by Ian MacKintosh

I first met New York-based gay writer and photographer Alex Geana during New York Fashion Week.  For the past eight seasons, he has interviewed designers and reviewed shows and events for The Huffington Post. I then read his 2008 book “Side Step Me” which is a collection of short stories, poems and photography. A book that I felt was like reading a journal found in a Lower East Side nightclub. A journal with the right mix of insight and debauchery that I wish I could have penned myself. I loved every page. This past summer, Alex was one of 80 photographers from around the world invited to be part of The Great LGBTQ Photo Show at the Leslie Lohman Gallery on Wooster Street.  The gallery was founded in 1990, exhibits unambiguously gay artwork that is often denied by mainstream venues, and houses a permanent collection of more than 3,000 works by artists such as Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Jean Cocteau and Robert Mapplethorpe. Alex is presently working on three shows and is never without his camera.

PINK: Having your work shown in the Leslie Lohman Gallery is quite the honor.  How did it feel to be part of the show?
I was really excited. I’ve taken photography very seriously, just recently.  To get a gallery of that caliber out of the gate and to have one of the prints actually sell. Made me really excited and in some ways validated my desire to make pictures. Now people can buy the show from my website.

PINK: Tell us a bit about how and when you first became interested in photography.
I’ve always loved telling a story, it’s the medium that always seems to change for me. Side Step Me, in a way, marked the transition between my desire to write and the work in photography. I took a few classes in High School and needed to leave it behind. To enter the “real world”. But then I picked it up again, when I was tired of working on a novel and living in my head. My mentor and first reader passed away and I couldn’t finish the work. So I had to retool the way I chronicled the world.

PINK: How would you describe your photography style?
It’s still evolving, but I tend to favor very clean crisp images, that are very direct and uncluttered. I crop in the camera, which I’ve found is really rare for photographers. But I think that’s crucial for a final big print. I prefer to print 13 x 19 and upwards. I also like a really rich color palate with lot’s of color saturation and vibrancy.

Subject matter and working within the picture is becoming really crucial for me. How I make the work, from the moment I pick the model, to the way I print the photo, every step if important to my process and the choices I make along the way all effect the picture.  Photography is far more then just clicking on a button. I also love taking pictures of hot boys in various states of undress.  Just can’t help myself. J

PINK: What inspires you to take a photograph?
I do look for the “decisive moment”. I wait for the picture to unfold in front of me. Sometimes you have to wait for a while. Sometimes you don’t. It depends on how much control you have. When I’m working with a model. I have a lot of control. When I’m in the tents and covering Fashion Week. I really have to keep my camera at my side. I’ve missed a ton of photos because a celebrity has whizzed by, or the PR firm gave me bad seats. But on that note. I’ve taken a ton of great photos because I’ve been seated very well and had the ability to focus on the celebrity in front of me.

PINK: Tell us about your upcoming shows.
Next year I have some very ambitious goals for myself and plan on focusing on photography full time. I have enough fashion photojournalism to mount a gallery show and want to find the right fit. I’m also building on what I’ve shot for the Leslie-Lohman gallery and want to explore spirituality and a dark edge, luxury, I’m looking for the right models and venues to shoot the show. Lastly, I’m obsessed with the visual diary that an iPhone can capture. I want to fill a room with hundreds of iPhone photos.

PINK: List five words that people would use to describe you:
creative • sweater • touch-frenzied • social • crowded

PINK: What is next for Alex Geana?
I try to take it one day at a time. As best as I can. I think I have a full year already booked. And it’s not even January.

To see more of Alex’s work, visit his website www.alexgeanaphotography.com.


 
 
by Ian MacKintosh

When Ginch Gonch Underwear founder Jason Sutherland joined former Tommy Hilfiger executive Brian Edgarin founding their new company, Beyond Big Branding Industries, Inc., their combined, innovative multi-branding expertise soon found them globally launching new designs through partnerships with some of the best brands in the international market. To date, their company portfolio includes some of the most distinctive underwear brands such as Piss & Vinegar, EXPOSE and LAZZYbum.
Yet prior to Beyond Big Branding’s rise to success, Sutherland had already long since been known for his boldly designed underwear lines and marketing techniques. In a discussion with PINK, the original Ginch-Gonch guy recounts how he pushed the political correctness of the underwear-making industry to the limits.

PINK: Hey Jason! When thinking of a title for this story, I tossed around “The Underwear King” and “The Branding King.”
King? Well, I wanted that title but I believe Nick Graham, founder of Joe Boxer, claimed it years ago.  Queen was being kicked around but when I met Nick, I realized that he is happily married and I am too hairy for a tiara and those types of jewels.

PINK: Tell us about Beyond Big Branding Industries Inc.
Brian and I have started a machine for men, globally providing products that guys would like to have and other guys should be in. It’s a time when global males want stuff that makes them feel sexy and are masculine. We are approaching a time where guys are okay with being pampered.  This evolution has quickly happened in, lets say, a short 10 years, so imagine what we are about to see with guys being able to buy what they want to make them feel good.

PINK: You are known for bringing fun into the men’s underwear business with your product designs.  Men’s underwear was a bit boring before you came along.  How did you get to where you are today and what led you to this industry?
How did I get to where I am today? Lots of mistakes, taking risks and loving seeing what was able to happen from an idea which became the inner fuel to push. Everyone has personal pride with what they do and being able to do something I love is truly the best fuel to keep me going.
It has been seven years of learning. In this industry, we get to see all types of people from various social environments.  From the sales challenges, photo shoots, runways, and buyers from the best stores, we see how a product is made, sometimes in countries that need our industry to live and in climates that most would never step foot in. One day you are having dinner with the buyers of Selfridges and the next you are invited to dinner at the house of a cutter—those are two very different worlds.

PINK: Where did the names “Ginch Gonch” and “Piss & Vinegar” come from?
Ginch Gonch came from the idea of guys being able to talk about their parts without being embarrassed and at the same time, enjoying a bit of color down below. It’s mostly covered up anyway, so if you could imagine something putting a smile on your face when you hit the can. When I started Ginch Gonch, we came up with the Jolly Cock, a little happy chicken, and Wiener Eater and many other designs. The motto of Ginch Gonch is “Live Like a Kid.”  A kid has that infectious belly laughter so all we wanted to do was make the wearer smile a few times during the day.
Piss & Vinegar is a much different product, Piss & Vinegar as the meaning of the saying “Full of piss and vinegar” is an energy in which one is attracted regardless of beliefs, understanding or current position. We grow and change and if you have enough Piss & Vinegar, you might lead a life admired by many. As in Jesus or Buddha, both icons were and are still full of this energy we all admire.
Piss & Vinegar, in its collections to date, has had the “I love” collection that refers to an emotion one cannot control or explain, the “Super Ewh” collection for something super dirty that most may never admit too, and the “Spectrum, Who defines Creed & Color.” For spring, there is the “SX DRGS RCK & RLL” collection, which is something everyone can relate to whether their time was in the Americana 60s, Punk 80s or today’s club beats that keeps them up all night dancing with freedom. Music is a historical unexplainable iconic thing that all humans love.

PINK: Your marketing campaigns have always been fun, naughty and full of gorgeous models.  Is creating these campaigns the best part of your job?
It’s one of the great parts of this industry. I often say that when starting this business, I had no idea how many different body types I was going to meet and see. Naughty is when you have someone calling your office to find the right fit of underwear and describing there body parts to you. Or actually sending photos to the customer service agent so that their words can really resonate on what fit we are dealing with.  Hearing people excited and a bit strange in their excitement is the best parts of the job.  The second best is landing in so many different countries in world. We have a lot of parts on this globe the need to be covered up.

PINK: There has to be some crazy behind-the-scenes stories, right?
Are you kidding? YES.
Tammy, one of my favorite models, was flying overseas for the tradeshow circuit. She landed in London and was keep by agents for 36 hours for questioning due to not having the right paperwork in place and telling the agents that she was a model arriving for work. Oh the calls I received from her in the confinement, if I could have recorded them. “Ho, I can not handle it any longer, the walls are grey, you have to get me out of here pronto Jason. PRONTO. This color is not good for me!”
Or in Russia, when a guy (who shall remain nameless as he is in the fashion industry) pissed me off to no end about CK, CK, CK, it was the only underwear brand that he wore and I was simply trying to get him to TRY a pair on but instead he said, “you would have to rip them off me.” So in a hotel room full of people and with a camera recording, I did. I ripped them right off and from that video, we created the WEGGIE Contest. Funny times. There is a new story every week!
We could even talk about the stuff that is not as much fun such as manufacturers going bankrupt with 50% of your cash and the bank not releasing the products, or tradeshow booths being re-routed to cities that you had no idea existed, or a crazy pattern maker who smoked so much that there was a line of exhaust staining his face. Like any business, this industry is full of characters and personalities, people will take your ideas and intellectual properties and if they have enough money and your not careful, they will take your whole company with promise and just leave you with regret.

PINK: Each of your brands has a distinctive story and audience. LAZZYbum is for the “adrenaline junky.” EXPOSE is inspired by Columbian men “who know they are beautiful and are not afraid to flaunt it.”  What inspires you and these concepts?
LazzyBUM is everything the Jones aren’t, everything but being lazy. LazzyBUM is about catching what comes at you with a bit of an attitude.  Every Guys GUY can relate to this. Guys who want to make the trucks muddy, guys who want to jump out of planes and eat the fat off the stake, guys who live their days with exercise not because they want the best abs but because they are simply addicted to feeling good.
Look, concepts are emotions so I trigger an emotion that one can relate too. Regardless of an idea, it is nothing if you cannot create a memory or relate to present day with an “I wish I could.”

PINK: You are celebrating the first year of Beyond Big Branding, what are your goals for 2011?
Beyond Big Branding is opening stores and building out its products range with classic innovations. We are building out categories in every line as well as a few more new lines hitting the floors for Fall 2011.  We have partners in Australia, Germany, France, and the Netherlands – all the major countries that are building out and behind triumphant growth of the company’s brands. We are really excited about our newly formed relationships with Kuwait and India.

PINK: What is next for Jason Sutherland?
I have made a personal quest to GRAB 2011 by the BALLS.  It’s a GREAT year and it may be my last with the freedom of kid as I am doing everything I can to adopt and become a single Dad. I am currently getting some practice with Jesse, my 6-month old Fox Terrier who is truly pampered. I am preparing my head for committing and loving one or maybe two kids. My publicist Jeff adopted two boys a couple of years ago so I hear all about the growing pains and accomplishments. Sometimes it freaks me out and then I just want it more. My mom is excited to hopefully have another grandchild, to help me raise and to watch me be a father.

Check Jason wedging's video nameless: at  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1023941804979432441#

 
 
by Ian MacKintosh

Through the imagery of “combining men’s daily street style with original illustration,” fashion designer Richard Haines’ blog “What I Saw Today” is an addictive read. Haines’ career spans working as a designer for Calvin Klein, Bill Blass, Perry Ellis and Sean Combs to currently illustrating for In Style magazine and J Crew.

PINK: You have been penned “The Drawtorialist” because of your work and following on “What I Saw Today.”  Tell us about your blog and your fashion illustration work. When and why did you start blogging?
I started the blog about two and a half years ago. My career was in fashion design-menswear, and I was looking for freelance work. I figured if I started a blog, it would be another way to market myself. And I have always loved watching New Yorkers–it’s my favorite past time. So the furthest thing from my mind was the blog as an illustration vehicle but it took off immediately; the whole thing has been pretty amazing. After working for so many large companies, and being so edited, it was an incredibly liberating experience to directly put my work out into the ‘universe’–it was very empowering. I still feel the same way!

PINK: “A Visual Record of Cool Stuff Guys Wear…And Other Things That Inspire Me” is at the top of your blog.  What inspires you these days?
I’m usually pretty consistent in what I find inspiring. It’s a guy who puts himself together in an interesting way. It’s not necessarily about fashion and clothing. I love watching guys with style–the way he wears a hat, the way he stands–it’s much more about attitude and swagger. I’m inspired almost anyplace: on the train, at a party, a coffee shop; there’s usually at least one guy who’s put himself together well and I know will be fun to draw.

PINK: Is your style of illustrating similar to when you sketched designs while working for Bill Blass and Perry Ellis?
Yes and no. It’s developed over time, and working at fashion companies, a drawing is usually meant to convey specific information to a pattern maker, or done as a merchandising tool in the development of a collection. My sketching at those companies was fast and furious. There was no time to really sit down and do a sketch with color.  Now I really sketch to convey more of an attitude, or a gesture. I have the ability to include a detail like a pocket or a pleat, but it doesn’t have to be so technically correct.

PINK: Where do you find and what catches your eye to draw your subjects?
I can spot someone interesting in any part of New York, but right now the interesting parts of the city are Bushwick (where I live), Williamsburg, the Greenpoint, and the lower east side. I moved to Brooklyn about two years ago, and the ideas and art are happening here, and for me this is where people are putting themselves together in really interesting ways.

PINK: What do you say when asking someone if you can draw him?  Are most receptive?
New Yorkers love attention and they love to feel special. I’ve had one person out of hundreds say that he wasn’t interested in being drawn. Everyone else is flattered by the idea and immediately strikes a pose–it’s pretty amazing. But I always ask if I can take a picture or sketch them on the spot. I have a whole routine where I quickly explain what I do and as I’m talking, I hand them a card with my name and a link to the blog–just so they know I’m not a stalker!

PINK: You must meet many interesting men this way.
I was sketching one night and I realized I’ve made a career out of sketching hot, well put-together guys. I mean I find that pretty incredible. And most guys are great to talk to. The people who have come to my studio for a sitting are all interesting, bright guys. One of the best perks of the job is just getting to meet so many incredible guys.  Not a bad gig at all!

PINK: This past summer, I attended an exhibition of your erotic drawings that was hosted by fashion designer John Bartlett.  How different is it to illustrate someone in the nude to someone dressed?
Well, aside from things kind of unexpectedly “arising” when drawing a nude guy, I like to maintain a pretty clear boundary between the subject and me. The guys come to my studio and make themselves totally vulnerable by being nude;  I respect and appreciate that, and want to maintain that.  When I first started sketching nudes for the show, I wasn’t prepared for how hard (no put intended) it is drawing guys naked. In the same way one wears clothes to hide flaws, the same is for drawing. I realized I couldn’t hide a mistake with a pocket detail or shirt pattern. And for some reason I was drawing the genitals to be much larger than they really are! It took me a while to get comfortable with the whole package!

PINK: You had a busy New York Fashion Week (NYFW) in September, can you tell us some of the exciting things that went on?
In September, I really made an effort to go to as many shows as possible. I love everything about them, except trying to get in. The lines of people waiting to get in are just as interesting as the shows themselves, and the few times I got backstage to sketch models prepping was the best!  And things just keep unfolding. I had a SRO [standing room only] ticket to Narciso Rodriguez’s show, and saw a magazine editor friend who got me a seat in the third row. Then she took me backstage and introduced me to the guy doing the hair. He said he could get me into the Jeremy Scott show, so the next day I was sketching the models getting their hair and makeup done. As I was doing that, I ran into Kanye West, who had done a story about my blog the year before. We chatted and he invited me to a screening that night. So I went from standing room only to sketching Jay-Z and Beyonce in about 24 hours. That’s what I love about New York; you never know where something will take you.

PINK: What are your plans for the upcoming NYFW in February?
I’m sketching for the New York Times T Magazine’s online site. I’m sketching the European collections, as well as covering the New York shows, so I’m really psyched about that – it’s kind of a dream come true!

PINK: What is next for Richard Haines in 2011?
I just signed with one of the top agencies here, Jed Root, so I’m super excited about that. They are real pros and I’m excited about working with them on expanding my work and discovering new venues for it. I also would love to see a ‘What I Saw Today’ book and animation develop this year.

For more  information visit Richard’s blog: http://designerman-whatisawtoday.blogspot.com/
 
 
by Ian MacKintosh

Born in Greenbrae and raised in Novato, California, Andrew Wedge has a long list of accomplishments. He completed an Intensive Program at Parsons School of Design with Honors, studied at Pratt Institute and returned to California and to pursue his dream to become a fashion designer when he joined the Academy of Art University in 2006.
The 24 year old designer has worked as an intern for Bay Area designers Sara Shepherd and Selfmade Apparel and in 2009; he was nominated for one of the most prestige fashion awards in San Francisco, the “Visionary Fashion Designer”. His latest women’s wear collection was created to give any woman a sense of power and strength.
PINK caught up with Andrew in San Francisco, where he plans to spend the summer before heading to Paris in the fall.

PINK: How old were you when you came out?
Andrew: 14 years old

PINK: How was growing up gay for you?
Well, growing up is always a difficult process, however, I was lucky enough that the gay part of my growth really was a non issue. My friends and family were incredibly supportive of me, and really didn’t make an issue out of it one way or another. Even when I played waterpolo, not one guy ever made a comment or joke. We were all friends, and my sexuality was simply not an issue.

PINK: Any advice you would give young gay readers that you wish you had?
Be adaptable. Rarely does life work out the way we had planned. However, if you are able to adapt and grow from changing circumstances, then you can really accomplish anything.

PINK: Gay Pride is coming up. Do you have any plans and do you feel its important to be a part of pride activities?
For San Francisco Pride, I really don’t have many plans yet but I will be volunteering at the Folsom booth one of the days. I think Pride can be very important. It is an amazing opportunity to meet new people, to give back, and to celebrate. Why would anyone want to miss that?

PINK: You were born and raised in the Bay Area and then moved to NYC, a city considered the fashion capital.  What made you return to San Francisco?  Are you inspired by San Francisco?
San Francisco will always be my home and will always inspire my work. It is one of the most diverse, fascinating, inspiring, and beautiful cities in the world. Living in New York was an amazing experience, most importantly in that it gave me a new found respect for San Francisco.

PINK: The inspiration for your collection came from the New Jersey shark attacks of 1916 and the fear of great white sharks in general.  You said that you wanted to channel this fear into the collection and create a look that gave the wearer a sense of power and strength.  The power and strength is clear in your collection but explain how the great white sharks come into play.
As the collection developed, the inspiration really split into two paths. One was creating a collection that would transform the wearer into a strong powerful predator. A woman, who, like a great white, would instantly create a sense of awe and really radiate an inner sense of confidence and power. The other path was to reflect on what happens during an attack such as the thrashing of the shark, the churning of the water, etc. It was important to me that every single detail within the collection reflects those two concepts.

PINK: Who are some of your design influences?
My very first introduction into the world of fashion was through Tom Ford during his early Gucci years. He was my earliest fashion hero. I admired his work and his views on what fashion should be.

PINK: You launched a line two years ago, The Andrew Wedge Collection, but have put it on hold to grow more as a designer.  Is your current plan to apprentice at a design house and then re-launch your line in the future?
In the fashion industry, I feel that apprenticeship is an incredibly important step. As designers, we all have such strong perspectives on culture and fashion. I was fortunate to have assisted fashion designers Sara Shepherd, and the late Linus Mendenhall. Approaching fashion through their eyes was an amazing experience and gave me a fresh look at how, as a designer, I view the world. I would love to have that opportunity again.

PINK: Have you thought about designing men’s wear?  There is something about you that makes one think of you as a men’s wear designer.
Menswear is something I have always been very curious to try. As a gay man, much of what I see everyday is menswear. As a result, my collections have strong menswear components within them. I believe it could be a very interesting experiment to do a menswear collection.

PINK: What is next for Andrew Wedge?
I want to apprentice at a design house either back in New York or in Europe.

 
 
Photos courtesy of Traver Rains

by Duane Wells

As co-founder and half of the creative life force behind the Heatherette fashion label, Traver Rains has been a guest judge on Project Runway, hosted America’s Next Top Model, launched a signature MAC make-up line and dressed everyone from New York socialites like Paris Hilton and Lydia Hearst to Hollywood favorites on the order of Gwen Stefani, L’il Kim, Pamela Anderson, Rihanna, Nicole Richie and the late Anna Nicole Smith.  But at heart,  Traver is admittedly more of a cowboy than a  city slicker as evidenced by his personal collection of cowboy hats and his affection for the rural farm in Montana where he grew up.  It is no surprise then that Traver’s two newest ventures were actually inspired by the place he calls home rather than fashionable flavor of the month trends.
Last month Traver launched T. Rains, his first menswear collection, which is chock full of sexy tees, hoodies and tanks emblazoned with  Pop Art-inspired images of cheeseburgers, hot dogs, horses toking up and others inspired by the Sex Pistols , iconic slogans and pop culture in general.  With rare exception, each of the images in the T. Rains collection were shot by the designer himself.  After years of watching photographers shoot his collections and dreaming up the creations that would land on the covers of magazines Rains decided to take up photography with gusto again.
This past February Traver celebrated the fruits of his labor with an exhibition of his work at his Los Angeles studio, which is aptly named ‘The Ranch’.   In attendance were Aubrey O’ Day, Alan Cummings and bevy of other notable and distinctively hip Angelenos.
I stopped by Traver’s studio recently for a chat about his foray into menswear with the T. Rains collection, his photography and what he’s going to get up to next.  Here’s what he had to say:

PINK: So before we get to the collection, what inspired your recent interest in photography?
I was in Montana a year and a half ago and I was helping my mother with the foaling and calving.  On our property there are all these amazing old buildings — not to mention the fact that Montana is just so beautiful in general — and there was this old barn that I had grown up around that had kinda fallen down during the winter and they just burned it.

They burned this amazing barn wood that’s like a hundred years old and super weathered.
So I kind of wanted to capture these buildings from the Homestead era that were built when there was absolutely nothing in the Northwest.  And I wanted to do it in a unique way so that it was like a fashion story.  That’s really what inspired me to fly a model out and make the dresses and put the whole thing together.

And how did you come to decide to blend your photography with your new men’s collection?
Design is still ingrained in my brain after doing it for the last ten years so as I was taking the photos I started thinking [these images] would make great graphics for t-shirts.  Then I started thinking about it more and more and I thought,  T-shirts are easy, I can do that.  So I put together a little collection of images and then I’d think of a good image that I’d want to put on a shirt and then I’d go back to photography.

How do you describe your photography and the images you’ve chosen for this new line of T-shirts?
I don’t know.  I feel like it’s sort of a mix of the Andy Warhol pop thing but at the same time it’s a little bit more rustic with my western vibe, a sense of humor and some playfulness.  And then the underlying tone of the line is very sexual.

Did you always envision getting into the world of menswear?
With Heatherette we always intended to do a men’s line but never had the opportunity to do one.  I designed most of the menswear that you would see in the shows and we always had boys in the shows because it’s fun to cast the boys. [Laughs]  But it also kept the shows interesting even though [the boys] were more of an accessory because the meat and potatoes was always the girls.  So yeah I always had an interest in menswear.

It feels like this collection is an extension of your own personal style?
Oh yeah totally. I like making things I want to wear. [Laughs]

Right now your collection includes tees and hoodies, but are there other things we should expect to see in a Traver Rains men’s collection in the near future?
It’s so funny, but everybody says cowboy hats, so I have a feeling that’s coming. [Laughs]

Well  they are kind of your signature.
I don’t know, do you think cowboy hats are a trend?

I think you’d definitely have to start that trend but there is something to be said about the fact that in  the new hit FX series Justified Timothy Olyphant runs around doing good wearing a cowboy hat, so who knows?
Oh my gosh, you’re right. I guess I better hop on it.

Find out more about Traver’s new men’s collection at www.T-Rains.com.  And be sure to check out his photography at www.TraverRains.com.

 
 
Collection illustrations by BFA Fashion Design student Stephanie Hoffmann

BY IAN  MACKINTOSH
The School of Fashion at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California will debut the collections from graduating students of the Accessory, Knitwear, Men’s Wear, Technical, Textile, and Women’s Wear Design areas of study at the San Francisco Graduation Fashion Show and Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 6, 2010.

Each year, the School of Fashion honors industry leaders who have made an outstanding contribution to the world of fashion and creates opportunities for the honored guests to interact with the students with discussions, classroom visits and an exhibition of student work and portfolios. From these settings, guests are able to select interns from all areas of study including Fashion Design for Women’s Wear, Men’s Wear, and Children’s Wear; Technical Design; Textile Design; Knitwear Design; Accessory Design; Costume Design; Fashion Illustration; Fashion Journalism; Fashion Merchandising and Visual Merchandising.

Before the fashion show, Dr. Elisa Stephens, President of Academy of Art University will present an Honorary Doctorate to Suzy Menkes, OBE, Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and fashion editor of International Herald Tribune.

Academy of Art University President’s Awards for Excellence will be presented to:
·      Julie Chaiken, Bay Area designer and founder of Chaiken Clothing
·      Keanan Duffty, designer and author of ‘Rebel Rebel: Anti-Style’
·      Patrik Ervell, winner of the 2007 Ecco Domani Award for best men’s wear designer
·      Ian Hannula and Joe Haller, Bay Area designers and founders of Nice Collective
·      Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, innovative retailers and founders of Opening Ceremony
·      Elisa Palomino, women’s wear designer and VP of Design at Diane von Fürstenberg
·      Walter Van Beirendonck, men’s wear designer and one of ‘The Antwerp Six’
·      Dirk Van Saene, artist, designer and one of ‘The Antwerp Six’

Honored guests will announce internships at the end of the show. Other internships and awards to be announced include Abercrombie & Fitch, BCBG, SURTEX® designext Student Competition, and the Sister City Scholarship Exchange to study abroad in Paris at Studio Berçot and L’Ecole de la Chambre S

 
 
I just got this email and would like to share it with you the readers

The Gown Elephant: Runway Clothing, Resale Prices.
Join us for a showcase and sale of gently used and new designer evening wear, donated by many of Chicago’s most stylish philanthropists.
“Get your gown on” at The Gown Elephant! Find runway gowns and garments at great resale prices, sample the open martini bar, and be fashionably philanthropic!
Please come and support this event on Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 6:00-9:00PM at the Brown Elephent in Andersonville, 5404 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640. Tickets: Only $25 ($50 at the door)!
All the clothing offered at the event has been graciously donated from the closets of Chicago’s most notable women and will all be available at resale prices.
 
 
By Duane Wells

Since launching in 2001, the Robert Graham brand has combined high style, sublime tailoring and whimsical design in a manner beguiling fashion watchers around the globe.  But then again, such was to be expected from the label’s designer Robert Stock, who partnered with Ralph Lauren in the mid-1960’s and ultimately launched the wildly successful Chaps collections which almost single-handedly caused a fashion revolution.

In keeping with the spirit in which Stock’s signature Robert Graham collection was created, the designer whose playful, uber-patterned shirts with their colorful and contrasting reveals at the collar, cuffs and hemlines have been worn by every one from rapper 50 cent and Gilles Marini to Jorge Posada and Cherry Jones, has created a new line of shirts, themed to specific MLB teams.  Take note, sports fans because Included in the RG MLB designer shirt line are the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, St Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and the Minnesota Twins.

For each team, there are 3 different shirts styles:  The oxford shirt, which retails for $198; the oxford with an embroidered baseball player on the back, retailing for $248, and the Limited Edition All Star which also retails for $248.

Robert Graham is carried in more than 1,500 outlets globally including Saks Fifth Ave, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Frank Stella, Fred Segal, Mark Shale, Lee Newman, Lauretta’s and Harry Rosen.

The RG MLB shirts will also be available at MLB.com, luxury boxes at stadiums nationwide, as well as on the new, soon to debut MLB Network.

In other RG news, rock n’ roll fans will be over the moon to know that Graham has also designed  exclusive limited edition Elvis Presley shirts for Lansky at The Peabody .  There are only 50 each of the  ‘Elvis’ shirt  and the  ‘Presley’ shirt—both of which retail for $298 and  are only available at Lansky’s retail store in Memphis or through the company‘s  website www.Lanskybros.com.

For more information on the latest Robert Graham collection, visit www.RobertGraham.us.

 
 
Dockers launches a  hip new line of re-mastered classic khakis

By Duane Wells

Forget what you thought you knew about khakis because Dockers is about blow away every preconceived notion you have about the pant that has  in recent years become more commonly thought of as  dad-friendly than fashion forward.

For the first time ever Dockers is debuting a collection of premium products in the U.S. that promises to rival the more au courant looks that style watchers have been glimpsing from the brand all over Europe and the rest of the world for the better part of the last decade or more. Beginning  this weekend, Dockers new Khaki  collection will be unveiled  in a special installation that  promises to usher in a new era of khakis made with an unwavering commitment to impeccable craftsmanship.

The new Dockers collection is deeply rooted in products that re-imagine vintage styles and are executed with a pedigree of authenticity. That said, the Dockers collection which will celebrate its exclusive public debut on March 27th at L.A. hipster fashion emporium, American Rag Cie, is centered around the brand’s quintessential khaki pant: The Dockers K-1 Khaki.

At the event, this preeminent khaki  will be re-introduced in 8 different styles and 16 new colors. With fresh silhouettes that redefine any preconceived notions you may have about khakis in general or Dockers in particular and a singular attention to detail, the collection features an array of styles including the K-1 Cramerton Rigid (a clean, rigid finish); the K-1 Cramerton Affected (a vintage look with resin-baked whiskers and unique staining); the K-1 Acadia (a rip and repair destruction with multiple dyeing processes on flat twill); K-1 Cords (a vintage look with various wash and dye methods and buttery soft texture); the K-1 Hull (a canvas with a three dimensional finish and whiskers); the K-1 Jaspe (a granite jaspe fabric with a distressed finish); the K-1 Sepia (a sepia finish for an authentic, rust stained pant); and K-1 Frosted (an over-dye khaki with multiple tinting and drying processes).

Next up, expect a new flow of khakis to hit the floor direct from the Dockers line this August. This U.S. exclusive includes the D-1 Pocket Cargo and the Slim Tapered Pleat.

On the subject of why Dockers decided to launch its new line of khakis at American Rag, Jennifer Sey, Vice President of Global Marketing for the Dockers brand  simply said of the company‘s decision, “We are thrilled to get our khakis in front of new consumers at American Rag.  It’s exciting to see a leading retailer with a highly discriminating consumer select Dockers as their khaki brand of choice because of its authenticity, authority and relevance.”

Jennifer Althouse, Buyer for American Rag Cie echoed that sentiment saying, “This is a groundbreaking moment for American Rag Cie and Dockers. We can’t wait for our customers to discover the great new line of khakis, and are certain that these pants are a cut above for the LA market.”

After seeing these new khakis first hand and examining the workmanship and attention to detail , this new assortment of khakis is a perfect fit for American Rag Cie and its discerning clientele, as the classic khaki has been given a thoroughly modern and unmistakably cool twist at long last. Hoorah!

To celebrate the launch of this trailblazing collection of khakis, on March 27, 2010 from1 PM – 5 PM shoppers at American Rag Cie can enter to win special in-store prizes and take an exclusive peek at a few of the first pairs of khaki products made by LS&CO., as presented by Lynn Downey, the Levi Strauss & Co. Historian. A private cocktail party will follow that evening, where guests will experience the timeless luxury of a great pair of pants.

The product presentation will play off of the store’s eclectic aesthetic and diverse selection of contemporary apparel. American Rag Cie will transform the area near the entrance of their world famous “denim bar” into a special shop-in-shop installation, where the collection of Dockers® khakis will be permanently and prominently housed. The environment features the signature Dockers® wing and anchor hanging from the ceiling and illuminated by hanging light bulbs, and the rustic space will be accompanied by a window display that runs along La Brea Boulevard.

About the Dockers® Brand
The Dockers Brand has embodied the spirit of khaki for more than 20 years. Quality? Always. Authenticity? Check. We make khakis that do their job so you can do yours. We’re talking good-looking pants in a full range of fits, and the essential goods to go with them, for men and women. No compromises in quality. Just versatile, essential style. Day to night. Monday to Sunday. In over 40 countries around the world. Wearing the pants has never looked so good. For information on Dockers® and it’s products call 1-800-DOCKERS or visit www.Dockers.com.
 
 
Orlando Carreras may be the most well known designer you’ve never heard of—until now.

Orlando Carreras sits limber but confident on the couch in his Hell’s Kitchen showroom. Chances are you’ve got something that he’s designed somewhere in your wardrobe without even knowing it; the boyishly good-looking, out and proud designer was, for 12 years, the head of Gap Design. For six of those years he was head of men’s design at Old Navy and since 2007, he’s been the designer behind his own independent label, Orlando Carreras.

The label has steadily been winning fans within the fashion industry—for its relevant and innovative men’s collections—as well as from common folk who could care less about what season they are wearing but who do know a good shirt when they see one. PINK Magazine has been watching Carreras since he flew the coo at Pacific Sunwear and are most dazzled to discover that at such an early stage in his label’s development, he struck a deal to supply the wardrobe for legendary gay PBS show, In The Life.

Why would anyone leave their plum job at Gap and dive into the treacherous seas of self-employment, especially in the volatile world of fashion? It is clear that while Carreras has the talent and skill to lead one of the world’s largest clothing manufacturers, his vision is such that it could never be so constrained.

“Everything, from the time I was 15, was geared towards fashion design. Since then I knew I wanted to have my own label,” says Carreras of his intentions. But after graduating college (he went to both Parsons and FIT) he was met with the stark reality that starting up your own business is, to be blunt, expensive. “I took the jobs that would look good on my résumé, never losing sight that one day I would be able to hopefully branch out on my own,” says Carreras of why he opted to design for mainstream businesses like the Gap and Pacific Sunwear.

But don’t let his reluctance to join the world of commercial fashion fool you; he’s distinctly proud of the years he spent building Gap, Old Navy and Pacific Sunwear. A glow in the eye and a subtle smile appears on the designer’s face while modestly downplaying the successes he reigned over at said companies. Creative types never like to admit they’re part of a machine, even if that machine produces something everyone wants.

“What I do today is the complete opposite of the Gap” Carreras is quoted as saying to DNR, the industry standard for menswear. While any casual observer might beg to differ—his label offers wardrobe staples and important key pieces—Orlando Carreras is a clear departure from the staid and mass-produced garments offered by his former employer. Conservative staples such as button-ups, plaids and knits appear but are at once thrown out of wack with unexpected seems and fine-tuned with luxurious fabrics. Micro-gingham shirts, lightweight knits and zigzag seeming are just some of the ways Carreras is able to make fashion-forward menswear without being gauche. You won’t find any over-embellished T-shirts in this collection just things like “Seersucker gone-wrong” (describing one piece with horizontal rather than vertical grooves).

“It was a combination of two personal tragedies (his father’s death and his sister getting cancer) that finally made me realize that I needed to start doing what I wanted to do, and it was at that point that my label was born,” says Carreras of what finally pulled him back to where he once saw himself as a young man. So Carreras packed up his belongings and moved out of his home in L.A., left his job at Pacific Sunwear and took one of the biggest chances of his life. He moved back to New York City and began Orlando Carreras.

The gig with In The Life is surprising because most designers with young collections would be fearful of attaching themselves so closely to a gay TV show, nonetheless a gay TV show that discusses politics. “I wasn’t looking to get my clothes on In The Life, it’s actually kind of serendipitous how it happened (Carreras met the crew while seeking out a new showroom space) but they saw my Web site and loved my stuff,” says Carreras of how this all came about. “Part of what inspires me to design has to do with honesty and backbone, and when I met the host of In The Life, I knew that he was just this kind of person.”

Once one understands more deeply the kinds of things that make Carreras tick, one realizes that his designing for the show was always meant to be. He’s not one to let an outside trend dig its way into his mind and force him off his naturally born course. “When I’m designing, I’m not thinking the economics or how I can get someone to buy my next season. I follow my inspirations. I get inspired by anything important to me—like the fight against Prop 8—to anything that makes me smile, like Barack Obama.” Heady subjects for fashion inspiration, but nonetheless, they certainly put Carreras on the right path for success as his garments manage to be both interesting and wearable all at once—something the industry considers the holy grail of men’s fashion.

“I’m thinking of the guy who thinks outside the box. He is maybe not so creative by day but does something very different outside of his 9-5,” Carreras says of who he envisions wearing his clothing. “There are more people like that than you think,” says Carreras, “I keep meeting them everyday.”

From taste to temerity, it has become clear that Carreras is the kind of designer worth spending a few extra bucks on. Most men want clothes that will help them look handsome or smart—something Orlando Carreras does with ease—but it is the added bonus of knowing that there’s a little bit of gumptious gay pride in each stitch that truly pulls us into the orbit of this rising star.

For retail information and more on Orlando Carreras log onto Orlandocarreras.com.