How Starting a Fashion Label Put Los York in Their Clients' Shoes
As part of our fashion special, we chatted to Los York co-founder, Seth Epstein, about how the studio branched out into fashion with the launch of an eco-conscious streetwear brand.
How and when did the idea for a clothing label come into being?
It’s been an evolution. Over the last three years or so we have been making client-centric Los York swag - inspired by our affinity for streetwear. We kept hearing that people wearing our gear were getting stopped on the street and asked where they got it, by people unrelated to our industry. When something hits you on the head enough times you have to just go with your gut instinct.
What were the major challenges with getting the project off the ground?
The biggest challenge was launching the label while also balancing our client work, which always takes precedence. On top of all that, Los York has been expanding and moving in new directions. We had to make sure to dedicate time to developing the label so it wouldn't be lost amongst those shifting elements.
The range is designed for ‘modern creative nomads’ – how does this ethos translate to the individual pieces?
Creatives by their nature are nomadic so we focused on pieces that are staples, are versatile and travel well. Our stuff is meant to be worn in any situation at any time. One example is the hoodie, which is what I wear when I travel; we use a medium to lightweight fabric, so you can layer it.
Did you bring on board any external designers/specialists/consultants or is the team entirely drawn from within Los York?
Yes and yes. We designed in-house and brought in outside streetwear designers as well. Internally, a bunch of us are into streetwear so it’s been a really natural expression for us.
How important was it to take a sustainable and eco-friendly approach to production?
I think it is a critical component, now more than ever before. Aligning our values on how we make and consume should be a consistent aspect of our daily reality. Climate change is not a hypothetical issue - it is one that has very real consequences - and we need to be vigilant with every action. Even small changes are cumulative.
How do you plan to expand the current collection going forward? Are there plans to scale it up?
Yes, we’re working on the next release now and trying to grow it progressively. We are diving deeper into the idea of what Los York represents - a city of the future or a tribe of the future and how do different cities influences collide to affect color, design, aesthetic, shape…
How does being a brand of your own help you create content for other brands?
It’s been great to put ourselves in our clients' shoes with this project. I see (from a client's perspective) priorities differently. There is so much block and tackle that needs to be done and at the same time the brand DNA and voice has to be so clear. It needs to elevate itself above the noisy surroundings. One thing that stands out about being our own client is the importance of having a clear muse.
Are there any other creative outlets you're considering exploring in the future?
We see ourselves as a family of creative enterprises under the Los York umbrella. We have STUDIO, FILMS, ENTERTAINMENT and IDEATION as well as LABEL. STUDIO is our design-centric mixed-media company lead by Santino Sladavic and recently added global CD Shane Griffin. And Los York Films which is our directorial roster.
Possibly the largest creative expression from Los York is the feature documentary that comes out this spring which is driven by my partner Dexton Deboree. I think the big thing is that all of these are natural expressions of what we are profoundly passionate about. We see ourselves as a unified collective of disciplines that share the commitment to creating visceral, “holy shit” moments for our audiences.