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Grand Touring

When the first Gran Tourismo for PlayStation was released, I played it religiously as a kid. So much so that I eventually knew each track turn by heart. I loved driver simulation games—not because I ever wanted to own an Italian made car, or be in a high speed chase—but because I was obsessed with the concept of cars. I'm fascinated by how they are built, the thoughtfulness behind luxury design, how far the idea of motor vehicles has come—and how much further it can go.

Around this same time, I collected NASCAR Diecast models; totally unaware of the millions of dollars spent decorating the real vehicles in corporate logos, or costly engineering modifications in each car. To me, a car was more of a muse than a means, and thats as far as it went. I'm the guy that would own a Mercedes 300-SL and still ride a bike to work.

Fast forward a couple decades and my fixation for cars hasn't depreciated, but has evolved. I still love cars, only now I'm able to intersect my personal sentiments with design. Grand Touring, as a collection, you could say, is a result of all the hours spent on PlayStation, watching the Daytona 500 on TSN, and all the other imagery I managed to save to my subconscious hard drive.

This past June, I stumbled upon the film Senna, a documentary about the legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna, a guy I'd argue was is the Michael Jordan of automotive racing. The world famous Monaco Grand Prix had already happened in May, but I was so inspired by Senna's story that I was ready to pack my stuff and fly to Monaco just to experience a race. Yo, God forbid I get to a point where I don't have the time to take my time, because to make something definitive, fine details and execution really have to be considered. My first experience this close to any real race track was the Honda Indy this past Summer. Most fans of motorsports will tell you theres a significant difference between the Indy and Formula 1 cars, so I'm fortunate to have experienced both fully immersed.

Above: A view from the pits at The Honda Indy. Its pretty interesting to watch an entire team of people service a vehicle being pushed to its limits, maintaining its highest performance every few laps—in record time. Even the smallest amount of dirt or debris on the front wing of the car can alter its aerodynamic advantage.

Below: The jacket named after Ayrton Senna from NEEDS&WANTS Pre-Fall '16. Throughout a decade, Senna would claim 3 championships, 65 pole positions, and 610 career points. Gold seemed pretty fitting given the context.

Above: We sampled onboard footage from Senna's record lap in Monaco for this teaser. The text was purposely exported in low resolution to match the quality of salvaged VHS.

Below: The Monaco jacket from NEEDS&WANTS Pre-Fall '16, crafted entirely in suede. We also did a red, white and black rendition. Ironically, loop zippers and other oversized hardware are trending in high fashion, but my inspiration for the loop zipper was a vintage Goodyear jacket I found on eBay.

Above: Product packaging and presentation—my other obsession. I always want to have product packaging people won't throw away and is still functional. This semi-transparent metallic bag allows you to see its contents when held up to light, plus its air tight and tear proof, too.

Below: I wouldn't have seen the correlation between racing and Brazilian music until watching the Senna movie. Immediately afterward, it became the soundtrack to the Grand Touring collection and the rest of my summer. I put this mixtape together for NEEDS&WANTS including some of my personal collection. Download it here.

Once I shot the Pre-Fall lookbook and the collection was released, I thought I had done all that I needed to. That was until a friend of mine in Amsterdam put me on to the Historic Grand Prix in Zandvoort, Netherlands. Thank you, Lana. The timing couldn't be more perfect, I had just scheduled a meeting in London the same week. The Historic Grand Prix was nothing like The Hondy Indy at home—not necessarily because it was bigger, it just felt like the real thing. The cars were 10 times louder, the track perfectly manicured, and the circuit park in Zandvoort sits right next to the beach.

I have never seen so many Porsches in my entire life; I'm talking an entire lot full of them, lined up in rows by year. We had access to everything at The Grand Prix, which was different from my experience at the indy, where even an "all access" pass only got you so far before you had to finesse. But in Europe, nothing was off limits, I could capture anything, so I made sure I did—film and digital. Just as I was leaving, there was a vintage Lotus Honda 99T on display, covered in Camel Cigarettes branding that Senna drove on that very track. Wild. There it was, propped up like some symbolic monolith of my childhood reminding me to hold on tight to my childlike sense of adventure. 12 year old me would be ecstatic.