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FashionLucire Fashion 2003

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THIS PAGE: From the Yoko Devereaux spring 2004 collection.

‘Media [are] an illusion and a lot of people in the industry get caught up in the illusion so much to the point that they really donít focus on the design of the clothing’

 

 

Lucire: How did you meet Thomas?
Andy Salzer: I met Thomas when were both students in college in Boston at age 18 or 19, and we immediately clicked. We share many similar interests, especially our interest in fashion design and I have known him probably longer than I have known anybody else.

Lucire: After those years in Boston, how did you both ended up in New York City as the heads of a menswear fashion house?
Andy Salzer: Thomas and I got along so well [from the beginning] because we both love fashion. He loves design and I love the whole image of the industry. I was always drawn more to the media side in terms of it like pulling you in. I was very much affected by that Ö the portrayal of something that you kind of knew no one was really experiencing, that it was just a fantastic lifestyle. After graduation, Thomas moved to New York City and I moved to Seattle where I opened and operated two womenís retail stores for awhile. I did that until I sold my half of the stores and moved on to starting a fashion ecommerce company. I later moved to New York, sold the ecommerce company and took a year off to decide what to do next.
   The Yoko Devereaux project came along because I wanted to stay in New York City and design and market a line the way I think it should be done. The point was to create a collection that isnít just solely purchased because of the label inside the garment. After some discussion between the two of us, Thomas came on board as the design director for the project.

Lucire: At the inception, did you have a firm idea of who your customers were? Was it going to be primarily a womenswear line? A menswear line? A combination of both? What was the discussion in terms of your potential customer base?
Andy Salzer: Itís really funny that you asked that because when we started, we initially thought we could concurrently design both womenís and menís. Of course, itís a really good idea until you realize that your staffing was limited to you and one other person. Once reality set in, we stepped back from the idea. Since we are both men and I honestly think that menswear has been lacking any kind of infusion of something interesting, wearable and still conceptual, we thought it would be more interesting to do menswear. We would be speaking for ourselves and our personal needs seeing that we have been having a hard time filling that void in our own closets with what was out there.

Lucire: Your designs are inherently youthful and individualistic. Is that your personal reaction to the mega-brands or is that your own mindset?
Andy Salzer: I think itís actually a little bit of both. On one hand, we were reacting to the changing of the guard in fashion. And itís not that it has completely gone from one end of the spectrum to the other, but in the last few years, there has been this movement of fashion being redefined.

Lucire: In what way?
Andy Salzer: Well, the old guard of fashion concentrated on the wearability, the fit, the fabric, and to a lesser extent, the brand name. There was a genuine concern about the garment itself and how amazing it could be. On the other hand, fashion now is taking a turn towards somewhat undefined creativity, the more "creative" you look, the more fashionable you are considered to be. You see a lot of independent designers who have completely thrown out the rules of fashion, trying to reinvent the wheel. But there is a lot to be said about the old-guard approach to fashion. I like things to be wearable. I think fashion should still be approachable in some ways. Our belief is that a lot of the menswear designs now out in the market-place lacks creativity. Unlike the progression in the womenswear sector of the market, the history of menswear hasnít really changed that much in 200 years. Itís still a very rigid code of dress. I think what we are trying to do at Yoko Devereaux is to find a workable balance between the two schools of thought.

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