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Gypsum Retrospective

At this point, there isn’t a particular fashion schedule we follow. My creative process, even outside of fashion, has narrowed down to three key steps: research, travel, and design—and in that order. This process is also the premise of this blog’s new direction. Previously, I would just share my completed work; but I think elaborating on the process is important since more time is probably spent on research than execution.

The most recent Spring/Summer capsule from NEEDS&WANTS was inspired by New Mexico. But before these new colour ways and materials were decided upon, there were hours spent lost in the dark corners of YouTube until some form of inspiration hit. You know those nights you napped earlier in the day and can’t sleep until an hour before sunrise? So you catch up on The Breakfast Club and VladTV interviews you’ve missed; from there you’ve found yourself watching a Kid Cudi TED talk (talk about random), and somehow that led you to watching live performances of groups that disbanded years ago.

On one particular night I got lost in 90s RnB. This brought me to Boyz II Men’s “Water Runs Dry” video. This video [to me] was shot perfectly. So much of the colour palette and other little nuances stuck with me the more I watched it. I mean, shit, they lined up an orchestra on the sand. An orchestra on the sand! Although I wanted to know the budget for said video, what I really wanted to know was if the location was still accessible. And of course, there is some YouTube commenter who can answer a question before you’ve asked. Once I google mapped ‘White Sands New Mexico’, I decided then and there that within the next couple of months I’d develop a collection of new jackets referencing this newly discovered paradise, then run barefoot in that same sand from the video after I do.

Above, left to right: An ad from NEEDS&WANTS S/S '16 campaign · Standing in the world's largest gypsum dunefield, a result of climatic processes that continue even today to form the pattern and texture of these unusual sands.

There was the same amount of consideration behind each colour way from this release, but the main reason I’m highlighting the Gypsum jacket is because it stands out to me the most in this recent delivery. I anticipated it would be the crowd favourite, but that assumption has been proved wrong with a growing popularity of the Rosegold.

Below: The Gypsum bomber from NEEDS&WANTS S/S '16 that invokes the blueish tint of calcium sulfate found in the gypsum mineral itself. The signature inverted tone-on-tone left sleeve—a statement beyond trademark—has been an emblem for several seasons, and seasons more to come.

I won’t give too much away about my trip to New Mexico since I’m sharing a full photo recap in the next few posts; but I will say I've seen nothing like the White Sands Monument thus far in my life. Millions of years in evolution that just humbles you the moment you see it. It is so desolate that its deafening. And see, thats the crazy part about how you get inspired; we think there has to be an experience that compels us to make something, but I think there are times you have to make something that leads you to an experience.

Rockers (1978) Trailer

Theodoros Bafaloukos' 1978 film 'Rockers' is a cult classic that personifies Reggae's global influence on music and fashion. Growing up, I wasn't fully tuned into my cultural programming until a recent trip to Jamaica where I came to terms with these my roots.

Whats crazy is, I doubt the films characters were in costume; which might actually be true considering the film was initially intended to be a documentary. This is a time before people were making conscious efforts to appear on street style blogs and Pinterest boards. And that alone makes this film so important; at its core it's raw, effortless, and accurate. Photos (above) © Blue Sun Film Co.

You won't see this on a resort · From my archives (above); Jamaica, 2014. Driving through the hills en route to Treasure Beach. I only added this photo to the post after realizing how similar the colours are to the film. Irony or nah?

Also Google: The Upsetter: the Life and Music of Lee Scratch Perry, Rub-a-Dub Style: The Roots of Modern Dancehall by Beth Lesser, and Roots & Chalice mixtape by Chronixx & Federation Sound.

Glasshaus Container
(Option A)

Speaking of shipping containers, If you're still not convinced on small spaces in random places, we shot Glasshaus Living's container under a Bloor Street bridge in Toronto a few weeks back. Shooting their unit is apart of the rebranding we're currently working on for the firm.

If you recall from a previous post, Glasshaus played an integral part in the design of the NEEDS&WANTS container; in fact, it was Chris Meiorin, Glasshaus' founding partner and guru of all things glazed and tempered, who sparked my interest in container modification. By the time we had got our own project underway, Glasshaus already had their shipping container on display at The Cottage Life Show.

This container model in particular, designed as 'Option A', is among the series of modular kits soon to be offered by Glasshaus later this year. Essentially, you'll be able to choose between four design options that best suit your needs for mobile living or working.

Design Team: Glasshaus Living, Level Design Build
Location: Toronto, Canada
Project Year: 2016
Special Thanks: Ehoeho
Photography: Tharan Parameshwaran, Sean Brown

NEEDS&WANTS Container:
Open Concept

Throughout this past Winter season, NEEDS&WANTS embarked on a new journey in expansion with the opening of our first space this Spring/Summer. We’ve built a reputation as a reclusive brand, and rightfully so considering our output and where we stock. Since the brand's debut in October 2013, we've had steady growth but theres been little opportunity to show you the brand beyond the world wide web and our packaging. This made opening a space the next natural step.

Above: A 3D visualization of our container c/o Swim Club · This container will act as the first physical showroom and retail space for the brand—a solution that allows the space to move and adapt to various locations. The NEEDS&WANTS container calls out, refusing to be a static being, but rather a dynamic identity that changes to create settings for pieces matched with each landscape and urban location.

We spent a considerable amount of time on the design, alongside architecture student Marco Lee. This was even before acquiring the unit to be sure it was a reflection of our ethos in both form and function. Its been a small team involved in the build, making it a project that is completely DIY from start to finish. Projects of this magnitude are easier blogged than done, but at least now it means our next collection will be available in store and online—and I've always wanted to say that.

Above, left to right: Secondary entrance/exit and glazing layout · Modified is an 8 foot by 20 foot shipping container in collaboration with Glasshaus Living, a Toronto based firm specializing in custom glazing. 3D visualization of the interior, consisting of chevron pattern tile, further complimented by bleached birch panels acting as wall veneers.

Below, left: *Design stems from parti, the primary concept or idea which an architecture is developed upon. The parti resembles the essence of your product, simplified to basic form and line drawing.

Its been a trip to see the project actualized from a sketch, despite a few challenges, design compromises, and expected setbacks. The image on the right (above), is our container (IRL) being stacked 30 feet by a reach truck. In a few weeks, we'll have the interior fully complete—and by then, I plan on blogging from somewhere in the woods.

Oh! Before I forget...I should mention that we published a cover story on our container project in the latest issue of NEEDS&WANTS Paper, available for purchase, here.

Design Team: Swim Club
Location: Toronto, Canada
Project Year: 2016
Collaborators: Glasshaus Living
Visualization: Nick Callies

Belly (1998) Intro

Chills. Every. Single. Time. I found the Belly soundtrack on CD yesterday so I had to revisit the film's intro. But I revisit this regularly, tbh. What always gets me is how they sequenced the robbery scene with the Soul II Soul a capella *steeeady, are you reeeady?*. Scary.

In fact, go get you a copy of Hype Williams: The Videos, Vol. 1 on Amazon (with director narration and exposé,) so you can get the full retrospective of Hype's approach to film making. The epitome of motion pictures.

Bougie Parfumée No. 1

I met Fran Miller earlier last year and soon after, we got started on a collaborative product almost a year in the making. Forty-five weeks to be exact. Our limited edition candle is inspired by a mutual appreciation for effortless essentials, faultless minimalism and understated beauty. Our process emphasizes imbuing effective design and aesthetic onto functional objects while utilizing methods that are holistic and pure. We went through quite a few packaging concepts before settling on the matte coffee bag. On top of that, there were constant revisions of the scent, which took months to perfect through careful mixing and matching of ingredients.

Although, F.Miller is primarily a line of holistic skincare; and NEEDS&WANTS focuses mainly on Men's outerwear, our brands share a synergy that made this collaboration seamless. And as an added bonus, we each got to add a SKU to our product line.

Built around the warmth of sandalwood and the lingering smokiness of vetiver, brightened with bergamot—at once dark, subtle and complex. Each candle has been hand poured and made with entirely natural ingredients. Our Bougie Parfumée No. 1 is available online, here, or exclusively in-store at Nomad.

Archie Magazine Issue 006

Archie Magazine's 'Brand' issue was recently published and I answered a few questions in regards to where I'm at building a brand of my own. They asked:

You’ve recently begun a project that re-examines the relationship between you, your apparel, and your customers. To you, and NEEDS&WANTS, what is the ideal relationship to have with customers and why is it important it follow this ideal?

"More than anything I believe transitioning into a retail location elaborates on our customer relationship. Our product line and collection is very concentrated, so the aspects that surround the brand [such as travel, art, architecture] is what we've emphasized on up to this point. Theres our product, then theres telling its story. We just aim to have an honest dialogue with our customer and potential customer; the audience can tell when somethings not authentic. A retail space is going to allow us to have tangible communication beyond just our product. The climate of retail is evolving for both established brands and start ups—its vital to adapt, grow, and add our input to the culture."

It was a good chat. Photos from the spread are c/o my friend Luis Mora. This issue is on newsstands now (nationwide) and also available for purchase, here.

Won't Live Here

Artwork Liam and I put together for Daniel Caesar's new single "Won't Live Here," which you can stream here. Photo c/o Liam MacRae. Sidebar: Danny is at The Mod Club Theatre on April 15 with special guest Charlotte Day Wilson. Tickets are sold out (I think,) but you can always finesse at the door.

NEEDS&WANTS S/S '16 Lookbook

Segueing from our previous military-inspired capsule, our Spring offering has not, however, detoured from our affinity for sensual sportswear. Instead, our references pivot from the sun-baked adobe to the opalescence-amid-the-sandstone of New Mexico, informing our choice in materials and colour palette. I wanted to get back into the habit of shooting my own stuff this year. I bought a Rolleicord IV last Winter, and this is the first editorial I've shot with it. This was also Jackie's first time modelling.

Suede bombers are updated with zippers; a smooth transition from our button snap closure from previous seasons. Sheep collar suede Blousons—in luxe and midnight—are distinguished by an inverted tone-on-tone left sleeve. This signature characteristic—a statement beyond trademark—has been an emblem for several seasons, and seasons more to come: wherever we are, whatever inspiration strikes.

Although neutral tones are a natural focal point, the stand out piece in this offering is the steel blue suede “Gypsum” bomber, which invokes the tint of calcium sulfate found in the mineral itself. The Sandstone colour way, meanwhile, makes a reappearance—this time as a hooded rendition. The Berber shell—a lighter oversized layer reminiscent of our Fleece Wrap, adds another silhouette not only this delivery, but to the range of our entire collection.

As our themes for each capsule develop, we become a bit more season-less. Our approach becomes more genderless, and the narrative of our overall collection that much more seamless.

The collection is now available, here.