Forward: The inspiration for embarking on this creative process was originated by the late Virgil Abloh. Before I even started Public Figure I heard about how Pyrex flannels were made from old Rugby Ralph Lauren shirts. That shit amazed me! The idea of taking something at an already elevated level and putting your own touch on it? It was like a whole new world had hit my imagination. Without him, there would be no me (and many others) so thank you Virgil for that and so much more. Rest in Paradise
My brand has mostly been known as an upcycling one, specifically designer. Taking old bags Louis Vuitton or Gucci bags and turning them into pieces that everyone could afford. I’ve been happy doing that for years now and I’ll always continue to do that. The thing is though, I don’t want to be known as the “guy who does custom designer.” I have too many ideas to ever be typecast. It’s been hard to have thoughts for more designs than I could actually produce, but I’ve gotten to a place where I’m comfortable enough with my brand and it’s supporters to try something new.
I’ve been steadily collecting flannels for years now. Never knowing what I was going to do with them, only that I knew I need to do something. Initially I only wanted Polo Sport flannels, to me they were A1. So I went about looking for any dope colors and patterns I could find on eBay, Depop, and flea markets. I was asking every one of my friends who thrifted if they ever came across any to let me be the first to know. But damn! Do you know how hard it is to build a collection when your requirements for making one are so specific? Eventually I had dozens of flannels and no concept of where or what to create and so they just sat in my garage, gathering dust.
Until September 2021, when I felt a renewed sense of creativity in my forgotten obsession. I was thinking of Piet Mondrians SB for some reason and that brought to my mind his concepts and designs when it came to creating his own art. Known for the use of blue, red, and yellow squares to create his paintings I thought I could apply the idea to my flannels. The simplicity in it was astounding. I had the proper color base shirts to use, so I went to work. Threw it up on IG, said "Collection coming soon” and didn’t make another fucking shirt for a month.
It was another dry spell.
October came and went without a single shirt made. I was disappointed in myself for failing to deliver on something I so desperately wanted to make. But you can’t force art. It has to come to you.
I was scrolling through Instagram one afternoon in early November when I came across a post that highlighted a flannel made by Kaptial. It was more than patchwork. It was sewn together using what looked like 5 different shirts to make one, all different in patterns and colors to make one singular, cohesive shirt. I felt it, that wave of energy that came over when when I made the Mondrian shirt. I knew I had to get to work on this collection and now.
I made a couple to start with, but because I had stuck to only working with Polo flannels I was limited in my colorways and what I could make from them. One can only make so many red flannels. That’s when I decided for the sake of my own sanity to branch out in to using L.L. Bean shirts as well. It allowed me to have more creative opportunities and put forth a well rounded selection of shirts.
Some flannels were made in a matter of minutes, with the ideas flowing as I worked. Others seemed easy in my head and came out to be so much more work than I anticipated. One specifically was a headache for me. “Sunset Rider” was tough to not just make, but get colors for. Finding the right color blue and orange for the sky gradient was so hard. What’s even worse is that my mind wouldn’t allow me to think of new designs until I had this one finished! But thanks to Ricky at Tried & True I was able to find a flannel to complete the sunrise look.
I initially set out to make at least 6 or 7 flannels for the collection, and when I got to that number was sad. I felt that I needed to keep creating, but I knew I had to get the collection out before the weather shifted. So I booked a photoshoot with Santi & CC of Second Aisle on December 1st. With a week out I had 7 shirts made and so many more scraps that I couldn’t let them go to waste. I was limited on time because of work, prior engagements, and other things, but knew I could make it to 10 pieces by the time the shoot happened. Through some miracle, I managed my time just right and finished the last flannel an hour before the photoshoot.
The shoot itself was great. OnlyBluePrint (CC & Santi) really came up with a great concept and direction for it. They wanted to show the physical aspect of creating the shirts (James) and also the mental side of thinking up the designs (Dweld) from so many possibilities. James and Dweld were the perfect people to model my pieces. I told them that when I think if flannels, I think of them two. They just make them look good.
All in all, this was a big change of pace from what I usually do. This collection means a lot to me. It took a lot out of me to make them. Late nights, missed events, cut fingers, burnt hands, broken needles, inspiration block. I went through a gauntlet to make these 10 shirts and I’m glad I did. Whoever ends up with these I hope you enjoy wearing them as much as I did making them.