So You Say It Comes in Black?

by Katie Denton

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DRIFTER

Drifter is made and designed in Compton, California. Founded in 2001 by Bada Kim, the idea behind Drifter is to integrate high-end fabrics and materials into classic designs; looks that only the founders themselves would wear. The collection ranges from free flowing sweatpants and hoodies—active and street wear with a fashion-forward sensibility.                         

What aspects of California influence your aesthetic?

The climate is probably the biggest dictator—we really try to utilize “seasonless” fabrications, all sourced here in the U.S., specifically Los Angeles if possible. The industrial aspect and the stoic nature of Compton is represented in our silhouettes and our carefree “DRIFTER” styling. Just like the city of Compton and life in general, we love monochromatic color stories—black and white.

Which designer is your biggest inspiration?

Gotta be honest that nowadays inspiration comes from everywhere—social media, online, and just people watching. But, if really having to divulge a single designer—we respect every known and unknown designer (shit’s hard to do)—but Rei Kawakubo is pretty damn creative. All of her labels, her stores, her prodigies, and everything she  touches touches us.

Have you ever given yourself a fashion-related injury? Was it worth it?

All the time: cuts from custom hand knick and grinding of garments, burns from the iron/steamer, electrocuted from installing tradeshow lights, a few lumps to the head from hitting racks, eye sores from staring at the damn computer too long, and headaches from my production team.  Not sure if I got paid for that so maybe not—lol.

At what time of day are you most creative?

Pfft, wish I knew—I would only work then.

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STAMPD

Founded by Chris Stamp in 2011, and based in L.A., Stampd describes itself as “avantstreet” menswear. Stampd’s modern lifestyle collection is Californian in essence, pairing luxe materials with streetwear in a way that invokes that mesh of nature and the urbane so particular to this city.

How has Los Angeles influenced your work?

L.A. is the west coast epicenter for fashion and art and I like having access to as much information as possible, whether it be creative influence or not. Southern California has that for me.

What type of music do you listen to when you are first in your workspace?

90% of what we listen to is Hip Hop. The rest is reggae. My taste ranges from anything from The Weeknd to Travis Scott, Fetty Wap, and Future at the moment. Although I always fall back on Reggae.

At what time of day are you most creative? 

Early mornings, I’m definitely a morning person.

How has architecture been influential? 

I have a lot of respect for certain architects, the way that they are able to see structurally and mathematically into environments. With certain pieces we create I like to try and think that way as well. Danish design and architecture has a level of simplicity as well as luxury to it and I love the combination of that and always strive to create things that fall within those boundaries.

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JOHN ELLIOTT + CO

Founded in 2012 by the namesake and his business partner, Aaron Lavee, the menswear label landed in the spotlight at New York Fashion Week 2015, with a functional, grown-up street collection that showcased a meticulous eye for detail and material, all sprouting from L.A.’s garment district.

How has Los Angeles influenced your work?

We’re a product of L.A. We started in three categories that Los Angeles excels in: Denim, Jersey, and Terry. We utilized the wealth of manufacturing options and incorporated interesting textiles and unique fits, and we had something special. It was all because of the opportunity to drive downtown and work in the factories.

How has architecture been influential? 

I took a very architectural approach to creating our denim fit and details. I’m inspired by Brutalist architecture, which is pretty common up and down the west coast. If you look at the way Brutalist architecture is layered together, you can see the influence in our aesthetic.

What’s your favorite thing about this city?

Being able to hide.

What aspects of California influence your aesthetic?

I grew up in San Francisco in the mid-90’s and was heavily influenced by the DIY nature of the skate culture at that time.

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SECOND/LAYER 

Established in 2012 in Los Angeles by Anthony Franco, Jacob Willis, and Joshua Willis, Second/Layer can be described as a minimalist street wear brand heavily inspired by skateboarding and Chicano cultures. With their monochromatics and unique silhouettes, the brand’s designer’s focus is to create a tailored, genderless form.

What type of music do you listen to when you are first in your workspace?

Cruise into the morning with Lowrider Oldies or CNN.

What is your favorite thing about Los Angeles?

The culture clash, and balance between a laid-back lifestyle and DIY work hustle.

Our friends/family, and backyard BBQ parties. Convenience accessibility.

What aspects of California influence your aesthetic?

Our sensibility is rooted from where we grew up, and the mentors we looked up to.

Living between Mexican neighborhoods, and the coast gave us a broad range of influential friends early in life.

What tool do you use the most in your studio?

MacBook Pro, Intuos5, Epson V500 Scanner, Staedtler Drafting Pens, Contax G2/90mm + 50mm, Profoto 2R, Softbox/Heads.

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