manufacturer? Or a lifestyle brand? There are articles in which Shinola is referred to as an accessories company. Do you see the company expanding its product offerings past leather goods, bikes, paper goods and watches? DC: The brand has evolved a lot since our first design meeting and will continue to do so. We are planning and designing new products, everything from shoes to home goods. A full line of product categories will be available from Shinola in the future. The watches will serve as the backbone. After seeing how closely manufacturing works with the design teams, it seems collaboration is integral to the Shinola process. DC: This is a very collaborative team. We all work very closely. We have to in order to create a cohesive message. HC: Absolutely. This extends to partnerships we have with other companies. We want to associate Shinola with the best brands and labels in the world. Collaborations are a perfect opportunity to do this and will remain in Shinola’s DNA.
Tell us about bringing Sky Yaeger on for your bicycle program. DC: Sky is a legend and a genius. She is unbelievably talented and knows everything there is to know in her field. And that’s the goal. The goal is to find people who are rock stars in their own field and work with them. That’s how you make a product that you’re not only proud of, but one worth spending money on. What is Shinola’s overall design philosophy or ethos? DC: Figuring out how to make things in the United States is the primary focus for us, and this definitely informs our design process. With any of the products we design, from bikes to leather goods, we have to figure out what parts we can make here and what parts we can’t. Of those we can’t make here, we think of what we can invest in to make those parts here. In the meantime, where can we find the best quality parts? We aren’t opposed to sourcing globally – our hubs are from Japan because they’re the best in the world. What’s cool to me about this brand is that it is very authentic. We are very honest about what we are capable of doing and what we aren’t
without standing on a soap box. We tell you what we make and if we don’t make it, we tell you where we get it from. A focus on quality really drives us too. If something isn’t the absolute best quality, if it’s not something we’re proud of, we’re not going to make it. It sounds corny, but it’s really true here. We look for people who share this philosophy when we collaborate with other companies like Horween and Waterford. They will not compromise quality even for profit. We also try to keep it modern. Really pushing the products from their classic inspirations to keep them relevant in the future. We have classic inspirations but Shinola is about modern products. Even though there are some heritage moments, we’re not simply reproducing. That bike is going to look as amazing 10 years from now as it does this moment. The goal is to not make a product that is fashion-driven, but one that is classically-driven – to maintain an emphasis on simple, modern, quality goods.
DAVE KINSEY I N T E RV I E W BY J A M E S S H O R RO C K P H O T O G R A P H Y BY J E R RY B U T T L E S
Making the decision to transition from graffiti to commercial graphic design and onto fine art may not be the most traditional path for an artist, but Dave Kinsey isn’t afraid to go against conventions and norms. Pigeonholed by some as just another skateboard or graffiti artist earlier in his career, Kinsey has moved away from the tag and firmly cemented his place in the contemporary art scene. Perhaps best known for his early street work such as his “Unlearn” campaign, Kinsey has also managed to successfully negotiate the commercial side of the art world through his design studio and brand BLK/MRKT. Responsible for some of the most recognizable imagery and logos of the last decade – including the DC Shoes logo, the Black Eyed Peas’ Elephunk album icon, and the N.E.R.D. “brain” logo – Kinsey’s work has reached millions. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kinsey moved around countless times, and his keen attention to his changing surroundings would serve as the inspiration for many of his thematic and stylistic choices – one of his primary colors, a reddish orange hue, would come from the bright primer used on new motors at his father’s place of work. In fact, his primary color palette – the orange hue along with blue – is itself a reflection of deeper thematic meanings; the clash of the blue and orange serve to underline the tension and discord of contemporary society. Graduating from art school in Atlanta, he used the momentum from a successful stint at DC Shoes in San Diego to establish BLK /MRKT with fellow artists and contemporaries Shepard Fairey and Phillip DeWolff. With the success of BLK/MRKT underway, Kinsey would go on to open BLK/MRKT Gallery which was later renamed Kinsey/DesForges.
T he transition into fine ar t has seen the ar tist take a deeper look at himself to address the issues closest to him, while his relocation to the Sierra Nevada mountains and a new studio brought a renewed focus. Unlike many of his contemporaries who adhere to one type of process, K i nsey prefers to ke ep t h i ngs orga n ic. St a r t i ng w it h something as simple as putting brush to canvas, Kinsey brings forth evocative pieces that reflect the frantic nature of his personal experience, and to a larger extent, the chaotic experience of man in the contemporary world. His t wo latest solo exhibitions, “Everything at Once” and “Lost for Words,” continued the artist’s introspective exploration of the aforementioned tension in our society. The chaotic, multi-layered pieces from “Lost for Words” reflects the fractured nature of contemporary life while the conflict between hard lines and organic shapes echoes the current struggle of nature and industry. His characters exist in a turbulent universe where they are shaped by contrasting and competing forces. The same can be said of the pieces that made up his “Everything at Once” exhibition; each is a reflection of the bombardment of modern-day life. The constant desire for instant gratification in the midst of our increasingly hyper-connected society is reflected in the artist's disjointed, mixed-media characters. Moving into the latter half of the year, Kinsey has much in store. Upcoming solo exhibitions aside, the artist will be unveiling new projects tied to BL K / M R KT as well as a new workspace. In the midst of preparing for a busy few months, Kinsey was able to sit down and share with us his creative process, the art scene, and what he has in the works. 183
How would you best describe who you are as an artist and as an individual? And does that translate in your artwork? Well, let's just say I'm the type of person that doesn't like to adhere to much conformity when it comes to my lifestyle or my work. As an artist, attempting to translate my thoughts and ideas visually eventually became a sort of metaphorical language for me â€“ a way to connect and communicate â€“ which is why I started doing street art. I liked the idea of being anonymous while making a statement within the public forum. As time went on, I began to see the value of visual influence and began to inject social, environmental and political commentary into my studio work as a way to tackle issues I felt deeply about. Do you follow a routine or "process" to things? My only routine is sleeping and watching the sunset. Everything in between is based on what I want to accomplish or do that day, which varies from painting for eight hours straight to breaking out into the wild with my dogs. I try to make each day a bit of an adventure and to not get caught up in a time warp 'cause life's just too short. When and how did you transition from commercial graphic design to fine art? Was it a concerted effort or was it an organic and gradual shift? I've always juggled both but knew that directing my focus on my fine art was an inevitable goal for me down the road. So when I relocated to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 2010, I set myself up with a new studio and everything came fullcircle. The move wasn't necessarily part of an overall plan,
but after juggling the design studio, gallery and my fine art for almost two decades, it was nice to be able to simplify a bit. I still design, mainly for my brand BLK/MRKT and companies and people I connect with. I've been lucky to be able to do the things that keep me creatively inspired. With the migration to Sierra Nevada and simplifying your activities, has your process grown or evolved because of the change? The most significant change is the time I'm able to spend on each painting, which has allowed me to experiment more. Not having the distractions of the city and everything that comes with that lifestyle just puts you in a different place. I still like to hit LA or NY though; it's the perfect juxtaposition for me. Your work covers a range of mediums and is ver y multilayered and full of texture. Could you give us a little insight into how a piece takes shape? Similarly, could you give us an idea of the mental process involved when approaching a new piece? Most of the time I start off painting without much expectation, aside from a loosely-formed idea and my color palette. I may spend hours working on a background that will be completely transformed in the end, revealing just traces of its beginnings. I like the idea of layers because that's what life is about â€“ what you see and don't see at the same time. I like to think of it in relation to our experience as human beings. We all look a certain way on the outside but our inner workings and experiences are complex, and we all have
a story to tell. I also use old book pages to further this idea. So much goes into a book, from the concept to the creation to the experience of the reader, so to utilize these fragments to tell a story within a story intrigues me. Contextually speaking, the overall complexity or chaos in my work also relates to the turbulence of the modern world, where we're all going full speed, enveloped in a maelstrom of things that help and hinder our survival and happiness. The final dimension, or what I see as the closing part of my process, is the adding of crisp line-work and shadows to help bring it all together, but that's just aesthetics. Looking back, how did you balance the business of running a gallery with your own creative output and aspirations? Running a gallery is definitely difficult and I owe a lot of the credit to my life partner Jana DesForges. She was the director and curator of Kinsey/DesForges, and really kept a handle on things, which helped me focus on the art making and design side. The gallery was a gratifying endeavor, especially because, as much as I like creating art, I'm a collector and enthusiast as well. Whose shows have you gone to in the last year? I saw a bunch but some of my faves were CYRCLE Collective's LA pop-up, Jasper Johns at Matthew Marks, Wangechi Mutu at Susanne Vielmetter and Jen Stark at Martha Otero in LA. Are there any other mediums that you'd like to explore in the future? And are there any specific people or entities you'd like to work with? I've been thinking a lot about sculpture in recent years, harkening back to some of the sculptural murals I did back in the early 2000s, but I doubt I'll be doing that anytime soon since I still feel there's more I'd like to accomplish as a painter first. I'd love to do a BLK/MRKT x Maharishi collaboration â€“ I've always liked their aesthetic. What, if anything, irritates you about the contemporary art scene? Haha, I can probably go on for daysâ€Ś First, I'm bugged by shifty gallerists and lazy artists. Secondly, the whole scene is pretty fickle, and the higher-end of the market has been shifting more towards a commerce-based entity for years which I feel is compromising the integrity of some artists and dealers and creating a false sense of hype. When you see a shiny but conceptually dull Jeff Koons selling for millions more than a Rembrandt, you gotta wonder what's wrong with this picture. But hey, you're always gonna have a yin and a yang, so let's end this on a bright note: art changes the world!
JAMES JEAN I N T E RV I E W BY A L E X A N D E R L E N D RU M P H O T O G R A P H Y BY B R A N D O N S H I G E TA
Without sounding too biased, James Jean is an exceptional artist. He has mastered versatility in expression, and despite the vast range of mediums, all forms of artwork created by him can be easily traced back to his handiwork. It is this multidisciplinary skill that has brought a myriad of deals and artistic opportunities to his table; a formidable and diverse résumé that includes awards, publications, a vast number of exhibitions, speaking engagements, and even museum appearances. On top of the ability to change his stroke to suit any platform, the detail and style of his work speaks volumes through its storytelling and clearly illustrates why he’s so sought-after as an artist. It seems fitting then that both his skill and artistic sense came from the excitement of discovering his capabilities, paired with the endless possibilities of art itself. This avoidance from restricting himself to a specific style is also
aided by his individualistic approach to each piece; every artistic construct has its own narrative despite being part of a bigger body of work. With this same concept in mind, we sat down with James to ask him his thoughts on growing as an artist, to discovering when and why he saw that profession within himself, what it entails with one’s individuality when being in a position of selling self-expression, and what the art realm brings to his table. The following words answer these questions in a manner that matches and exemplifies who James Jean is personally and as an artist, and is eloquently told without reservation in portraying his desires, anguish and ambitions. This is one of the more poetically honest interviews we’ve conducted. Reading more like a memoir than Q&A, it offers a candid insight into James’s approach to his discipline – a state of being that's very much imbued within his work. 189
An aspect of your of work as a whole that raises curiosity is that you work with such a variety of style. Why is this? Is it something that you developed, or are you still finding the right style? When I first started making art, everything seemed new, every mark and brushstroke was a revelation. The most exciting thing about making the work was the sense of unlimited possibilities and multiple universes that I could create with just line, tone and color. At the heart of things, my journey has been to maintain that sense of wonder in what I’m doing. I like the accidents and discoveries that happen through exploring different methods, through the hybridizations of different styles, and the constant evolution of ideas and technique. I’ve never had an interest in honing in on one particular approach – it seems limiting and stifling, especially if there is pressure from the outside world to create a particular kind of work. However, it must be comforting to have a particular “thing” that one does, to riff on one idea for the entirety of a career, and to be recognized and rewarded for it. I’m just not that principled or disciplined, I guess. But despite the superficial differences in each painting or drawing, I hope that there is a continuity that exists in the entire body of work. Is there a particular style that you enjoy doing the most? I really don’t privilege one approach over another... it usually just depends on my mood. Sometimes I like to slow down and paint a simple observational portrait, and in response I’ll start drawing something purely from imagination. And in response to the handmade, I’ll create something digitally on the computer. It’s a daisy wheel of methods that I enjoy exploring, like being faced with a keyboard that can express a full range of effects – I don’t want to be crippled if there are a few keys missing. Can you tell us a little about your artistic interests growing up? I grew up reading comics – that was the extent of the art and culture I was exposed to as a child growing up in New Jersey. There were no visits to museums, no one to guide me to the good stuff... only page after page of printed hypersexualized ultra-violence decorated with drawings of glistening anatomy bulging beneath colorful costumes extruded from thin membranes that barely concealed engorged veins and puffy parts. It was amazing what a couple of dots and a few curved lines could elicit from the imagination. I’d wake up at 5 a.m. before school to deliver newspapers so that I could have enough money to buy my weekly stash of comics. Child labor bears its consequences – my growth was stunted and I reeked of newspaper ink, which swept me further into the Siberia of society where I would be left alone to develop my drawing and self-pleasuring skills. Nice. So when would you say you were first called an “artist,” or when you were first appreciated for a piece of work you did? I knew that art was powerful from a very early age. In the first grade, my friend and I were drawing during recess, and I drew a naked woman. Always ambitious, I drew a penis between her legs and we laughed maniacally. The noise caught the attention of the lunch monitor, and I was sent to the principal’s office to be reprimanded. I don’t remember exactly how the discussion went, but there was talk about how nudity exists in art like Michelangelo’s David (I had no idea who she was talking about), but my drawing was not at the same level and completely inappropriate for school. They were just lines on paper, something that made us laugh, but it held enough power to offend the lunch monitor and to warrant a discussion 190
with the authorities. Apparently, the sexual ambiguity of the drawing was a grave transgression, and needed to be stamped out. To this day, I keep my hermaphrodites hidden, so that their magic is not quashed by public scrutiny. Having drawn such magic back then to ellicit humor within yourself, whom do you create your artwork for now? At my most idealistic, I’m creating for myself. But that’s too easy – one must be exceptional at self-sabotage in order to create the challenges that will result in good work. How do you look at yourself as an artist? Is there an acceptance of professional status or is there still a sense of doubt? I see myself as an artist who has achieved some level of freedom to do what he wants. I accept who I am, but I’m not sure that I can convince the world of the same. The external world will always prefer an easily digestible narrative for an artist’s career – it craves and understands branding and reputation, but I haven’t been able to fully embrace that path yet. Are there still levels of insecurities and self-consciousness with you and your work? The work wouldn’t be possible without it. The ability to edit and judge the work is just as important as being able to trust my innate ability and intuition when I paint, but after pigment is applied and crystallizes onto the surface, the critical mind takes over. And after the work is finished, it still lies beneath the shadow of my judgment. And then, even that judgment is tempered by emotion. All these checks and balances end up informing the work and giving it its unique characteristics. Some painters are very direct when they work, finishing things quickly, but I seem to arrive at the end through a more circuitous route... I’d like to be more direct, actually. How much of your work is linked to your current sense of being or emotion? Certainly, the work is emotional, but I’m not sure if it is linked to my emotions at the time I’m painting. Actually, now that I think of it, making work for me is an escape from emotions. Since a lot of what I do takes a long time, there is something zen and mindless about the process. But I find that negative emotions tend to drive me to make more work as well... the coals of rejection, anger and vengeance are easily stoked. It appears through some of your previous interview answers that you tend to discover similarities in pieces you’ve done over time as opposed to a curated set of works. Do you normally work on an individual basis, thus exhibiting ‘surveys’ of those works? Yes, I tend to make each piece stand alone, to have a conclusion, and to be self-contained. I can’t help but to take each piece to its ultimate state of complexity and to imbue it with its own narrative. Maybe it’s a kind of tunnel vision, where I’m not aware of the overall body of work as I’m instead focused on a single piece. But everything is birthed from the same canal, so the same genetic material is dispersed among all the work, making surveys possible for gallery shows and as well as thematic groupings for books. You've also mentioned that “destruction is a necessary component of creation,” something that you say is intrinsic to your approach to art. Can you explain this further in regards to your practices? How does this play a role in your process of creation?
Nothing ever goes as expected. Many times, I’ll start a painting only to completely whitewash or partially obscure it. Every piece arrives at a point of stagnation, and I have to violently revive it in some way – either throw in something completely unexpected or erase the parts that feel too precious or too obvious. Almost every time, something better results from the devastation. There is incredible beauty and genius in the accidental, but it’s also incredibly difficult to relinquish control and to obliterate what took days to carefully render and build up. I sometimes think of Werner Herzog’s film, Lessons of Darkness, where oil workers in post-Gulf War Kuwait struggle to contain gushing geysers of fire, only to reignite them at the end of the film. He says, “Now they are content. Now there is something to extinguish again.”
erased my websites, burned whatever was left, and moved to a place very far away, unfamiliar, and very hot. I’m bartering for room and board, trading my skills for the basic necessities. Here in the unrelenting heat, I’m trying to let go of the past, to forgive the lawyers that profited from my misfortune, to forget the person that caused so much devastation my life, to brush aside the hundreds of thousands of dollars that enabled that person to literally chase ghosts with professional witch doctors and exorcists, and to renounce the laws of my former home that sanctioned the greed that destroyed everything I had so carefully built and saved. Here, the fruit grows sweet and heavy on the trees, the people breed heavily, and human life is cheap. As my skin grows black in the tropical sun, the burden I used to carry continues to lighten. It feels good to start over again.
So your work develops through a narrative – the process can oftentimes change as you go along with the piece. Can you tell us of your mental process during this journey? Is there much struggle or want to steer the direction, or do you embrace a change in mood and tempo? The hardest part about making work is starting. There are times where I lay crippled and paralyzed on the couch in front of blank canvases. These moments don’t happen too often, but they feel like an eternity, a darkness in the studio. But I just need to gather enough kindling to get the fire going: I go through my sketchbooks filled with half-baked ideas and doodles, or I open my iPhoto library and peruse photos taken on my travels and, in particular, natural history museums around the world. And then things will combust, and the work takes on a direction and momentum of its own. It dictates what it needs and where it should go. One element will spark another idea and a chain reaction of events occurs, and I’m just struggling to keep up. Along the way, I’m always thinking about the balance of opposites: hard vs. soft, bright vs. muted, maximal vs. minimal. In the larger works, I will often take a photo and import it into Photoshop and play around with it, adding and stripping away elements. I’ll start drawing on top of the photo and erase it with crude, flat digital brushes. I find that there is an interesting tension between a finely wrought painting and harsh flat digital lines, and I will usually replicate the digital bits in the actual painting. Can you tell us what has been more of the most important and defining points of your career? I had such strange success as a commercial artist, and now that I look back on it, there were a string of amazing projects that happened almost magically, from becoming the most decorated cover artist in comics straight out of art school to my collaboration with Prada. I hear from other artists that I have a ‘free pass’ to do whatever I want, from designing my own line of jewelry to being “allowed” to have gallery shows with work that looks completely different from year to year. What they might not realize is that the foundation of my apparent success is lined with the mortar of failure, rejection and missed opportunities. And the failures only get more spectacular as I try to achieve more. An old sugar warehouse has just exploded outside of my window and is burning to the ground as I write this. Fire trucks have been crawling towards the blaze through third-world traffic, and their sirens have been screaming for hours. A pillar of smoke stands erect in the night sky. A few months ago, I had left Los Angeles, shut down my studio, let go of my assistants, got rid of my car, 193
A moment with
HERSCHEL SUPPLY CO.â€¨ I N T E RV I E W BY A L E X A N D E R L E N D RU M P H O T O G R A P H Y BY S T E P H E N W I L D E P RO D U C T P H O T O G R A P H Y BY T O C H E U K Y I N
Catching our attention with clean sensibilities and classic designs with a forward-thinking approach to bringing quality bags to the masses, Herschel Supply Co. was designated by many as a brand to look out for. Proving itself beyond any expectation, we fast-forward to today where we find the brand carried across the globe at countless of retailers â€“ a clear sign of significance within the industry.
Photo by Lyndon Cormack
During our sit-down with Jamie, one half of the brand’s sibling co-founders, he was able to shed light into the journey that he and his brother Lyndon have enjoyed since the humble, early days of the brand to its current status as an industry heavyweights. Told as if second nature, Jamie describes Herschel Supply Co.’s approach to the many challenges any start-up brand endures in order to garner success and longevity. With a straight-forward, yet astute understanding of the industry, his team and the future of the brand, Jamie and his brother Lyndon seem to be comprehensive in expanding their brand goals more than ever before. And as far as success stories go, Herschel Supply Co. is rapidly developing into a prime example of what can be accomplished with a little know-how and a lot of hard work It then made perfect sense to us for both parties to work together in creating a collaborative backpack using their staple Heritage silhouette, of which we’re proud to unveil for the first time within these pages. For the project, we brought forth from our drawing board a serpentine aesthetic, conceptually themed after the snake. With a consensus on being unique, Jamie and the team responded with a customized, hand-drawn snake print, the patterning that now envelops the Heritage backpack. Within the bag you’ll find a royal-red satin inside and pebbledleather interior card holder with gold foil text. The custom bag also sees subtle Hypebeast branding throughout via understated embroidery tags. Apart from cementing our support for oneanother, the creation of this limited edition piece offered insight into the way Herschel works and the creative process one experiences when collaborating with such a brand. The Herschel Supply Co. for Hypebeast Heritage Backpack will be available this September at the Hypebeast store.
What can you tell us about starting the Herschel Supply Co.? Did you know there was a clear market to be tapped from the beginning? I guess in the beginning, we looked at [the bag market], and examined what our friends were carrying. From that we knew there was a gap in that market. Both Lyndon and I had work experience in the industry to a different capacity: Lyndon for a footwear company, notably for Vans, and myself I worked primarily on the snowboarding side of things at a large sporting company, so we were in the market. We were at the shows, and other than high-end fashion brands and high-end Japanese brands (which we were really inspired by), there was nothing accessible price-wise for the kids out there. The only major option was to carry these sport-driven bags, so we just knew there was a gap, and it just became a matter of bringing our style into it. Did you know how big your reach would be from the start? We’re currently one of the few bag companies that can sell globally and be successful in every country we’re reaching. North America is its own little market, with the likes of JanSport setting one price point, whereas in Europe, you’ll have something like EASTPAK setting another price point. Within Asia, there are different brands in Korea and others in Japan. We’re able to be successful in all these countries despite all their different price points, and we’re one of the only bag companies that’s able to do that. I wouldn’t call it
a “surprise” as it was something we really worked towards, but it was something we were initially uneducated on, as at first we only really considered the North American market that we were familiar with. What do you feel was pivotal in your success in the early days? When we started our brand, it was all set off by this idea of being a small brand – you don’t really start off with thinking big at first. You have this passion for a small idea, and ours was taking inspiration from high-end bags and making it more accessible. I guess that’s what our pivotal point really was: knowing what we wanted and having a clear vision of it, so we could set out to obtain the right tools. That’s where things fell into place for us. We had all of our aspects looked at. We knew that we had to have prices, ship dates, catalogs, lookbooks for imagery, and something that would show the lifestyle and concept behind Herschel that was more than just a piece of paper. How else did you prepare for the undertakings of a start-up? We also always tried to keep ourselves ready to answer any question, always try to be the best prepared. Our first show in New York is an example. It was at the Chelsea Art Museum, which was a really nice spot, so we were expecting a 10x10 booth with racks stacked all the way around. We showed up and there was just one broken rack in the middle and we were left wondering what we were going to do. So we built an entire booth out of palettes and borrowed drills, made it work, and the feedback was great. Those are the kinds of things we stood up to and it was one of those situations where we showed up properly prepared. Was there a specific concept that you knew you wanted to follow from day one? How do you approach a new design, how do you source, how do you find references? When we started off we had 13 different silhouettes – that’s including colors – and now we’re up to 566 this season. And on top of that there’s also special projects, so there’s a lot of stuff going on. One word we use around the office a lot is “organic.” We knew what we wanted, what design, and always know what our first priority is, which is to design bags that the market needs. At Herschel, we almost work backwards: we look at what retail price we want it to hit and we design according to that. Do you want to tell me a little about your team? How do things work in your office? It’s a pretty small team, and in a sense, we’re set up very different to a lot of design and apparel companies. We have product managers and a few product designers, as well as six graphic designers who also work on product on top of print and graphics. The cool thing about our office is that one day you’ll be putting out ads, another day you’ll be working on the new Hypebeast collaboration print, but the next day you’ll be working on a silhouette, and that’s what keeps everyone fresh and keeps everyone unique. We focus on the collaborative and try to keep everyone open, allowing everyone to discuss an idea, take it to the computer and on to a prototype, on to sales and samples, and then on the wall. It gives you a sense of ownership in the company, a sense of pride, and allows everyone to be so involved. 199
Going into specif ics in manufacturing, one of Herschel’s signature materials is a coated poly-cotton fabric. How did that come about and what was the process involved in creating this material? The material and pattern itself comes from this red and white, and blue and white engineered lining, and is inspired by the overalls my grandfather wore to work everyday of his life at the grain elevators. We really pulled some heritage just from that – I mean, he ran these elevators in this small town in Saskatchewan. We thought it was fitting and when you unzip a bag it’s a callout, but also, aesthetically it looks great. With the increasing demand for your products, as well as an expanding selection of styles, how do you ensure that quality is maintained? In the beginning we would work with one facility and it was probably their smallest manufacturer; we’re now up to 11 different facilities. We have a team in China, we have a team in Hong Kong, and it’s about constantly being at these facilities being sure that you’re at the right dynamic. We make sure that they understand what quality you need, what to expect, and we make sure that there’s the proper policies in place – we grew fast, yes, but we grew with the right and best facilities. What piques your interest in a certain material or fabric and what are some of your all-time favorites? We definitely wanted something functional, and aesthetically we wanted a “simpler” silhouette on the exterior with the right feature set inside. We really focus on attention to detail – the zipper, the fabric, altering the shape so it’s a little narrower and fits your silhouette better, or if it’s going to be slightly longer. We do four seasons a year and the nice thing is, you’re constantly doing something new and you get to continue to be innovative. To be design-driven with good attention to detail and timelessness. It doesn’t matter if it’s a backpack or a tote, we want you to be able to wear it today and years to come. Timeless designs, fine regard to detail, and super durable. Herschel Supply Co. seems to have been decidedly particular with its collaboration products through its development. How have you guys chosen your key partners? As far as partners go it’s just a matter of building relationships with the right people. Making sure they understand what “Herschel” is, who it’s for, what distribution we want, and that we’re trying to grow with the right people. I feel like everyone collaborates with everybody these days. It’s easy, it helps get press, but for us we didn’t want to do a ton of one-offs, and because of that we say “no” so much. We also try not to use the word “collaboration” in the office, and instead try to use “partners.” We’ve partnered with Stussy – it was one of our favorite brands as kids growing up – and I think we’re working on our seventh capsule collection with them now. It’s been an unbelievable partnership working with them, almost like working with friends, and it just feels real. We also partnered with New Balance this spring, and we’re working on our holiday one now. Both Lyndon and I were also big fans of New Balance as kids, and when we started talking to them, they were a great fit for our brand and they were easy people to work with. They understand our bags and we understand them, so that’s really been a key factor in the development. 200
For this issue, we’ve collaborated with you on your signature Heritage silhouette using a first-of-its-kind silicone all-over print to mimic snakeskin - the theme behind the project. How did you guys come up with that design? We wanted to take one of our signature silhouettes that has details that Herschel Supply is known for and create something unique with it. Once the silhouette was decided upon we moved onto creating a print. What most people do not know is that our prints are mostly hand drawn and the snakeskin print used on this bag is no exception. The silicone application was a unique addition that took much testing to perfect. The outcome is a distinct, beautiful, durable and structured bag. Can you go into detail on how the design was developed? Both parties had ideas on how we wanted the project to end up looking and arriving at a singular focus was a big part of the product development. On our end, Herschel Supply had been toying around with the use of silicone on our products, but it had never actually made it into the line. However with this partnership we felt that this was the perfect time to introduce this unique material story. What is it about silicone that’s innovative and sets it apart from previous material’s you’ve used? Silicone is a very unique feeling material and it gives that extra textured feel to the bag. On top of that, the silicone used for this partnership allows the bag to have a more structured and durable feel to it. When was the last time you were in Herschel, Saskatchewan? Lyndon and I were both there a year and a half ago, but unfortunately it was for my grandma’s funeral. She had a great life and lived the majority of it there. She was a schoolteacher that taught everyone from grade one to grade 12. We also went back during a pretty interesting time. There were these three grain elevators that were a huge source of inspiration to us, and they were actually tearing them down. So we bought wood from the torn-down elevators, and that’s now what our office is made out of, which really adds a bit of the heritage element to it. It was really sad to see them come down, and we actually shot the whole thing – we had no clue it was happening. We just happened to be there and Lyndon had his camera. Where would you like to see Herschel Supply Co. in 10 years? Ten years is a long time, but Lyndon and I are both not going to lose our passion – he loves it, I love it, I trust him, he trusts me, and it’ll continue to grow within the right accounts. Everything we do we’re definitely going to do it our way. We’re going in the small way, with the right product and a lot of colors, and just making sure we enter the category in the right way. That’s one thing about us: we don’t just step into it, we moved in to it slowly.
H E R SC H E L SU PPLY CO. for H Y PE BE A ST HERITAGE BACKPACK 204
Gastown WO R D S BY J U S T I N L I P H O T O G R A P H Y BY J O H A N N WA L L
As Vancouver, British Columbia’s very first downtown core, Gastown has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the past century. A neighborhood once overrun with poverty, and neglect is now home to some of Vancouver’s best independent retailers, cafés and restaurants. Although signs of its former self remain, Gastown continues to be a requisite stop for those in search of contemporary menswear and perfectly prepared macchiatos. Inevitably, its rebirth has not come without some controversy. Debates have been ramping up between advocacy groups, independent business owners, and the city – all of whom are vying for a balance of growth and equality in an area historically with neither. Bigger names with no shortage of cash are beginning to trickle in and capitalize on the neighborhood’s appeal, threatening the survival of the independents that have helped rebuild the community as a whole. Here are a small handful of the people and places that are giving Gastown its increasing reputation as the place to visit, and/or set up shop.
RODEN GRAY W hen Rob Lo and Davie Fernandes decided to move locations, there was no question as to whether or not they would stay in Gastown. “We’ve strived to help make Gastown as recognized a shopping district as neighborhoods like SoHo and Harajuku,” explains Lo. Brands such as nonnative, SOPHNET., uniform experiment, nanamica, Gitman Vintage and SNS Herning have all made their inaugural Vancouver debuts here. Their current location, a modern 2 ,700 -square-foot shop inside the historic Alhambra Hotel (first established in 1887) on Water Street, now serves as a gallery space for rotating installations featuring the latest in contemporary menswear – from Givenchy and Thom Browne, to Vancouver-based labels like wings+horns and Reigning Champ.
8 WAT E R S T. VA NC OU V E R , BC T E L: +1 888 458 2323
NEIGHBOUR SHOP After managing the retail and wholesale operations for New York-based label U N IS for several years, Saager Dilawri moved to Gastown with plans to open his own menswear store. Nestled among some of the area’s oldest buildings in Gaoler’s Mews, Neighbour Shop’s modern, concrete and glass gallery space is hard to miss. Inside, the shop’s inventory is hard to resist – Mismo, Patrik Ervell, Unis, Frank Leder and Svensson – and a diverse selection of curious items from Kiosk. “We carry labels that not everyone has heard of and this area caters to the customer that’s more attracted to something unique, so it seems fitting that we’re here,” explains Dilawri. Looking to extend the shop’s reach, he recently launched Neighbour’s own biannual newsprint journal, and occasionally hosts artist installations and guests.
12 WAT E R S T. VA NC OU V E R , BC T E L: +1 604 558 2555
OLD FAITHFUL SHOP There’s a reason why Old Faithful feels like the type of general store that has been around for ages. “I come from a family of general store owners on both sides of my family. I always felt like this future was in the blood,” explains co-owner, Walter Manning. Together with partner Savannah Olsen, they opened the shop in May of 2010 after renovating a rundown, lofty space from the early 1900s – still with its original windows, 16-foot ceilings and brick walls. The products inside are just as timeless. This includes a rotating selection of kitchenware, homewares, specialty foods and personal accessories from the likes of Makr Carry Goods, Ebbets Field Flannels, and the Hudson’s Bay Company. “Both Savannah and I always felt that our business belonged in Gastown. It's the oldest part of Vancouver. If you feel like cleaning the slate both in life and in business, then going back to where it all began seems like the best way.”
320 W E S T C OR DOVA S T. VA NC OU V E R , BC T E L: +1 778 327 9376
INVENTORY STOCKROOM In only a few years, Creative Director and Editor-in-Chief Ryan Willims has built Inventory into an internationallyrecognized brand with a widely circulated biannual magazine, a range of collaborative products, an online shop, and a brick and mortar retail shop: the Inventory Stockroom, opened in Gastown in 2010. Serving as the brand’s main headquarters, the bright space on Powell Street features the likes of Arc’teryx Veilance, BEAMS PLUS, Engineered Garments, Margaret Howell, Tricker’s and Needles. Its list of collaborative products is just as impressive: Viberg, Yuketen, Mt. Rainier and most recently, WORKERS from Japan. Looking to further expand the brand internationally, Willims recently opened his second Inventory Stockroom location in the Bowery neighborhood of Manhattan in spring of 2013.
45 POW E L L S T. VA NC OU V E R , BC T E L: +1 604 568 5889
JD’S BARBERSHOP When Gastown didn’t have much to offer in terms of incentive for people to come to the Vancouver’s Eastside, Judah Down took a chance and opened his first barbershop. “Neighborhoods need everyday amenities like banks, grocery stores, schools and barbershops. We set up here and tried to make the area feel like a more inviting and livable part of town,” explains Down. More than a decade later, JD’s Barbershop is still the go-to local spot for cuts, fades, hot shaves, and a tumbler of scotch.
235 A BBOT T S T. VA NC OU V E R , BC T E L: +1 604 331 8441
MEAT & BREAD Owners Cord Jarvie and Frankie Harrington will be first to tell you that much like the name suggests, Meat & Bread’s focus is on simplicity. And judging by the lineup that stretches outside the shop every day from noon to 1 p.m., people appreciate the stripped-down – yet perfectly executed – sandwich menu. Only four options are available: a changing daily special, a meatball sandwich, a grilled cheese and their claim to fame, the porchetta sandwich. Its mix of tender, locally-sourced porchetta, crunchy crackling and drizzling of fresh salsa verde, served on a ciabatta bun has garnered a loyal following, appearances on television, and well-documented copycats. As good as the main menu is however, you may want to save room for their lesserknown fifth sandwich: maple bacon ice cream between two Italian wafers.
370 C A M BI E S T. VA NC OU V E R , BC T E L: +1 604 566 9003
LA TAQUERIA For authentic Mexican pinche-style tacos, only La Taqueria will do. When Marcelo Ramirez Romero opened the cozy space on West Hastings Street back in 2009, the motivation was to create a place that reminded him of the kind of taco shops he grew up with in his hometown of Guadalajara – with a few modern-day upgrades: free range meats, sustainable fish and organic produce. $9.50 (CDN) gets you your choice of four tacos. Standout favorites include Tacos al Pastor (pork marinated with chili and pineapple), Rajas con Crema (roasted poblano peppers, creamed corn, sour cream and Mexican cheese), Tinga de Hongos (sautéed fresh mushrooms in spicy chipotle sauce), and the Pescado (Zarandeado fish with chipotle mayo, radish and pepitas).
32 2 W. H A S T I NG S S T. VA NC OU V E R , BC T E L: +1 604 568 4406
NELSON THE SEAGULL Named after Des and Dawn Lindeberg’s famous 1971 song “The Seagull’s Name Was Nelson” and as an ode to Nelson Mandela, this cafe was opened in May 2010 by siblings Lee and Jonathan Snelgar, and Jodi Balfour. It has since become one of the most charming places in the area to pick up freshly-baked, homemade bread, espressos and pastries. Those looking for a heavier fare may be tempted by one of their herbivore or carnivore plates: hearty open-faced sandwiches loaded with locally-sourced, organic toppings, served on thick slices of their freshly-baked bread. The space itself is large enough to host yoga classes on Monday and Wednesday nights, and recently introduced extended hours on Thursday through Sunday for organic hamburgers and green bean fries.
315 C A R R A L L S T. VA NC OU V E R , BC T E L: +1 604 681 5776
REVOLVER True coffee connoisseurs stand by Revolver’s reputation. Inside, owners (and brothers) Chris and George Giannakos offer a changing selection of coffees from around the world brewed every possible way: AeroPress, siphon, Hario V60, French press and Chemex (Revolver’s preferred method). For the full experience, the tasting flight offers three different blends, each brewed using different techniques. Every cup is perfectly measured, weighed and meticulously prepared atop the long wooden bar against the backdrop of exposed brick, restored wood floors and hanging benches. It’s quintessential Gastown. “By the time we finally found the space that was to become Revolver, we had been casually looking at spots in Gastown for a couple years. Deciding where to open was actually the easiest decision we had to make,” explains George.
325 C A M BI E S T. VA NC OU V E R , BC T E L: +1 604 558 4444
WOODKID I N T E RV I E W BY P E TA R K U J U N D Z I C P H O T O G R A P H Y BY Y U R I H A S E G AWA
Sound and sight often go hand in hand. One such example comes in the shape of Yoann Lemoine and his artistic expression. Better known to the public as cinematic pop composer Woodkid, Lemoine decided to take matters into his own hands by merging his own music with a visual component. After graduating cum laude in illustration and animation at the prestigious Émile Cohl School, as well as having worked with visionary filmmaker Luc Besson, Lemoine quickly made a name for himself by creating aesthetically compelling music videos for the likes of Yelle, Moby, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and more. However, legend has it that it was not until he received a banjo – that temporarily replaced his piano – by great American guitarist Richie Havens, that Lemoine decided to devote himself to music as Woodkid. Firmly set within that industry, when asked about his musical beginnings that stemmed from a background in visual artistry, he states: “I started to explore the connection between the eye and the ear and did my first soundtracks on my computer, because it was the cheapest and fastest way to score my films.” Thus, it didn’t take long for him to release 2001’s Iron EP – a beautiful ensemble of epic pop symphonies that immediately
captivated the ears of music critics and connoisseurs alike. The self-directed video for the project’s title song showcased an impressive interplay between slow motion and dynamic imagery, while 2013 saw the release of his debut full-length The Golden Age. Hailed by critics around the globe, the album chronicles the growing pains of adolescence and all the juvenile conquests and losses that come with it. These impassioned highlights are layered through sprawling, orchestral compositions. “It’s like a teenage scream, a project with a lot of ambition and self-confidence. I really wanted to be heard when I composed it and I did it with a lot of angst and clumsiness.” It is hard to categorize Lemoin in a constantly evolving and often precarious music industry, especially in an era where the art of making music videos seems to be governed by budget numbers rather than creative output. In a period where art and profit seem to be further away from each other more than ever, he stands out as an example of artistic innovation being rewarded with critical acclaim and chart success. Hence, we decided to dedicate the music segment of the Process issue to Lemoin in order to uncover his unique stand in today’s media landscape, and how that came to be. 217
You’ve been active within the music industry since 2006 but you dropped your full-length debut The Golden Age in 2013. What made you wait seven years to release it? When I started in 2006 I wanted to be a film director. I wanted to explore the visual world and to be honest, I had no idea that one day I would be on a stage and release an album. I’ve always been a musician though, but just as a hobby. When I started to make my first short films, I began to explore the connection between the eye and the ear and did my first set of soundtracks on my computer because it was the cheapest and fastest way to score my films. This is how ‘Woodkid’ really started I guess, and this is why my sound is so cinematic.
without disturbing its polarity, so you can talk about it in a very honest and realistic [way]. But I also have to admit I’m starting to enjoy performing on stage a lot. I’m facing a dilemma!
It took me four to five years to create this album because I had no idea how to produce a record. I learned along the way. I also wanted to create ambitious visuals to support the tracks and each of my videos take six to eight months to produce, mainly because we had no money to make them.
Additionally to those two disciplines, you’re also a graphic designer. How do all these skills coexist? They coexist in my interest to materialize emotions and ideas. It’s like tools that I have and that I choose depending on what I want to say. I often say music and visuals are like vehicles that allow me to talk to the world. They are different mediums technically, but the creative process remains the same.
How does it feel to have it released and how is the feedback so far? The majority of the reviews have been very good, although some of them have been a little too positive to me. It’s embarrassing when some magazines call me a prodigy or say my album is the most anticipated of the year. Some people called me a genius, and some of them called me a piece of shit. It’s hard to find yourself when you’re polarized like that. I listen to my album with a lot of honesty because it’s full of mistakes and flaws. I mean, it’s a first album so I guess it’s normal. It’s like a teenage scream, a project with a lot of ambition and self-confidence. I really wanted to be heard when I composed it and I did it with a lot of angst and clumsiness. You have to have honesty within yourself if you want to move on, so I don’t regret anything. However, I would do it very differently if I had to record it today. The Golden Age is a testimony of who I was when I made it. I’ve already changed since then, I think. So I understand every negative comment about it and I actually agree with most of them. Some people would argue that the art of directing music videos is a dying art form. Would you agree? Yes and no. I think it’s dying in the same way as the music industry and the budgets are. And it’s true that this is an old industry, a lot has been done and it’s hard to renew the genres. But so is cinema after all, and I would not say that cinema is dead at all. I also think the accessibility to technology and the diffusion helps with competition that generates amazing ideas and new concepts – young blood, young brains. Directors like We Are From LA or Chris Milk for example have a very futuristic approach to this medium, mainly because they embrace technology and the new dimensions that the internet offers for this art. Do you feel music video directors are sufficiently appreciated within the music industry and media? Let’s be honest, nobody cares about music directors, and I think it’s perfect like that. I’ve always tried to stay in the shadow. Even as Woodkid, I’ve never really wanted to be in the light too much as a person. I’d rather travel the world and walk in the street without being recognized. I think as a director, being anonymous is very important. It helps you fade into the world and look at society without changing the magnetism of it, 218
How would you outline the advantage of an artist who also serves as a director for his own music videos? I would say a lot of time is saved in mail exchange and a lot of misunderstandings are avoided. I guess this is a reason why I achieve much bigger results with my own project than on other artists’ videos. Also the motivation is very different. In my case, there is an obvious connection between visuals and music. I don’t think I could have another director direct my music videos.
Is there music without a visual companion for you? Yes of course. Music videos are not necessary although they are a very useful tool to transport your music. I wouldn’t say that bands like Phoenix or The Strokes are famous for their music videos, but they are still some of the biggest acts right now. Mainly because their music is amazing and because they promote it on stage more than on TV or on the internet. This is the Process issue. Can you detail the process as you move from audio to the visual within your art? When I’m asked to direct a video for another artist, I usually listen to the track over and over and let the visions come to mind. Sometimes I get it from the harmony, sometimes it will be more about the beat and energy. I often forget about the three first ideas which are usually a bit too convenient and cliche. Then I seek for references in books or magazines, on the internet. I make a folder, like a mood board of visuals, and try to write down the concept using this material. Film Director and Theorist Sergie Eisenstein talks about the association of symbols in his film theory. He explains how the meaning of an image can change when it’s associated to another, or to a sound. Sometimes it’s interesting to associate visuals to paradoxical music. It’s not necessarily about paraphrasing the music. When it’s about my own project, things happen in a much more intricate and complex way. Visuals feed music and sounds feed images – I would not say one happens after the other. What else can we expect from you in the future? What will your next project be? Definitely a feature film. This is my ultimate goal as an artist. This is the form of art that will hopefully sum up all the things I can do. I have a feeling sometimes that all I do as an artist is take steps towards doing a feature film. Although I’m not sure if I am completely ready yet, one thing’s for certain: I will take as much time as it takes to do it – I still have to learn. This is why I went back to the university and started to learn how to write and how to direct actors properly. We often pretend to be directors as music video filmmakers, but the truth is we are more creative directors than actual movie directors. I like the idea that I have to completely reconsider my job and almost learn from scratch.
A COLLOQUY WITH
VERBAL & YOON I N T E RV I E W BY S E A N B A K E R P H O T O G R A P H Y BY RO RY VA N M I L L I N G E N
The brand of ‘VERBAL & YOON’ is a powerful one. Since first meeting each other a little under to two decades ago, they’ve manufactured an identity that’s undeniably current, rooted in years of education, self-scrutiny and relentless ambition. A thoroughly modern American dream, they sprouted from Asian soil before finding themselves, and one another, through the U.S. college system. While Boston University laid the seeds, it was Tokyo that provided the creative landscape for the couple to blossom. Through childhoods packed with travel, religion and conservative parenting, both had a keenness to learn and flourish. VERBAL’s strict upbringing and international schoolyard training – mixed with an early start as a J-pop-star – meant he arrived at Boston University academically well-read and culturally wellversed. While having globe-trotted through her adolescence, a wide-eyed YOON touched down on campus at the same time, set to embark on honing her graphic design craft. Throughout college their diligence in respecting education and developing self-belief was key in forming the foundations of what would later become AMBUSH®, a brand rooted in individualism. After they began dating in Boston, the relationship survived several cross-continent seasons with YOON working in the U.S. and VERBAL debuting as one half of hip-hop duo m-flo in Japan. Putting much of his musical success down to having the confidence to challenge the conformity of J-pop, with partner Taku Takahashi, VERBAL was witnessing success through making the kind of music people didn’t know they wanted to hear. In 2002, when he and YOON were reunited in Tokyo and she took the lead in developing his artwork and styling, her intimate understanding of his mind and motivation meant a distinct visual narrative began to take shape. Using VERBAL’s public persona as a live beta project, the couple began formulating an identity that has since propelled them both to digital era super-stardom and formed the basis for their design agency and jewelry company AMBUSH®. With a fanatical frame of mind, they’ve created an image of frivolity and fun that has fashion mongers fawning and street-style photographers bursting bulbs at every occasion. Underneath the styling of YOON however is an aesthete and a businesswoman who knows what it takes to turn a profit. Establishing AMBUSH® as a design agency when YOON first moved to Tokyo, they’ve since diversified into jewelry making. Producing ostentatious pieces with brightly colored plastics and chunky chains in hollowed metals, they create totally unique collections and with it a virtually uncontested market. Through 222 222
unwavering conviction and focus, they’ve inspired a following that respects their craftsmanship and keenly invests in the world they have created. Relentlessly self-aware, dedicated selfbelievers and humble self-promoters, they are true 21st century masters of their own destiny and their gold-plated, embossed ship is sailing straight to the front of the pack. When did you first meet? YOON: I’m a second generation Korean-American. I was born in Korea but because of my dad’s job we moved around a lot when I was a kid. Right after I was born we moved from Hawaii to California, all over Korea and to Seattle, before I ended up in college in Boston. That’s where we met. VERBAL: I was born and raised in Tokyo. I went to international school all my life and then moved to Boston for college. We actually met at church… YOON: Church is a big part of Korean culture; a lot of us are Christians. VERBAL: Japan isn’t a religious country, but when I went to college I was double majoring in business and philosophy and I really got into reading the Bible – it touched me. So I started studying that a lot and started going to church regularly. This was around ’96. I met YOON, thought she was cute and talented and we started dating. It wasn’t in anticipation of ending up where we are now. What were you hoping to get out of college? VERBAL: It’s funny because when I was in high school I already had a record deal, but really I wanted to be a cartoon artist. I was all into manga, but my family is super strict and pushed that whole story of “You’ve gotta be a doctor or a lawyer. How are you gonna feed your family by rapping or drawing?” So I gave that up and pursued business at college because I thought that would make my family happy. I also wanted to have the philosophy part too, so I killed myself and did the double major. YOON: I went to college to study graphic design, but the B.U. program meant that I had to take fine arts for the first two years. The idea of graphic design was really conservative back then, they didn’t even let us touch the computers when we were studying. I came from a regular public school, whereas a lot of kids in my class had come from private art schools. So initially for me, it was about trying to learn how to oil paint and sculpt
and all that stuff. For them, since they’d studied so much, the course was about expressing their creativity, but for me it was trying to catch up with them the whole time. VERBAL: Initially, I was just there to do my parents a favor, but I slowly learned to like what I was doing. I was in business administration, but marketing really hit home for me because I had a knack for thinking about how to sell things and how to market them. I realized that studying in the United States is very intense but in a good way, a lot of the professors are fun to learn from. YOON: During my college years I didn’t really have the luxury to think about what I wanted to do, it was more just about “let’s get this done.” One of my graphic design professors studied under Paul Rand and a lot of what we were taught had come from him. I guess I looked up to Paul Rand and learned how to express things in a very minimal way, but at the same time get the message across. After college I started working for a graphic design firm in Boston. In my mind the next step was going to New York and getting a bigger job in a bigger firm. I was just working my way up. VERBAL had already debuted in Japan, so he was gone… VERBAL: With this mix of church, business and philosophy, I was getting through college and had started thinking about becoming an urban counselor. In the States, there’s a lot of churches and they have inner-city volunteering programs and so on, so I thought I might want to pursue studies in Christianity. I actually went to seminary right after college but I couldn’t
afford the tuition, so I headed back to Japan and got back together with my friend whom I was doing music with back in high school. We did this song together, everyone was really happy about it – it got released and shot off the shelves and we started making more music and people were going crazy for it. So the foundations you laid at college were fundamental to what you’re doing today? YOON: When I look back I really appreciate it, I think before I would just start clicking away. I’m not against dropping out or not going to college – there are a lot of super talented people out there that don’t need that – but I do think it helps being educated. Just because you’ve downloaded software, that doesn’t make you a graphic designer. I know my subject, I know what I’m doing – that’s one thing I have confidence in. So how did you end up in the same continent again? YOON: We were doing this long-distance relationship and he kept asking me to move to Tokyo. It wasn’t on my mind back then, but I was young so I was like “if you find me a job, I’ll try it out…” So he created this company called ‘AMBUSH®’ and moved me out so I could work freelance as a graphic designer. At the time, his management were hiring one of Tokyo’s top design companies to do all the packaging for his music, but by knowing him so well I noticed that this company didn’t understand what he wanted to convey. When you’re young in music you just kind of walk where you’re pointed. I would see these stylists bring in a sweat-suit setup just because he’s
a rapper, but I knew that wasn’t him. So we were like, “Just give us the budget and we’ll do it our way.” That’s when I jumped in and started working on that side of things and that was the beginning of AMBUSH®. There were certain visions, and we knew how it should be, but it started off very DIY. VERBAL: When we came out with our first record, we just made what we liked. Anyone who’s familiar with the Japanese music industry knows it’s very closed – J-pop doesn’t sound like anything else in the world. With the kind of music we were doing, speaking English and taking bits of drum and bass, we came up at just the right moment. This was around ‘99, and initially it was all cool but then I started to notice a discrepancy between what we wanted to do and what the market was looking for. Like with the photos for our album artwork, I’d be like “I wanna wear something like this…” and then they didn’t understand the vibe I was on. I was into hip-hop and skate culture, but I don’t wanna go out wearing a Pelle Pelle sweatshirt or something, no disrespect but that’s not me. YOON: This was coming from some of the top stylists in Japan. VERBAL: YOON knew what worked. She knew I liked mixing high-end pieces with something much more gritty. We’d released a few records, I had more jurisdiction over what was happening, and I was like “let me take ownership of the styling and stuff.” That’s when we started working together creatively and started getting recognition. People started to ask “who styles you?” and I’d be like “my wife.” That’s when I felt people were starting to understand our flavor. YOON: We’d talk about everything so much. Even now, that’s what we spend most of our time doing, that’s what makes what we do so exciting and that’s what drives us. The title of the new AMBUSH® collection is ‘Anarchy.’ How have you gone from being wide-eyed and learning, to actually grappling with the industry and being anarchic and subverting it?
a bit more conservative and make some smaller chains too.” We put them out and no one bought them, so we’re feeling more confident about believing in what we do. It’s about being anarchic to the system and contradicting what people expect us to be. Do you feel privileged to have the self-belief that you do or have you worked to deserve it? YOON: Both. If you’re not satisfied by what you put out, then you won’t have the confidence. It’s not always about what other people want but about what you want. When we make jewelry, if I’m not happy with it, I’m not happy with it, even if the world likes it. That’s where my confidence comes from. I want to make sure everything that we put out, we’re behind and we believe in. VERBAL: Rei Kawakubo once said “playing it safe is a risky business.” She really juxtaposes the two things, she makes some crazy shit but now it’s a big business. She can do all this stuff simultaneously, she and her team have created a business model which is totally unique to COMME des GARÇONS. We admire people, whether they’re artists or fashion designers who have their own business model. Take Kim Jones, we used to be fans of his when he was just making his own line, then we met him and became friends. He went to Dunhill and he was still doing his own thing – it was still Kim. When he left and went to Louis Vuitton, it was still Kim. That was his business model. YOON: We’re such a small company and we’re making use of what we have, but you take what Kim’s doing at Vuitton – it’s huge, it’s one of the biggest fashion houses in the world. When the idea is backed by the corporate money, such amazing things can come out of it. It’s just so limitless. NIGO® too in that sense, it’s who he is. With his line ‘HUMAN MADE,’ he’s just doing what he feels like doing and I really respect that. We’re never gonna be big like Louis Vuitton but there’s just so much we want to do, we want to push boundaries.
YOON: My definition of anarchy is being true to yourself. When your company is getting bigger and things are evolving, there are more consequences when something goes wrong, but we started the brand because we wanted to make things that weren’t in the market and we never want to lose that spirit. In the design process we’re not referencing too heavily, I’m not checking out the Internet and all that stuff, because I don’t want to be too influenced by it.
What is it that you most admire in one another?
VERBAL: For me, I’ve sold a million copies of an album, and when you get to that point there’s a lot of fans who expect different things and in Japan, you have to kind of cater to the market, but I realized over the years that I’ve tried to cater to it but I can’t. For example, I’ve tried to rap like some of the Japanese guys, but I just don’t sound good in that way. The more we did what we wanted, the stronger our fan base was. There was no real formula for success, we were just doing whatever we like. It’s the same with AMBUSH®. Like YOON says, it’s DIY. If we were backed by some big corporation, I don’t think they’d let us make pieces the way we do. We make the things and we come up with the business scheme afterwards and it’s risky but we’ve found a following of people who like it. At one point we were like, “okay, let’s be
VERBAL: She’s definitely a go-getter. She’s incredibly focused. It’s kind of weird for me to say because I’m her husband, but in Tokyo she’s like a role model for some of the young girls. In Japan, it’s kind of cool to be submissive and cutesy but the people that surround her and respect her – whether they’re models or artists or whatever – tell me, “YOON’s cool because she’s just doing her own thing.” And that’s what I like about her. It shows in her designs, it shows in her outlook on life.
YOON: I like how he’s open to things. If I have an idea, I just stick to it. I’ll work at it and work at it and polish it into a diamond, whereas he has a very open personality. He has his core, which does not shake, but he’s open to new things. He’ll take one thing and can see a hundred different possibilities from it and I admire that.
YOON: We still learn so much from each other. How can you get arrogant, right? There’s still so much to learn. There’s no time for arrogance. The more we do, the more experience we get and the more we learn, and through that we see different sides to each other and get challenged in different ways.
ANDREA ROSSO The Leading Creative Behind Italian Streetwear Brand 55DSL
P H O T O G R A P H Y BY G AV I N WAT S O N
For Andrea, You’re known for your involvement in a myriad of creative explorations and executions that are embodied within your 55DSL brand. This has aided in the development of your brand to its current milestones. Can you describe to us the direction 55DSL has taken from its inception in 1994 to its standing in the realm of fashion today? With regards to the creative process, first of all, 55DSL was born from a story. All things from 55DSL must always have this in mind – a story to tell. The creativity behind what we do stems from this initial concept, with the given story of each piece serving as the stem, the beginning to its creation. In order to do this, I’m always listening to stories from others, which in turn assists in what I use for my own creations. This is where the 55DSL team comes in. I love listening to their stories, and I take note of how they start – the first two words are oftentimes, the most meaningful – and through a mood board, the individual experiences of the whole team lend themselves collectively to a new theme, or ‘logic.’ Everything else follows suit. Constructing the designs themselves is a somewhat mathematical process that transforms the different inputs from the team into a cohesive story that would otherwise have nothing to do with each other. The stringency of ‘mathematics’ may have negative connotations in the creative world, but in an idealistic one, it’s pure as it allows you to open up the process in front of you. We look at this logical approach as a sense of freedom. What this approach entails is putting together colors, photos and other references to create a new form – a story of which is the cornerstone of our designs. To break down the key elements in this method of creativity, we have the involvement of the team, clear communication regarding how the team’s image/story is relayed and understood, and thinking things out visually. The last element relates to me as it’s my own way of conceptualizing everything – it’s how I think. It is through these mental images that I’m able to analyze the shape, designs and outcome of 55DSL. A great example of this whole process is our 10.55 Limited Edition project. By analyzing the market needs and involving a number of young creatives (international artists) we’ve managed to produce 1,055 limited edition T-shirts that celebrate their stories, and at the same time, signifies my initial vision of what I want the brand to be – a now independent streetwear apparel company passionate in uniting and expressing creativity within various subcultures.
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