- Photography James Nelson
- Featuring Trè Samuels
INPRINT spent the day with up-and-coming musician/model Trè Samuels playing dress-up in the brilliant debut AW16 collection from CHILDS and spoke with designer Robert Childs.
How would you describe the CHILDS aesthetic?
Above everything else, it should always feel masculine, strong and timeless. All this with an understated and modern sensibility.
You previously worked as a menswear designer at Thom Browne right? What was the impetus to start your own label?
I was the Mens Design Director at Thom Browne. I went from there to Adam Kimmel and spent a little time as well at Opening Ceremony, always heading up Mens. I’ve gained a lot of great experience and been able to work with such strong designers in New York, and all of that exposure has led me to a place where I’m now able to communicate my own voice. Having my own collection has always been the goal. I really believe that creating clothing deserves a certain amount of care and respect, and I want to treat it in that way – with consideration and sophistication. I also feel that there’s a place in the market for a well-made mens collection that has an understated masculinity.
What especially grabbed me is that while the cuts and fabrication are couture-esque in quality, the pieces are still super masculine and the kind of clothes that guys would actually froth (that’s Australian for go nuts) over... Both Trè and James (the photographer) keep commenting and feeling the pieces...Is this your aim?
That’s great to hear, and it’s exactly what we are trying to do. When I start to design a piece of clothing I always keep two things in mind: 1) Would I wear this, and 2) How can I make it new? Finding that balance is when each piece will be its most successful. I love using atypical fabrics that you wouldn’t normally associate with certain items, and also playing with how the clothing is constructed, for example, subtle ways to re-cut and re-imagine classics.
Tailoring and construction are at the core of the brand, and they need to be because the overall tone and aesthetic is quite subtle, so when you look closely at the details, they need to be present and well-executed. This is also important in the manufacturing, so aligning with the best possible craftsmen and suppliers is vital for the collection as well.
Can you tell us a bit about the technical side of your process... I remember you mentioning getting thing finished in Japan and sewn in the states...
For me, making clothing is not just about having a good design – the process starts much earlier. Finding the right fabrics (and also the places that can best construct those fabrics into your ideas) are just as important. So I like to utilize the very best manufactures in the countries where I am sourcing each specific fabric. This also enables us to be somewhat ecologically responsible, and avoiding shipping items all around the world unnecessarily wherever possible. So not only do we manufacture in Japan, we also produce items in the US and Italy.
Are you a bit of a guys guy?
I think so, yes.
How have you found the response to your first collection? I have heard you’ve already been picked up by some major retailers?
The response so far has been positive. We have been fortunate enough to have support from some really great retailers for this first season, and look forward to working with them closely to educate people about the brand.
Any plans to venture into womenswear?
Right now our focus is to make menswear, but at some point there could be room for some women’s bodies. And, many of the pieces are already a hit with a few of my female friends and they look really great in them.
The made-to-measure idea sounds super interesting... Is this a gap you were feeling in mens clothing from an everyday perspective?
Suiting is so typical to find as a part of made-to-measure programs. If you’ve ever had that experience of getting a suit fit and made for you, it is so special and unforgettable. I would love to be able to offer that to the guys and girls who want not just one of our suits, but other core items that we feel embody the brand and will continue to have season after season. Its a super important part of our evolution.
It felt like your collection was also a great example of capsule wardrobe - everything a guy needs. Is this something you think about with your own wardrobe?
Absolutely. This is a representation of everything you would want to wear on a daily basis. I want guys to be able to put on these pieces without having to think too much about it. They should work and feel great, no matter the occasion or circumstance.