Devin Carlson, creative director of LA-based menswear line Chapter, knew that if his brand was going to show at New York, it wasn’t going to be an easy-breezy affair. “It was a pretty monumental task on our part to just take on because whenever we’re doing something, we don’t just say ‘we’re gonna do this,'” says Carlson. The team behind Chapter is going to go all out.
Chapter debuted its fall/winter 2015 collection in New York, on February 11. The collection, aptly named UNKNOWN, is full of dark colors, asymmetrical hemlines and tailoring — a combination that may sound slightly incongruent but on a whole, gives a very convincing utilitarian goth alien vibe.
The show’s installation definitely highlighted that. And planning a show from across the country means some tough decisions; ultimately Chapter built the pieces of their installation — enormous crystal-like shards that framed many of the models/looks of the collection — in California and shipped them to New York. Put all together, with low-angled, bright lighting and a background of white brick walls, the general atmosphere is space-y and moon-like — familiar but foreign (like a séance from some cool alternate universe.)
“We like to incorporate different aspects of design whether it’s installations, art pieces, video,” Carlson says. From idea to day-of, the planning for the show took about four months. “There’s a lot that went into it that I’m sure people probably don’t know about,” he says.
Carlson lists off a lot of concepts when talking about what inspired the collection and its corresponding installation: Eastern European architectural movements, the Space Race, the cyber punk movie subculture, the functionality of space suits. Carlson also was really inspired by the contradiction of a dystopian outlook alongside an optimistic view of space, prevalent in the early ’60s.
While the scene looks purposefully kind of stark and cold, the audience were clearly in on it. “The turn-out was amazing,” says Carlson. “The people that stopped through — you know, your Nick Woosters and such — were great and loved what we were doing.”
Though this was Chapter’s first time showing in New York, Carlson’s visited the city enough times to know how to design for a true winter. And showing in the city — which Chapter plans to continue doing — just kind of brings a brand to the next level. “I think that it makes everyone — including your customers, people that follow your brand — take you a little bit more seriously,” he says. “If you can find your line in Paris or New York, there’s a level of seriousness to your brand. You’re trying to compete at the highest level that you can, or you’re striving to anyway.”