Yesterday was the start of Capsule Tradeshow, perhaps the most wonderful time of the whole year for menswear fanatics. There's about a billion amazing brands stuffed into a warehouse space on the westside of New York all showing us the future of our closets. We caught up with designers, CEOs and managers of five of our very favorites and asked them about the spring 2012 collections.
Hao-Chou Joe Hwang of Repo Brand: I was born in Taiwan but I came to America by myself when I was 13. I wanted the American dream. I finally started my brand two and a half years ago. I just began with the idea of taking vintage wear and asking how I can redo, modify, renovate and still keep the original spirit. I absorb vintage details in my head and somehow put them all together. I try to keep a well-balanced design. For this season, I just thought of going to a summer place, what colors you see, the boats you see. This is the first time I've done a show in New York, but I just love Capsule. I think I'll be a loyal exhibitor.
Rasmus Bak of Libertine-Libertine: It’s been two amazing years. We’re kind of getting somewhere and building up a very strong platform, so we’re super happy at the moment. There's so many other Copenhagen brands here, which is great. We’re kind of a big family. There’s a big degree of solidarity, I guess, between us. We help each other out. People are confident in their own stuff and we do very, very different things. The vibe is super different. I like that.
In a weird way, though, we don’t want even want to look Scandinavian or to have minimalistic features. We’re rooted in the skate and surf scene. The shirts are all hand printed, so the lines will be uneven in a really cool way. It’s really rare that we use stock fabrics. So all this stuff is developed from the bottom at our office, even the camo.
Drew Lumsden of Lightning Bolt: The brand was started in 1971 by Gerry Lopez and Jack Shipley. Gerry Lopez, if you don't know, is like the Yoda of surfing. They started a brand making surf boards on the north shore of Hawaii. Lightning Bolt was a progressive brand at that time because, really, they developed boards for a culture of people really pushing the limits of surfing at that time. They were trying to ride deeper and hollower waves than anybody had previously. That period of like '70, '71 to about 1980 was really the birth of an industry.
I had worked for Ksubi and Opening Ceremony, but had grown up in California surfing, so this was kind of a perfect opportunity for all of us to bring our own aesthetic and really create something new that I think adheres to the culture and spirit of what existed. The core community of surfers, you seem them wearing vintage gear. So we thought, Why don’t we really try to make something that serves to support what people are really liking? And try to be be that reflection of where it is today. That, in short, is the spirit of the brand.
Yutaka Goto of Remi Relief: The brand is from Japan and we just started showing and selling in the US last year. But I love California. I'm a surfer and a skater. I like how sunny it is, and I'm just inspired by that '70s California life, the Z-Boys and all of that.
Larry Wolfe of Yarnz: The line started about eight years ago with women’s. And last year, we launched the men’s for the first time. The patterns all come from my crazy head. I use Photoshop and Illustrator to draw them, and the bags are made out of cowhide. It's important for me to be sort of unisex. We wanted to really keep it very utilitarian, so we didn’t want a lot of bells and whistles. The more complicated it got I think it would’ve been less useful.