Sam Finger | High Fashion With a Conscience

Dressing the revolution

Written by

McKenna Matus

Photographed by

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Styled by

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Sustainability meets the sublime, sleek, and sexy with New York based fashion brand Sam Finger. Inspired by experimentation, power, and boldness, the brand’s namesake creative director, Sam Finger, has catapulted his brand into fashion scenes in New York, Los Angeles, and around the world. The brand uses vintage clothing and sustainable materials to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Finger’s debut collection was recently shown at New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023, featuring genderless, low waisted, and asymmetrical silhouettes. The Sam Finger brand combines its founder’s mastery of craftsmanship with his dedication to creating environmentally friendly and ethically produced garments. 

Fashion was a full circle experience for Finger, stemming from and deeply rooted in his childhood creativity. From a young age, he had a fascination with drawing girls and designing clothes for them. When Finger was in high school, his mother had an arm injury, leading him to draw her clothing collection that season. Finger began exploring fashion wholeheartedly by interning and working for New York designers, including Vivian Tam. Progressing through various roles, he found himself as the Design Director of Forever 21. While living in Los Angeles, Finger was inspired by the city’s upcycling scene, which left a lasting impression on the style and aesthetic of the Sam Finger brand. The designs are tasteful yet provocative and are created to be worn by the bold, the brave, and the ones with good hearts. 

See here an insight to Sam Finger's collections and inspirations.

Where are your favorite places to source deadstock and recycled materials that you use to create your garments?

I used to love going to places in LA like Wasteland and all the big vintage suppliers on the outskirts of the city. That’s kind of where my passion started. Now as I've evolved, I've become a huge fan of ebay. I love the process of eBay and the way they work with the sellers; it’s become one of my best friends for vintage and secondhand.

How does your New York background and presence in the Brooklyn creative scene influence the aesthetics of your brand?

Growing up in New York, I was always really into vintage. I was always into seeing what I liked on the streets of New York. I grew up near NYU, and I’d love seeing all the kids getting dressed up. A lot of them were probably young designers. I was inspired by that at a young age, and was encouraged to experiment. This was when I was around 12 years old. When I came back to New York and started launching my brand, I was building my new community as well as reintegrating my old community. Being back in New York, I saw my path as well as the future incorporated into both communities. I was inspired to see these communities evolve to where they are now, being more celebrated, like the queer community that I’m a part of. I think 10 years ago, I wouldn't have been able to celebrate the queer community as confidently as a designer. That was the inspiration; to take something I had known as a child and bring it to a bigger place and celebrate it at a bigger level, really using the communities around me as my source of inspiration.

What is a material you haven't worked with yet that you would like to experiment with and incorporate into future designs?

I'm inspired right now by organza and anything shear. I like things that you can see through. I’m especially inspired by silk right now as well.

What feelings do you seek to invoke when someone wears your garments? 

I want the person that wears Sam Finger to feel like they're expressing their own individuality with a bold braveness. I want them to feel confident about who they are and celebrated for who they are in these clothes. Something that's important to me is that minorities can feel bold, brave, confident and sexy in this collection. It’s really designed for that purpose.

What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced in maintaining your brand’s sustainable ethos?

I think expansion and cost are big things that I foresee being obstacles with sustainability. But also, for me, sustainability is a flexible concept. I don't believe it has to be done or thought about in one specific way. I’m okay breaking the rules as long as the ethics are there to begin with. I don’t have a certain rulebook that I follow; I just try to keep everything ethically and morally sound as I do it. I make sure everyone I work with on the production side has ethics and morals in line with what I believe to be important. But the biggest obstacle is definitely expansion.

How would you describe the person you would most like to dress and what are some of their qualities, attitudes, or attributes that you might find interesting and inspiring? 

Well, we just dressed Julia Fox yesterday, which was really exciting. I actually envisioned her in the look that she wore when it was first being made. I thought, “This feels so her.” She stands for the things that I want people to feel when they wear my clothes. Somebody specific that I would love to wear Sam Finger is Hunter Schaefer. I think she's amazing and really identifies with the kind of people I want to dress. She stands for a lot of the things that I care about, propelling in society, which ties back to my vision of the people I dress being really confident, strong, and brave. With a really good heart, though. There’s a toughness and a sweetness that I’m really interested in. I also love that feeling in clothing; something that’s really strong but also really soft at the same time, playing into both masculine and feminine dynamics.

Photographed by Nico Daniels.

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Sam Finger, Sustainable Fashion, Spring/Summer 2023, Upcycled Materials, McKenna Matus