Authorization to Proceed

by Megan Bedard

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Authorization to Proceed

AG Adriano Goldschmied’s Creative Director Sam Ku Spells Out the Tenets of Good Design

If the fashionable yet classic AG Adriano Goldschmied jeans were a building, they’d be airy, light, and warm, says Creative Director Sam Ku. “Maybe it’s beautiful chevron reclaimed wood floors, the kind you see in Paris,” he theorizes. “Maybe it’s touches of antiques here or there that add to the flavor or give texture to the space.” Perhaps most telling is what the building

wouldn’t

be: “We wouldn’t want it to be starved paint or super modern or cold.”

What sets AG clothing apart—jeans in particular—is an ongoing commitment to balancing quality, trend, and classic style. Trusting Ku’s well-known taste, we asked his opinion on the best architecture of Los Angeles, his hometown and the location of AG’s L.A.-based production facility (yes, facility, singular—impressively, the brand keeps every stage of production under one roof. A second facility also produces jeans from start to finish in Mexico).

Ku’s selection was telling of his skill in seeing the many facets of how “best” is represented: some structures were classic, some quirky, others innovative, unusual, or minimalist. Unparalleled vistas, intricate floor patterns, rustic finishes, or calming auras all saw recognition in his list of must-see places.

“I think much of the thought process that goes into architecture might be similar to what we do,” Ku says, looking out to a vista of Beverly Hills from the second floor of the Paley Media Center, a bright building with curving staircases, floor-to-ceiling windows, and playful details like a hallway-length rug designed to look like television’s trademark rainbow bars. “There are trends as well as class in certain types of architecture. From a designer point of view, it’s important that our designers and our art team stay in-the-know in terms of what’s going on—whether it’s music, architecture, whatever it may be.”

Elaborating on a hypothetical alignment of the brand with a building, Ku says, “If we had to marry our ideas more to architecture, we [would] talk about a slight modernity, a lot of clean lines, and a touch of vintage. Vintage heritage is always important to our brand—and industrial—so we want to have that with a modern twist to it. I think that applies to architecture as well.”

It’s Ku’s vision for AG that’s taken the label from boutique status to a global brand. After working in the family business (his father started the brand with Adriano Goldschmied) straight out of college, he took the helm as creative director in 2008. The company made several innovative leaps, adding laser-burning technology to create nuanced distressed looks; incorporating advanced fibers and stretch components; and trying out different chemical treatments for an array of washes.

Now, Ku says, his sights are set on fleshing out AG’s tops as well. “We want guys and girls to come in and say ‘Oh my god I love the cut on that shirt, and I come back every season for the new prints or the new colors. I buy five white shirts every season and just throw them on because they are perfect white shirts.’ We want to be a go-to [brand] for that as well, and I wouldn’t mind if we build fans that just say ‘I love AG tops, I don’t really like the bottoms because they’re not really my style.’ If I heard that from someone, that would be great, too. Right now it’s a definitely a bottoms business and brand. We are looking to build the tops and build them as a collection, to be married harmoniously. That’s the goal.”

In the meantime, the brand will continue to release its signature styles straight out of Los Angeles, where classic, beautiful, flamboyant, bold, and timeless buildings stretch endlessly, a constant source of inspiration to keep the creative wheels turning.


Written by Megan Bedard