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Leaders Style

Salehe Bembury Named Creative Director for LeBron James’ Brand Uninterrupted

Right on the heels of a slew of mega successes with New Balance, Salehe Bembury has recently been announced as the creative director of apparel for Lebron James’ brand, Uninterrupted. According to an interview with Bleacher Report, Bembury plans on leveraging the ten years of brand history behind Uninterrupted as well as his fifteen years of experience as a designer to create a product that leaves the audience with a “feeling”. He likened the experience to being given a kitchen full of the best ingredients and being asked to make a dish. 

The designer has come a long way since designing for Payless shoes at the beginning of his career, having built an individual brand spearheaded by his design ethos. With every collaborative or personal release, Bembury cultivates an audience that likes the things he likes and does the things he does. In the grand scheme of things, his success is indicative of a massive upheaval of traditional design practice, typically led by large corporations. 

With brands such as Nike, New Balance, Adidas, and many more, the designer of a shoe or product largely takes a back seat while the monolithic brand identities lead the charge in the object’s popularity. However, with Salehe’s collaborations this is not the case. As can be seen with his upcoming Crocs collaboration, consumers couldn’t care less what brand the designer works with, it’s all about his magical touch that he injects into the identity of the brand and the design of the product itself. 

This method clearly shows a change in the modern zeitgeist and attitude of consumers, who have become increasingly disillusioned with companies constantly pushing products in their faces and are feeling pandered to. For several years now, it seems as though companies are simply mashing brand identities together for easy cash grabs, rather than utilizing the best that both entities have to offer to create something greater than the sum of its parts. A large part of Bembury’s appeal is that, as one man, he is capable of using his problem solving abilities to warp the entire image of a company into something that the brand would never have been able to do on its own. As he continues his design endeavors, we are thrilled to see what he does next with Uninterrupted. No longer is there an allegiance to brand, people are aligning themselves with people.

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Leaders Style

An xSuit Review And Conversation with Founder Max Perez

I’ve been paralyzed by the thought of purchasing a suit ever since embarking on my professional career. Especially in a world forever altered by the pandemic, the notion of having an overly expensive, overly damageable suit just never seemed necessary. However, if there was a way to alleviate the potential pitfalls of owning a suit due to lack of storage space and/or commitment to suit maintenance, I’d be all ears.

xSuit first came onto my radar back when it launched in 2017. With over $650,000 raised on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the suit began making its way around fashion forums and the like years ago. There have been three iterations of the suit since its genesis. The V3 just released last month, and I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to try one out.

xSuit 3.0 Review:
xSuit 3.0 / Courtesy of xSuit
https://xsuit.com/products/xsuit-3-0?variant=40252235088048

From the moment it was delivered, it was clear this wasn’t an ordinary suit. Rather than arriving in a large, lengthy container with the suit on a hanger, my xSuit arrived in a slender, small box. I wondered how the suit could possibly fit in there without wrinkling or creasing. The same technology that gives the suit its patented comfort also makes it easily storable and foldable. Once out of the box and on my body, any residual wrinkles from its journey to my apartment had already dissipated. From the moment I touched the suit, I could tell that what I had heard about xSuit was true. This was a suit from the future.

Upon a few more wears, I found that the pants were so light that it felt like wearing no pants at all. The product is certainly innovative for the world of suits, but the sci-fi quality of the material immediately conjured up even more possible innovations available with this technology—innovations that the brand’s founder, Max Perez, is keenly aware of. More on that later. 

Courtesy of xSuit
https://xsuit.com/products/xsuit-3-0?variant=40252235088048

The site boasts that the xSuit is “made with wrinkle-resistant stretch fabric and [utilizes] proprietary nanotechnology to add stain and odor resistance.” In my first half a dozen or so wears of the suit, I’ve yet to create a wrinkle that didn’t ultimately fall out; as a man prone to stains, I’ve yet to leave any stains on the jacket or pants, despite my clumsy lifestyle which has wreaked havoc on innumerable other pieces of clothing from my closet. While I am not overflowing with occasions to wear a suit in a remote work environment, the pants have become a staple of my at home wardrobe. In our conversation, Max told me: “I have pajamas that are less comfortable than our pants.” Skeptical at first, I would now easily rank them my most comfortable pants, beating out my coziest, most durable sweatpants. On top of all of that, both pieces of my xSuit are machine washable, helping me avoid the bank account-draining habit of dry cleaning. 

Wearing the suit left me hungry for answers. How did the xSuit come to be? What’s next for this inspired technology? Who created xSuit and how do I thank them? 

So I sat down with the brand’s founder, Max Perez, to hear a bit more about the history of the brand and what the future of innovative garments may look like.

The History of xSuit:

The genesis for the brand was ultimately fairly simple. Max was essentially living the lifestyle that the xSuit was designed to cater to. After graduating from a fashion design program, Max found himself working for a PR company for about 5 years. “I was spearheading the creative direction for that company and I had to wear a suit every day,” he tells me, before adding: “One of the things I dreaded the most about wearing a suit was the comfort of it.” We often hear about the physical limitations of wearing a suit, but physical limitations can easily seep into mental blocks. “I feel that it restricted my creativity a bit,” Max tells me. 

Around this time, Perez wanted to begin his own brand. His brothers worked in manufacturing in Shanghai (where he is located to this day), and the pieces began to fall into place. In the process of ideating the concept for the brand, Perez wanted to stay away from some of the more oversaturated markets in fashion: “Everyone is doing streetwear. I wanted to do something different, not just another fashion brand.” And like with any good business, he had to find a problem and solve it. “I wanted to find a solution to a problem,” he tells me. The pesky pitfalls of traditional suiting sounded like a pretty good problem to solve.

While in the process of ideating the idea for the brand and getting manufacturing practices in place, Max attended the Magic trade show in Las Vegas. There he met someone working in a lab for the US military and pitched the idea as “not a fashion brand, it’s a tech product.” By the summer of 2017, all the wheels were in motion. They launched their Kickstarter, launched their PR campaign, and xSuit was born. 

The following summer, they launched V2 of the suit. The third version of the suit was supposed to launch last summer, but the pandemic had other plans. So, like any good businessman, Perez pivoted and launched a successful mask line within the xSuit roster. They even donated 20,000 masks to frontline workers. 

Finally, in August of this year, the xSuit 3.0 launched, the most technologically advanced suit to date. The suit features seam-taping throughout, making it more durable and resistant than previous iterations, and is completely machine-washable, one of the requests that many consumers had had with previous iterations. xSuit 3.0 sold out in a mere few weeks; they’re in the process of restocking right now.

The xSuit Ethos:

When you browse through the xSuit site, I was most struck by two few things. First, the brand’s relatively small quantity of products and, second, the social responsibility section of their About page. 

“I’m a very minimalist type of guy,” Max tells me. Disenchanted by the world of fast fashion, Max has always prioritized quality over quantity, even in his personal wardrobe. “I didn’t want to be that brand that has a billion products and revamps them every season. We have basics that’ll last five times longer than anything you’d buy from mass market brands,” he tells me. So when he was developing the ethos behind the brand, it quite quickly became: “Let’s do less, but let’s do it right.”

Max Perez, Founder of xSuit

Let’s do less, but let’s do it right.

He made it a priority to find the best production partners, emphasizing sustainability and utilizing earth-friendly fabrics to create the suit. His brothers, who handle the manufacturing, were meticulous about finding production partners who have a reputation for complying with fair work practices.


In an effort to give back to the community, xSuit also distributed masks to frontline workers in 2020 (as mentioned above) and launched a program for providing suits to communities in need. As they began to get feedback from the community that they were “throwing away their old suits” because the xSuit was all they needed, Max and the team decided that they could open up a program “of working with local urban communities to provide clothes to men out of work or recently entering the workplace.” In exchange, those who returned their suits could get a credit towards buying an xSuit. They plan to relaunch the program this year, and this time will even allow people to turn in their old xSuits for a credit towards a new one.

The Future:

While the past is certainly exciting, the future is even brighter. I could have listened to Max talk about the potential future uses of the suit’s patented technology for hours. “I have V4 and V10 planned already,” he cheekily notes to me. A lot of xSuit’s specific future innovations are under wraps (understandably), but Max has some big ideas about the future of smart technology in the garment industry. 

“Garments will no longer be about fashion, they’ll be more of a utilitarian piece that will serve a purpose,” he tells me, adding the following possibilities for innovation in the next 10 or 20 years: “A jacket that heats up when you go outside,” “Garments that change colors through electromagnetic charges,” and numerous other types of wearable smart technology. “I believe that it’s a question of time before garments link up to your mobile device,” he tells me.

Max shares a couple brands with me who are already making waves in smart fashion. One such brand is TeslaSuit, which is creating a product intended for use with VR games and other AR tech. He also mentions Hexoskin, which is “like an Apple watch, but a tanktop.” While some of the future technology Max reveals to me seems to be pulled from a sci-fi novel, many of these innovations are part of a not-so-distant future. 

Whatever the future holds, Perez and xSuit plan to “invest more in research and development to be at the front of that technology.” In the next year or so, we should expect to see some other accessories (self-clipping belts, ties, shirts and more) and the suit’s fourth iteration. Perez’ goal for the future is simple: “Integrating as much technology as possible into our products.”

Whether it’s in the form of a wrinkle-free garment, smart tee shirt or VR-compatible suit, the future is coming. It’s time we took a cue from Max Perez and xSuit and started getting ready.

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Leaders Style

Nigo Joins KENZO: The Future of Streetwear

When Virgil Abloh took the helm of Artistic Director at Louis Vuitton’s menswear line back in 2018, he took one of the first steps towards fracturing the longstanding divide between streetwear and what we’ve historically deemed “high fashion.” But his watershed appointment was only the beginning. In the years since, we’ve watched what previously appeared to be an insurmountable chasm dwindle down to a fine line. The era of a firmly entrenched dichotomy between high and low art in the world of fashion has come to a close.

No news has synthesized the end of this divide’s reign of terror quite like yesterday’s announcement that Nigo would be taking over the role of Creative Director at KENZO. As the founder of A Bathing Ape, Nigo is arguably the founder of modern streetwear. Without Bape, we wouldn’t have ICECREAM; we wouldn’t have CDG Play; we certainly wouldn’t have Off-White. And although the origination of more skateboarding/surfing-native brands like Stüssy and Supreme may predate or coincide with Bape’s historic founding, it was Nigo who first developed a streetwear brand intended to be just that, a brand you flex on the streets.

Nigo x KENZO

Part of what has allowed Bape to stay so relevant for so many years is Nigo’s keen eye for collaborations. By invoking imagery from IP and other cultural phenomena ranging from Marvel to the Beastie Boys to Comme des Garçons, Nigo has managed to keep Bape at the center of pop culture for nearly 3 decades.

Theo Wargo / Getty Images

KENZO, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily a prototypical luxury fashion house. Although it doesn’t boast a collaborative repertoire as deep as Bape’s (there might not be a brand on the planet that could), KENZO has similarly derived a lot of its success from its commitment to the culture, regardless of where it fits into the “low – high” binary. The myriad designers behind KENZO have created some incredibly iconic shows and corresponding collections throughout the brand’s lengthy tenure in the fashion game, but it’s arguably the iconic tiger logo shirt that has given KENZO its cultural cachet in the past decade.

KENZO is, in a way, a streetwear brand in and of itself. In the mainstream cultural imaginary, KENZO exists more as a logo than as an all-encompassing French luxury house. This is in no part the fault of the designers behind the brand, but perhaps due to an increasingly hypeified culture, grasping at any opportunity to turn something into the next hypebeast grail.

Upon reflection, the Nigo/KENZO news is not as unlikely as it may have first appeared. The Bape founder will be the first Japanese creative director behind the brand since Kenzo Takada himself, but his particular brand of Tokyo-infused streetwear will find its footing fairly seamlessly in his new role.

What does this mean for streetwear?

The walls that protected the luxury fashion houses from the lowly world of streetwear are coming crumbling down. Off-White’s Virgil Abloh is at Louis Vuitton. 1017 ALYX 9SM’s Matthew Williams took the helm of creative director at Givenchy this last June. And now, Nigo himself is diving headfirst into the world of luxury fashion.

This dissolution will, in an ideal world, encourage high fashion to seek more inspiration from streetwear and—perhaps more importantly—encourage the inverse as well. As the two worlds collide, street fashion will hopefully rely less on logos, invoking innovative silhouettes, color and texture. Simultaneously, the notion of high fashion as distinct from pop culture will continue to dissipate as well.

Nigo is the Creative Director of KENZO. The future of fashion—unfettered by a distinction between art and hype—is finally here.

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Leaders Style

The Legendary Saintwoods Is Bringing Apt 200 To New York Fashion Week

The iconic Saintwoods crew is back in action for New York Fashion Week, bringing their legendary APT 200 pop-up party to Le Bain at the Standard Hotel Meatpacking on September 9, 2021. If you are heavily into fashion, then you are already quite familiar with Saintwoods impact on the fashion community with their heavily influential APT 200 Paris Fashion Week late-night parties, and they are bringing the action to the Big Apple. 

Saintwoods’ infamous Paris Fashion Week APT 200 parties have brought out some of the most notable names in the fashion and entertainment industry in past seasons from Virgil Abloh to Heron Preston to Gigi & Bella Hadid to Travis Scott, Kehlani, Evan Mock, and more. With the Saintwoods team bringing the party to NYC for the first time this season, this after-party is already set to be the biggest late-night event so far to welcome us all back to the full swing of doing Fashion Week nightlife like only the fashion industry can.

The highly anticipated afterparty will include the best and favorite DJs and hosts including Pedro, Amrit, and Siobhan Bell, and the Saintwoods crew is teasing even more surprise appearances with additional guests being announced soon.

You already know this afterparty is going to be for the night owls, and will be taking place tomorrow September 9th from 11PM-4AM for what is set to be the after-party we talk about all week.

Be sure to keep up with all of Saintwoods’ latest updates via Instagram and Twitter, and follow Zach and Nathan of Saintwoods on their socials as well.

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Leaders Style

Grand Collection’s Fall 2021 Line is Here

Since the launch of its first apparel capsule in 2018, Grand Collection has firmly found its footing in New York skating culture as a brand committed to the ethos that initially imbued the community with the cultural status it has today. In a contemporary era that has propelled skating to the mainstream (see, skateboarding in the Olympics), Grand still feels like a skater’s skate brand. Between their gritty lo-fi clips shot on fish eye lenses and minimalist aesthetic, Grand has demonstrated time and time again that it is a brand by skaters, for skaters.

Throughout its run, the team and brand have also maintained a commitment to NYC and the globally recognized hotspot of skate culture that is lower Manhattan. One of my all-time favorite collections of theirs is still their collaboration with the legendary 2nd Ave Ukrainian diner, Veselka, back in 2020.

Just last week, they dropped their Fall 2021 collection, a beautiful homage to the street style that courses through every clip that their extremely talented team produces. Between the track suits, boxy fitting pants and collared sweatshirts, the collection screams skate-able without sacrificing any commitment to a low profile, classic sportswear style. A resurgence of 1990s/2000s nostalgia in mainstream fashion has been well-documented in the last year and change, and so much of the transition can be traced back to skate brands like Grand creating collections that are wearable and harken back to a golden era of intrepid street skating.

Ben Oleynik, the brand’s founder and visionary, is a dear friend of ONE37pm’s and an incredibly talented skater—something that’s easy to ascertain from a look through the collection. His personal skate experience informs his commitment to using premium materials for each and every collection, and Grand Collection can now be found in skate shops around the world.

Aside from the tracksuits and sweaters, Grand has never shied away from graphics—in this capsule, the motif throughout is a Canadian goose. I spoke with Ben about the theme and how he settled on the bird. “My hometown in Canada is called Wawa, it means wild goose. There’s a massive goose statue right as you drive into the town. So the geese I use within Grand remind me of home and are in honor of my family there,” he told me.

While his “traditional” family is in Canada, Grand itself is a family of skaters: “The geese are also in honor of my Grand family: all the people that I love and admire that are involved with the brand. Think about it. Geese travel in packs like us, they go to warmer places in the winter the way we go on skate trips in the winter, and geese really look out for one another the way we do. So Geese represent family to me.”

The stunning lookbook was shot by Renell Medrano and features a few skaters from the Grand team: Buggy Talls and Brian Reid. A few of the pieces have already sold out, but you might still be able to get your hands on some of the exceptional pieces; I’m personally partial to the Geese of Grand tee because it is a graphic that is somehow simultaneously eye catching and low profile.

Browse the whole collection at grandcollectionco.com and follow Grand Collection and Ben on Instagram.

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Leaders Style

Behind the Brand: Lost Files

Lost Files is an up and coming streetwear brand founded in March of 2021 by Estevan Longoria. The brand has gained a lot of attention recently, especially on “sneaker twitter,” where I was first introduced to Lost Files. The burgeoning streetwear line specializes in shorts. I had the opportunity to interview Estevan and pick his brain about how the brand came to life, the process of creating a clothing brand and the learning curve that comes along with starting something new.

How did the brand come to life? 

March of 2020 is when I first had the idea. I knew I wanted to get into the fashion industry somehow, but didn’t know exactly where I could fit in. Shorts ended up being my answer. I started coming up with ideas and a plan for the brand. I really wanted to take my time with everything and didn’t want to rush into things. I made a month by month plan all the way into the next year, planning out where I wanted to be and what I needed to have done by certain months to keep myself on track. I knew I had a long way to go, knowledge wise, before I would even be able to begin thinking about creating samples of shorts I had in mind. It was a lot of reading and researching about every aspect of a clothing brand. Learning about different materials, manufacturing processes, garments, all the way down to things like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. It certainly tested my patience, but I fell in love with the process.

The whole time, I found myself actually wanting to learn more about this industry and not just researching to find an answer, but because I was curious and had a passion for it. The pandemic certainly gave me a lot of time to think about everything I was doing and really focus on the brand. The pandemic was a blessing in disguise for me.

What inspires you?

Being able to work on something that I can call my own is amazing. All the hard work I put in, I can actually see where it goes. All the weekends I spend working, all the days I stay up all night working on designs, all the days I spend packing orders, I’m able to see all of that hard work pay off.

What collection is your favorite?

My favorite designs so far are the three from the corduroy collection. That whole process of getting the licensing agreement and working with their publishing team was really cool. Seeing those go from a kids book I used to read to shorts I made was just a really cool process, so those are definitely my favorite. 

 What collection has had the most support? 

I think the paisley collection is the collection that received the most support so far. Everyone always asks me if I have any left or if I can release those again.

Lost Files is a brand you will be seeing a lot more of. For being such a new brand, they have gained a lot of attention. Celebrities like Lil Yachty, Terrance Mann, Ty Jerome, Jordan Nwora and Michael Mitchell have already been seen rocking Lost Files. Their Instagram @lost.files.clothing and Twitter @lostfiles0 are the best places to stay updated on all things they’ve got going on. Look out for their next drop on July 2nd at 11am ET.

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Leaders Style

Byre Talks Content Creation and Pivoting From Gaming to Fashion

Para ver el artículo en Español, tienes que desplazarte hacia abajo.

In the constantly-evolving age of digital media and content creation, the process of finding one’s personal lane can be an arduous journey. Social creators like Byre demonstrate the malleability of producing content; just because you start by creating one kind of content doesn’t mean you can’t pivot. The man of many fits began as primarily a gamer/streamer before he switched over to producing fashion content. I caught up with the Madrid-based creator about his history on social media, some of his favorite aspects of contemporary fashion and what’s next.

ONE37pm: How did you start creating content about sneakers and clothing?

Byre: I started uploading gameplays to YouTube in 2013, mostly Call of Duty and Clash Royale. With this content, I reached 130,000 subscribers in 2017, but stopped uploading videos because I was working and no longer liked this genre of content.

A year later, I came back to YouTube and started with sneaker and clothing content. With this style, I reached more than 550,000 subscribers. In the case of Instagram, when I used to upload gameplays, I almost never used the platform, but since I changed the content I started uploading photos of my outfits and it has had a great acceptance. Lately I’m also creating content on other networks like TikTok and Twitch.

Of all the videos you have uploaded, which is your favorite?

I would definitely go with my last battle of outfits. It is a series that I created, in which a jury composed of me and several friends choose which of my subscribers dresses better and the winners get a prize. I think a big part of the growth of my channel is due to this series.

To pivot a bit, what are your favorite brands?

I wear many brands on a daily basis, but among my favorites I would highlight Nike for sneakers. For clothing, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Carhartt, Acne Studios and Ader Error. Although I never really base it on the brand, but on what the garment looks like in terms of fitting and design.

How many sneakers do you own? What are your five favorite pairs?

Right now I have 75 pairs of sneakers. My favorites are: Off-White x Nike Jordan 1 UNC, Louis Vuitton Trainer Green, Rick Owens x Doctor Martens Boots, Cactus Plant Flea Market AF1 and Travis Scott Nike Dunk Low.

What’s your favorite item of clothing you own?

I have a lot of clothes and I wouldn’t know how to choose just one. But if I had to highlight one, I would say: Dior Shaddle, Gucci x TNF Shirt and my Balenciaga Bomber.

Who are some of your favorite fashion influencers?

The truth is that I’m not super tapped into what other influencers do. But I definitely like the content that my friend Mihail creates and he has a great style. Everything he wears looks good on him. I also really like the both content he creates and the trajectory in social networks of the British Youtuber, The Unknown Vlogs.

How did you start classified?

In 2019 after showing many clothing brands on my social networks, I thought the next natural step was to create my own brand. At that time my best friend Willy was also creating a clothing brand and we decided to partner up and do it together. We launched the first drop at the end of 2019.

What’s next?

As for social networks, the covid situation in Spain delayed my plans a lot since there are many restrictions here and it’s been practically a year without being able to record what I want.

Soon I will open a new channel dedicated exclusively to shoe reviews. I also want to travel more and create content in other countries for my main channel.

As for classified, we have many plans for the future and we want to keep growing. Stay tuned.

Spanish Translation:

En la era de la constante evolución de los medios digitales y la creación de contenidos, el proceso de encontrar el camino personal puede ser una tarea difícil. Los creadores de contenido como Byre demuestran la maleabilidad de la producción de contenidos; el hecho de empezar creando un tipo de contenido no significa que no se pueda pivotar. Nuestro invitado de hoy empezó siendo un gamer antes de dar el salto al contenido de moda. Me he puesto al día con Byre sobre su historia en las redes sociales, sus gustos en la moda contemporánea y todo lo que está por venir.

ONE37pm: ¿Cómo empezaste a crear contenido sobre zapatillas y ropa?

Byre: Empecé en YouTube en 2013 subiendo gameplays, principalmente Call of Duty y Clash Royale. Con este contenido alcancé los 130.000 suscriptores en 2017, pero dejé de subir vídeos porque estaba trabajando y ya no me gustaba ese contenido.

Un año después, volví a YouTube y empecé con los vídeos de zapatillas y ropa. Con este contenido he superado los 550.000 suscriptores. En cuanto a Instagram, casi nunca lo usaba cuando subía gameplays, pero desde que cambié el contenido empecé a subir fotos de mis outfits y ha tenido buena aceptación. Últimamente también estoy en otras redes sociales como Twitch y TikTok.

De todos los vídeos que has subido, ¿Cuál es tu favorito?

Sin duda me quedo con las batallas de outfits. Es una serie que yo creé en la que un jurado formado por varios amigos y yo elegimos cual de mis suscriptores viste mejor y los ganadores tienen un premio. Creo que una gran parte del crecimiento de mi canal se debe a esta serie.

Cambiando un poco de tema, ¿Cuáles son tus marcas favoritas?

Visto muchas marcas en mi día a día, pero entre mis favoritas destacaría Nike para zapatillas. Para ropa, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Carhartt, Acne Studios y Ader Error. Aunque realmente nunca me fijo en la marca, sino que valoro otras cosas como el fit y el diseño de la prenda.

¿Cuántas zapatillas tienes? ¿Cuáles son tus pares favoritos?

Ahora mismo tengo 75 pares de zapatillas. Mis favoritos son: Off-White x Nike Jordan 1 UNC, Louis Vuitton Trainer en verde, las botas de Rick Owens x Doctor Martens, Cactus Plant Flea Market AF1 y las Travis Scott Nike Dunk Low.

¿Cuál es tu prenda de ropa favorita?

Tengo mucha ropa y sería muy difícil quedarme solo con una. Pero si tuviera que destacar alguna, te diría: Dior Shaddle, camisa de Gucci x TNF y mi bomber de Balenciaga.

¿Quiénes son tus influencers de moda favoritos?

La verdad es que no sigo mucho lo que hacen los demás influencers. Pero me encanta el contenido que mi amigo Mihail crea y tiene un estilazo, todo lo que se pone le queda bien. También me gusta el contenido y la trayectoria en redes sociales del YouTuber británico The Unknown Vlogs.

¿Cómo empezaste classified?

En 2019 después de haber enseñado muchas marcas de ropa en mis redes sociales, pensé que el siguiente paso natural era crear mi propia marca. En ese momento mi mejor amigo Willy también estaba creando una marca de ropa y decidimos asociarnos y hacerlo juntos. Lanzamos el primer drop a finales de 2019.

¿Cuáles son tus próximos pasos?

En cuanto a las redes sociales, la situación del COVID en España retrasó mucho mis planes ya que aquí hay muchas restricciones y he pasado prácticamente un año sin poder grabar lo que quiero.

Pronto abriré un nuevo canal de YouTube dedicado exclusivamente a las reviews de zapatillas. También quiero viajar más y crear contenido en otros países para mi canal principal.

En cuanto a classified, tenemos muchos planes para el futuro y queremos seguir creciendo. Estad atentos.

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Leaders Style

POETS’ Founder Gino Iannucci Talks Skateboarding and Honing his Process

With its cobblestone streets and nautical views of the East River, Manhattan’s Seaport District is an anomaly. Flanked by high rises and financial buildings, it calls to mind the quaint port towns of Long Island or even coastal New England. Even with its tourist attractions, it feels slow. When I meet POETS founder and professional skateboarder Gino Iannucci there, I’m reminded that skateboarding was one of the only reasons I’d been to the Seaport save a random dinner or occasional free concert at the pier. With several spots in its proximity including the Brooklyn Banks and a lack of foot traffic and moving vehicles, the Seaport and its wooden benches topped with angle iron became a hub in the late-’90s into the early 2000s. 

“You remember how it used to smell skating down here,” Iannucci says about the fetid odor that would waft from the fish markets over to the benches, especially during the summer. “I always liked that it was quiet down here—it was less stressful.”

https://www.poetsbrand.com/
Anthony Pappalardo

Now living in the area, Iannucci’s spent the past year focusing on POETS, the brand he initially started as a brick-and-mortar skateshop in Long Island, where he was raised. While the shop didn’t prove to be a sustainable business venture, over its two locations it was an outlet outside of his skate career that led to brand collaborations as well as a space for ideas that would later inform POETS. For example, the shop was his introduction to a local skateboarder and wood worker who would later create board hangers as well as an irreverent wooden piece called the “Little Hammer” for POETS under the pseudonym Mitch Leary. Leary had previously helped create display cases and pieces for the shop whose clean boutique aesthetic contrasted the sticker clutter and product overload of most shops at the time. Now operating as a clothing and accessories brand, POETS pulls from design and interest in handmade objects gleaned from the shop as much as the movies, pop culture and even folklore of Iannucci’s youth. What it eschews is the structure—the constant maintenance, ordering, customer service, and upkeep necessary to maintain a store.

“Skate shops were so important growing up,” he says. “Checking out new boards or videos and having a space for that is great, but running one can get boring really fast. After a while it just becomes a business and stops being fun.”

He shows me an image on his phone of a skateboard deck, a Haro Jim Gray, mentioning that he purchased it from a booth selling skate products at a flea market in the mid-1980s. At the time, especially on the East Coast, there were few devoted skate shops as skating was viewed as seasonal with bicycle shops being some of the only places to find products. Ironically, Haro was a premier BMX brand at the time who only produced skateboards for a short period, and its few boards have become collectors items.

https://www.poetsbrand.com/
Gino Iannucci / POETS

Along with working on POETS’ collections and mining ideas for new products, Iannucci spent most of 2020 working on capsules with JSP, including a bold, luxury flip on the Padmore & Barnes P500 shoe. In a way, working during the pandemic independently and free of the industry’s antiquated model of trade shows, tight release schedules, and seasonal production, POETS can breathe and move organically. There’s less of an emphasis on planning each line or collection based on time, but rather feel and inspiration. A vintage boxing poster or scene from a movie could be a reference for a T-Shirt graphic or the start of a larger deep dive into involved cut-and-sew pieces such as the Tinker Jacket the brand produced, or the Tomato, a piece handmade in Bergamo, Italy as homage to the movie Rocky. The disparate calls to Rocky, hockey, and the oddly surreal stop-action animation of Davey and Goliath all find a way to coalesce into the POETS aesthetic and make the pieces personal and fluid, rather than rigid or overthought; something Iannucci is aware of.

“I remember going to Los Angeles and seeing Huf’s (Keith Hufnagel’s) office and how he was just working all the time,” he says. “It was so proper and he was so professional but I realize I can’t really work that way. (Having a brand) It’s almost like skating. If you aren’t working on a video or project, it can be really unstructured and to be honest, sometimes I need deadlines because I can get lazy (laughs). With POETS, I don’t feel pressured that every line has to have some detailed piece that takes me months to source and figure out. I don’t search that stuff out, I just do it when I’m inspired. I could reach out to people but I’d rather just let collaborations happen on their own. Sometimes I find myself thinking, ‘Should I be getting up and working on this for five hours or whatever,’ but I’m just not that kind of person.”

Anthony Pappalardo

In a time when the process of marketing or branding or process itself becomes more of a task than actual creation, it’s easy to feel that there’s an implied way that everything has to operate. Iannucci isn’t counter to that or intentionally shunning it. Instead, he keeps POETS fresh by staying detached from it and allowing POETS to be an outlet first over a job. 

“I ran into Gonz (Mark Gonzales) the other day down here,” he says. “He was asking me about skating and to be honest, going skating can be the easiest way to measure regression you know? It can be really frustrating at times. I was telling him that I’ve been getting out here and there but I have injuries and it’s hard sometimes. He goes, ‘Yeah, I see you’ve been jumping rope,’ (laughs) and it really made me think that he’s right, I feel fine doing that. Maybe I’m just making excuses. (laughs).”

For Iannucci, it’s all about feel. A day spent bike riding is just as valuable as one hashing out design ideas. Like actual skateboarding, everything comes down to curation—the spot, the trick, how it’s done and how it looks—and allowing that to be liquid is a learning and a boon to POETS and a regimen he’s easing into. 

“We spend so much time on our phones and it can really fuck with you,” he says. “You see people feeling like they have to post something, especially when you own a brand—it’s so consuming. You have to stop and think about what you’re actually doing outside of Instagram or whatever and realize all the work you’re putting in and what you’ve done, not what you’d posted or what this person’s doing, you know? It’s easy to forget what goes into making things.”

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Leaders Style

The Happiness Project: How Apparel Can Push the Mental Health Conversation

Mental health is difficult to talk about. Luckily, that’s changing as people become more comfortable discussing the ubiquitous mental illnesses that have pervaded so many of our environments. Jake Lavin, founder of the Happiness Project, wants to use his brand to increase  conversations around mental health. The more comfortable we are discussing these issues, the more comfortable people will be in seeking help. 

That’s the mission of The Happiness Project, a clothing line that aims to “elevate happiness throughout the world” by increasing conversation and donating 15% of their profits toward the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I spoke with Jake this week about the brand’s history, the genesis of their recognizable graphics and what’s next.

The Happiness Project has been around since 2017, but really started picking up steam this last summer of 2020. In 2017, one of Jake’s classmates, Nick Spaid, tragically lost his battle with mental illness. This moment catalyzed the mission of the Happiness Project, encouraging Jake to spread awareness about mental illness through his clothing line. By wearing a hoodie with “The Happiness Project” emboldened across it, it will always prompt people to ask, “What is that?” And just like that, you’re talking with someone about the Happiness Project’s mission and having an open conversation about mental health.

Although the project first started in 2017, it wasn’t until this past summer that Jake and the team started really working on the brand. The hoodies and other products are certainly cool, but the focus is always on the message and the mission. In 2020, they donated over $50,000 to NAMI.org, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, “dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” The gear itself opens up conversations, while the brand donates 15% of the proceeds towards organizations helping those fighting their battle against mental illness.

Jake and I spoke a bit about the design process as well and how they went about selecting the now iconic colors and logo for the brand. They tested a plethora of color option before settling on the current pastel array you can see available on their website right now. They wanted to opt for “colors that scream happiness at you.” Jake wanted to keep the logo juvenile in a way, “almost  like a kids writing it.” It’s an immensely serious topic, but by presenting it in a more relaxed way, it allows people to approach mental health with less hesitancy.

As far was what’s next for the Happiness Project, a lot of the details are under wraps. They’re working on another drop soon, which will feature tie dye patterns—the result of a full week of dye testing in Jake’s backyard this summer. They also are in talks with some big names about doing awareness events down the line, but some of those plans are on holds due to the pandemic. When I asked Jake for some of his long term goals, he had them locked and loaded: festivals to raise awareness, getting mental health resources into communities that can’t afford them, creating a big factory-like space where people can have fun and hang out that can function as a totally judgement free area.

Between their donations and ability to spread their message, The Happiness Project has certainly made an incredible impact so far. 2020 was huge, but I imagine 2021 will be even bigger. Keep your eye on the brand’s socials and definitely cop a tee or sweatshirt to support the young entrepreneurs, in addition to supporting mental health awareness.

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Leaders Style

Trés Bien’s Francesco Pini Lets Us In On His World of Fashion Design

How did a clothing obsessed skateboarder from Florence, with no formal fashion design training, become a lead designer for some of the most influential skate brands and fashion retailers today?

This is the story of Francesco Pini.

ONE37pm: Where are you from and how did you get into skateboarding?

Pini: I’m from Florence, Italy, but I’ve been residing in Malmö, Sweden for about 13 years now. 

I got into skateboarding from just going to my neighborhood’s “Boards” store when I was about 17 or 18. I remember the local skate hero had a VHS copy of Fulfill the Dream and he dropped it off at the store to just loop it in there for a few days. Next thing you know, the owner pirated a bunch of copies and I ended up getting one. Since the first day I saw Smolik, Brandon Turner, Muska and the rest of the team, I got into it. That video is still to this day so perfect.

How did you start designing? 

Depends on what typology of design we are talking about. For graphic design, it started randomly: a friend here in Malmö needed a graphic for his small skateboard brand and since I used to do some tattooing at home for some of his friends, he thought I could draw something for him. The result was kind of basic, literally just a drawing on a tee and a hoodie barely vectorized, but it was enough to make me want to do more and learn how to work Illustrator and Photoshop, so I could get a better final product. 

After that, I started testing some stuff on the merch I was producing for the vintage store I had at the time. Then I started doing some stuff for Kosta at Quartersnacks and other friends. Always on a friendly tip, but the stuff would be produced on a bigger scale and sold in stores worldwide, so that slowly became more satisfying and turned into a job. 

As for the clothing design, that started professionally with a job at Polar and grew from there.

I´ve never done or studied fashion design, but I have definitely been obsessed with clothing my whole entire life, so that helped develop an eye for it. I remember that since second/third grade, I used to get off of school around noon and I’d go directly to the sports store across the street to help them unpack the new arrivals. I was really into the NBA and they had all the Shaq Reebok gear and all the Jordan stuff coming in on a weekly basis.

I would stay there so long sometimes they had to warn my family that this was happening, so they wouldn’t stress when they didn’t see me come back home.

Later in my youth, I started asking my mom to help me refit clothes I had that I felt didn’t fit right. So with her help I got a bit more hands on with some sewing and fitting. From then on, I always messed around with clothing, but it never became a job until Polar.

Francesco Pini

I’ve never done or studied fashion design, but I have definitely been obsessed with clothing my whole entire life.

How did you get the job at Polar?

Easy, through Instagram (laughs). It was actually random as it could be. Polar was growing, but was still rather small and Pontus (the founder) posted on Instagram that he needed a clothing designer for the brand. So I wrote him an email and he was down. There were a lot of people from all over Europe applying for the job, but as he told me, he was looking for someone that lived in Malmö for “logistic” reasons. He also knew me briefly from skating and from the vintage store, since he came through a couple of times to get some reference pieces.

What did your job entail?

The job was from design to production 360 degrees, from pretty much starting the second day. I was the only designer there for 3 and a half out of my 5 years at Polar. Pontus was almost full time busy with editing “In search of the Miraculous” at very first and after he was done with that, he was always very busy with graphics, boards, more videos, editing/filming etc.

We’d obviously bounce ideas back and forth as I was drawing garments and he’d sometimes get involved, giving his point of view and his ideas of what was needed in the collection. He’d also help a bit with production issues and all, but it was a lot of work on my side since it was the very beginning of Polar making more elaborate gear—rather than the basic coach jackets and the jerseys. So it took a lot of research, ideas and overall development from all sides involved.

We had a production agent in Poland where Polar used to produce their clothing. He’d source factories and follow the production up close, but if there was an issue I’d have to fly there and go check it personally or go there to check the final samples before they were put on the production chain.

I remember the first time I went to Poland, it was like my second week working there. I had to go fix some damn snap buttons and some fit issues on a coach jacket they almost had ready for production. Pontus was like “this is it, you want to do this design job then go fix this thing”. It was sort of the most random move considering I had no real experience yet. I came back to the Polar office almost a week after with this luggage of coach jackets and as I walked by his room we kinda had a laugh about it. I’m pretty sure at some point when I was away he realized how random his decision of sending me there alone was. It did go well after all and we got the coach jackets done.

What are some of your favorite pieces you helped to create at Polar?

That’s a tough one, different ones for different reasons. I’d say first is the Hallberg fleece (named after a Polar skater, Hjalte) due to the fact that it was the very first garment I designed for Polar. It’s a spin-off of the North Face Denali. I drew that thing on an A4 the same day that I got the job. I still have that sketch.

Then it would be the first puffer I designed. The one with the two direction panels, half vertical and half horizontal. I like it because I based the design on a Polo Sport jacket. I love Ralph, so that was like a homage to him. Also, this was Polar’s first real outerwear piece with technical properties and qualities. I remember it was dumb expensive to produce and it ended up retailing around 500€, so really the only people that got it were the team and friends and family. It wasn’t in the skate shop price range let’s say (laughs).

Polar

Then I’d say being part of the process with the whole Surf Pants and Big Boys fit. The whole craze it generated afterwards in skateboarding clothing style, seeing it get so big that even non-Polar riders were buying and wearing them was definitely unexpected.

How did you end up leaving Polar?

After more than 4 years, me and Pontus just didn’t see things the same way, so I felt like I could try something different and see which doors that experience would open. I’ve got nothing but love for Pontus, Bella and the whole work team and I will forever. The time there helped me develop a lot work wise and as a person. 

How did you get the job at Trés Bien?

The day I quit Polar, I went to the Trés Bien HQ in Malmö, just to hang out since we knew each other from working together on the Polar x Trés Bien collaboration. I was trying to be in a creative environment within the same typology as Polar. They asked me right away if I wanted to design some striped tees/jersey and draw some graphics for their “Souvenir” line. I obviously took the chance and started freelancing for them.

After just 2 months they asked me to become a designer there full time for their in house line and do some graphics for the Souvenir line so I accepted. I honestly liked that freelance period. I got to work in Barcelona for Sour skateboards a bit and I could focus and put more work in Quartersnacks and start a bit with Alltimers and some more brands. But, after all, Tres Bien was too nice of an opportunity to snob.

What does your role at Tres Bien entail?

Clothing and graphic design, plus all the production that comes with it. From sourcing and ordering fabrics, woven labels, etc, to getting the product finished and delivered to our headquarters.

With the pandemic, what does your day to day routine look like?

Sweden has been a bit of a question mark to the eyes of the world regarding the pandemic issue. I would say the main tangible change here is that we can’t travel to nearby Denmark (Copenhagen) as we usually did. So besides that detail, my daily routine didn’t really change much. I wake up, go to the Tres Bien HQ or work from home, depending on what the task is that week. When I’m done working, I go play some basketball or skate a bit, then work a bit more on my other projects. After that I’m ready to chill a bit with my girl and go sleep so I can recharge and do it all over again. Looking back at it, I actually used the down time this whole situation created to focus and do more work that I’m hyped on.

Francesco Pini

Looking back at it, I actually used the down time this whole situation created to focus and do more work that I’m hyped on.

Why did you move to Malmo?


I moved here because I wanted to open a vintage store somewhere in Europe that had a good economy, so I could work and enjoy the results. I visited Malmö a couple of times before moving here and as a 25 years old (at the time) it had everything I needed: insane skate spots and a nice community around it, the seaside, the close distance to Copenhagen and mainly an open window for the business I wanted to start.

What do you miss about Italy?

First and foremost my family: seeing your parents age through a cell phone camera is nothing nice. I also miss the energy Italy has, between the history and art that is spread in every city, you get so much inspiration just by taking a walk or a bike ride. The landscape helps, too. We have possibly the most beautiful coasts, mountains and big cities within a 3 hour train ride from where I come from, so that helps when you have some free time to see and enjoy new things and gorgeous places. Other than that, the Italian culture overall. The fact that you can have a quick conversation with a random person at any time, I think that helps you keep a mental sanity. Also, miss the street markets. Whenever I go back home, I try to hit as many as I can. They’re a real goldmine for vintage clothing!

Where do your design ideas come from?

At this point during the pandemic, a lot of research between physical stores and online since I can’t really travel. The only 2 museums in Malmö are closed. Pre, and hopefully after the pandemic, I definitely love to see a good museum, travel to cities with strong history, architecture and lifestyle, just to enjoy them and soak in their details as much as I can.

I know you’re really close with Kosta, the founder of Quartersnacks. How did you guys meet?


We met way back In 2008 when I used to travel a bunch to New York since my ex was from Jersey. One of the OG QS guys, Isak, was studying a semester in Florence and when he moved back to NY I started visiting him often. He introduced me to Kosta and all the QS boys. 

Traveling with him is perfect, we’re really similar under many aspects. We like to see new things whether it’s museums or street markets. We’re always up for whatever sounds nice: a spritz, an aperitivo and some NBA finals illicit stream.

But that goes for the rest of the people that usually join us on these trips. We’re all kinda the same. As long as we can have chill times, eat and drink well, everyone is in. The skating is very casual. I don’t think we’ve ever picked a destination for its spots. We just go to a city, cruise around and skate what we find.

Did designing clothing for Quartersnacks just come naturally from being friends with Kosta?


Yeah, that definitely happened due to our friendship. I think the first thing I did for him was the Spritz mock up graphic. And that came basically from drinking many spritzes in Copenhagen and noticing that the logo was actually good to mess around with. Same with many other designs. We’d find a vintage t-shirt at a market and go “this is perfect, let’s just change this to QS!”. But as I did more stuff for him, he started asking me to do graphics from scratch, from ideas I wasn’t part of. He’d just start by explaining to me what vibe he’d like and then bouncing designs back and forth until we have the final one.

How did the Trés Bien X Quartersnacks collab come about?


When I started at Tres Bien, I told Kosta that it could be funny if we did a collaboration and he thought the same. I pitched it to my boss and he was also into the idea since I work for both companies. It made sense. 

The Trés Bien in house line we make is rather high end, with production in Europe and fine Italian fabrics and trimmings, so in the start we thought of releasing a capsule with cut and sew pieces that would land a bit out of the skate market price range, but in the end somehow, we ended up doing only the printables. 

Those graphics were pretty nice to do, since I was given a blank canvas from both sides. I thought that the QuarTrèsnacks was a fun wordplay for one graphic. The other one with the Alps is completely random, like I’ve done before for the QS line: connecting the brand with places that have nothing to do with it.

What about the Sneeze Mag X Tres Bien collab?


That connection was born from a coworker at Trés Bien that has been friends with the Sneeze people for quite some time. The creation of the capsule was built quite the same way as the QS one, so we knew we wanted printables and some cut and sew garments based on a funky twist to sporty outerwear.

I sourced a vintage anorak during the process and it was a very good fit with some nice details, so we decided to work on that design and turn it into a leather jacket, with a bucket hat to match. So you end up with a rain jacket that you can’t really use in the rain (laughs).

The fleece vest was mostly based on a fuzzy fleece fabric we sourced and wanted to use combining it with my love for fishing/technical vests. One of the rugbys was inspired from an offset stripe pattern painting I’ve seen during a visit at the local museum. The rest is based on vintage references combined with fabric sourcing. It was quite fun to make and I’m happy that the guys at Sneeze dealt with the graphic design part of the collection. I think it is nice to have both sides working on a collaboration rather than just one company borrowing the logo.

What brands do you think are doing things right these days?

I personally really like Aime Leon Dore. They have really good designs based on really smart references, the garments are really high quality and the collaborations are very well picked. Plus the image they’ve built around the brand is really cool to me.

I also think Palace is on an insane streak right now. We can discuss the fact that they are making too many collaborations or that most of the clothing is a bit “young” or hype. But still, the way they approach the presentation of their main line or the different capsules is absolutely flawless.

I recently started working a bit with you for Grand Collection. I really like the direction you’re taking the brand, plus the drive and effort you’ve been putting into it. There aren’t many casual decisions taken, everything is well thought after and executed.

I think that the guys at Dancer are also doing really nice things with their product in terms of quality and design and also how they market it.

For a less streetwear example, I really like Auralee and Bode. They both work with extremely high end fabrics or with an extreme research process, the fits are amazing and the final product is beautiful. It’s stuff I can’t afford and usually wouldn’t wear, but I really admire it. Other than these there are many other brands I got love for so it’s kind of hard to list them all.

Tell us about your vintage business? 

It’s called Noon Archive and so far is an Instagram shop (@Noon_archive) and a Depop page. But it’s slowly growing, as we are working on a webstore and planning a second pop up store.

The idea started from my love for vintage clothing, whether in sportswear or high end brands, and how I’ve always loved going to street markets and thrift stores knowing that in any table or rack there could be a gem hidden.

Also, I’ve had a vintage store before starting at Polar, where I used to source vintage between Sweden and Italy so I know how to get my hands on the product. Pretty much what was left to do was to think of a good name, start an Instagram account, take good pictures of the stock we had from one of our recent trips to Italy and build an image and concept around it. After that, just always be on the lookout for more product to add.

The name comes from the fact that working full time at Trés Bien, I have to use my hour lunch break (starting 12 o’clock) to go around Malmö researching gear at the local thrifts. That’s how the name Noon came about. It is a lot of work, especially balancing it between the full time job I have and the other graphic design gigs, but it is worth it seeing the response it is having from people.

If someone reading this wants to become a designer, what would you suggest?


I just think that if you love something you should pursue it. Put as much effort and work you can in learning and developing your skills, be humble in what you do and be nice to people and at some point you will be rewarded.

Francesco Pini

Whenever you get the opportunity to do what you love, do as much as you can to prove yourself and don’t take it for granted, since there are many other talented people that are hungry for that same opportunity.

Franceso Pini

What are you excited about working on next?


I think now is the time to plan a second pop up shop for Noon Archive following the one we had last October. Other than that, the Trés Bien line we worked on is releasing at the end of March. I’m psyched to do a lot more graphic design work for Grand, Quartersnacks and whoever needs some help. Hopefully soon enough we will be able to travel freely again. That is a thing I very much look forward to! Thanks a lot everyone, much love.