Derek has one of the most insane wardrobes of anyone I know. I have witnessed him acquire items he has searched high and low for; slowly crossing items off his list of coveted grails. More than just being the biggest Ann Demeulemeester enthusiast I know; Derek seamlessly works in varied brands with an eye for mood, texture and proportion. I visited him recently and photographed some of his all-time favorite pieces and looks.
You can find Derek holding it down at Atelier New York.
This is my interpretation of iconic Ann Demeulemeester. When I don this I feel delightfully anachronistic, romantic, even a little bit rebellious. The rebel prince, I think. The contrast of wool and cotton on top and all leather on the bottom is essential in conveying this. With tailored trousers and a shoe it becomes dull, ethical, stiff. That couldn’t be farther from me.
This look brings forth my obsession with America, with rock n roll. I think of the beats, of open sky and endless road. I feel and externalize the death of old America, its evils, its mysticism, its hope. The Frontierman. Yeah, that’s him there, searching for new hopes in faint ideas.
This is the other half of Ann: the nonchalant, even lazy, street rat. This is poete maudite, dreaming and believing.
This jacket is oldish, but reeks of the future. It’s completely twisted and lopsided, and sparkles in the light. I miss this lux street attitude in Ann’s design.
“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” – Clarence Darrow
ANN DEMEULEMEESTER COTTON/METAL TAILORED JACKET
I think it sings a seminal Ann jacket tune – trans-seasonal nubby cotton/metal textile, quiet asymmetric cut, peak lapel with hidden buttons. The metal cleverly holds wrinkles nicely, and it’s taken on serious character since I received it. Karlo Steel gave me this jacket as a gift from his personal wardrobe, “I think there’s something vampiric about it.”
NUMBER (N)INE COW LEATHER JACKET
From the masterpiece FW08 My Own Private Portland collection. I never knew this jacket existed in black until last winter, as each one I handled was caramel leather with chocolate topstitching. So when I found this I bought it instantly. It’s design and cut feel made for me. The thick, matte cow leather has an ineffable patina. If the world fell into anarchy, i’d grab this and run.
ANN DEMEULEMEESTER COTTON WAISTCOAT
If you’re going to have only one Ann waistcoat, this is the obvious choice. A slightly elongated take on a traditional waistcoat with signature double straps at the back. This particular one is made in a shadowstripe cotton. I like to wear it in the summer without anything underneath.
RICK OWENS UNSTABLE COTTON T-SHIRT
No one makes a t-shirt like Rick Owens, by now everyone should consider any t-shirt against his as the standard for comparison. I prefer them in uberdelicate sheer cotton and long long long. The more holes, the better.
NUMBER (N)INE COTTON JEANS
I’ve shredded these over and over again, but will never get rid of them. I’ll keep patching them up until they completely fall apart, and then i’ll mount them on my wall forever after. I’ve yet to use the suspender loops, though.
ANN DEMEULEMEESTER CASHMERE/SILK COLLARED T-SHIRT
Unbelievably delicious fabric, terribly thin, new holes showing up almost every time I wear it. I got this one at Atelier. It’s still my favorite Ann top in my closet: the floppy collar, dropped shoulder, and long sleeves strike the perfect lazy elegance balance.
ANN DEMEULEMEESTER COTTON/CASHMERE TWISTED DOUBLE LAYER KNIT
This is a recent acquisition, but something i’ve lusted over unabashedly for five years, unable to procure one until just a few weeks ago. It’s masterfully pre-twisted design and contrasting interior color trump all other double-layer pieces i’ve handled. Another vital representation of Ann’s sloppy punk-poet muse.
WERKSTATT MUNCHEN RINGS
I wear these every single day; this is the extent of my finger jewelry. They are simple, masculine, and timeless.
MA+ COW LEATHER ENVELOPE BAG
A completely anachronistic shape, and almost non-functional for an everyday runaround. Perfect for a book, a notebook, and a pen.
ANN DEMEULEMEESTER WOOL/SILK CAP
My first and only Ann cap. I get offers for this on the street, but it’ll be buried with me.
NUMBER (N)INE BEAVER HAT
Call me Amish, call me Hasidic, it’s all good. And oh so warm.
ANN DEMEULEMEESTER LEATHER BELT
My one and only. It’s very long and dangles like a tail from my hip.
MA+ COW LEATHER WALLET
NUMBER (N)INE JACKIE O’S Sunglasses
These are obnoxious, and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve dropped them a hundred times.
ANN DEMEULEMEESTER OILED SUEDE HI-TOPS
My first and only pair of her trainers. They had some buckles for the shaft but I took them off after a week or two. The wide eyelets and double zippers are paramount to both style and function.
CARPE DIEM REVERSE COW ANKLE BOOT
One thing i’ll never, ever understand is how people keep their shoes looking new. I got these over 4 years ago and I think I wore them for almost two straight years when I first got them. They’re still the best made and most comfortable shoes i’ve ever owned. They still feel as good as the day I bought them every time I wear them. The patina is perfect: rugged and lush, bruised, irreplicable.
Photography by Rocky Li
This past week I saw a notification pop-up from Graham Newmarch inviting me to become a fan of re.porter. Clicking through to the facebook page and subsequently the website, I was greeted with pieces from CCP, Ann Demeulemeester, and Julius. What initially struck me was the quality and consistency of the styling and the rarity of some pieces. I could tell this was not the average webstore. I reached out to Graham [founder of re.porter] to learn more about his venture and gain insight to his unique approach to online retail.
Explain the concept behind re. porter and how the site came to be
Good things happen when friends move to china. that is to say, because my best friends moved to Guangzhou, leaving me [and all their professional studio equipment] behind. I had already been doing consignment via eBay for some of my retail clients, and didn’t hesitate to seize this opportunity to take it to an entirely new level.
re. porter, literally translated, means to wear again. It’s a simple play on words with the prêt-a-porter collections we’re all so accustomed to drooling over a palm-full of times each year. As simple as it might be though, it says a lot about what I want re. porter to become.
High fashion is supposed to exist outside the strictures of time-driven stresses. it’s supposed to remain unaffected & uninfluenced by trends, focusing instead on the exploration of its own particular expression, voice, or style. it’s supposed to be timeless…
Unfortunately, when it comes to the retail side of things , time is a very real factor – and of prime concern. boutiques are under severe pressure to get stock in as soon as possible, and move it out just as fast. Having spent a lot of time working in luxury retail [Komakino in Vancouver, and Layers in London] I’d always wanted to run my own store, but never liked the aggressive nature of brick and mortar sales – and the luxury retail-world as a whole.
With re. porter – I have a unique opportunity to pay homage to the timelessness I’ve always so idealistically attributed to my favourite designers’ work. old[er] pieces from Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, or Damir Doma combine effortlessly with any of their latest seasons’ offerings. re. porter provides its clients with the opportunity to find sold-out gems from their favourite designers’ past seasons – hopefully aiding & abetting avant-garde collectors at-large in their individual quests for fashion’s holy-grails.
Many of our clients don’t even realize we’re a primarily consignment-based operation. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the biggest indicator that we’re doing our job correctly. We place prime importance on presentation, and believe by showcasing consigned goods with equal [or more] integrity as others do new stock – we pay proper respect to the artistry of the work, and the timelessness of its respective aesthetic.
How do you source and select what makes it up for sale on re. porter?
Sourcing takes up the grand majority of my time. as re. porter is by-and-large a consignment based operation, I spend my days corresponding with clients and collectors alike, offering them the opportunity to consign with our store.
That being said, not everything in the store is previously owned. I spend a fair amount of time sourcing items from the world’s various online vintage and second-hand markets – where it’s not rare to find completely new gems-of-old; who never found their destined customer before the boutique was forced to move them along.
In the months leading up to launch, it wasn’t unusual for me to spend twelve [or more] hours a day corresponding with clients, collectors, and boutiques – convincing them to consign with us and calmly reassuring them i wasn’t actually a criminal. Now that we’ve launched it would seem the website does most of that work for me, and i can focus on what products i choose to take on consignment, rather than searching for any to consign at all.
The process of selection itself is fairly straightforward. I’m pretty much my own client, that is to say – my target client-base knows these designers just as well as i do.As in all buying, there’s a bit of logistics involved, but what I do is more akin to curating a gallery; choosing my stock based on its [already proven] success in both the first-sale & after-sales markets, “Hrmmm, should i really take these highly-coveted works of artisanal beauty on for consignment? I mean, I remember them selling out world-wide in about the blink of a bomb, and they RARELY pop-up on the internet and even MORE rarely stay-up…” it seems pretty obvious when explained.
What are your long term plans for re. porter? Is a physical location in the future?
I definitely have some exciting plans for how to integrate re. porter into the world of flesh & bone – but such plans will never involve bricks, mortar, or fixed locations.The adaptability afforded us by being a strictly online operation will allow re. porter [Vancouver] to easily transition into re. porter [Tokyo], you know… as an example. But in the more immediate meantime, look for re. porter to temporarily pop-up in different locations across North America in true guerrilla-style fashion.
You’ll witness the website evolve as well, adding a lot more functionality & control to the [already awesome] home page. We’re hoping this will provide us with the ability to showcase specific pieces & brands – and even help us feature young designers, local or otherwise.
What is inspiring you of late in fashion? Any designers or collections really catching your eye?
This Fall / Winter 2012’s runway collections [both men’s & women’s] were some of the best, & most inspiring shows I’d seen in years. Yohji’s women’s show was gorgeous, everything I’ve always loved about him just emphasized, colored and complemented in a fashion I hadn’t seen for so long. Julius_7’s runway show truly wowed me for the first time ever this season – eschewing their overtly anime-inspired styling for a more wearable aesthetic [more akin to how real people wear the brand] just made this show sing for me. A.F. Vandervorst probably moved me more than anything else this season though, with the styling, clothes, casting & music all making me wonder how the brand’s nearly impossible to find stocked sometimes.
However, I’m more of a fashion collector, rather than consumer, and actually spend most of my time tracking down items from clothing’s past; items I either missed out on because I didn’t have money at the time of release, or simply because they were released before I’d ever even cared for clothes… my most cherished designer of all time is an artisanal Italian designer named Maurizio Altieri. he started the design collective Carpe Diem, and most of the clothes I’m constantly tracking down are Carpe Diem, l’maltieri, m.a+, or label under construction [all ex-carpe diem designers] release.
Honestly though, there’s too many Carpe Diem scions showing up these days, with designers riding their carpe-affiliation coat-tails to undeserved levels of success. That being said, the designer Mariavittoria Sargentini’s label marvielab, is one particular brand I exempt from this derision. her work is some of my most cherished these days – encapsulating every Carpe Diem nuance I miss in a fresh manner all of her own.
On the more fun side of fashion though Takahiro Miyashita’s new shit [the soloist] is something to appreciate and if I’m ever bored i just browse through Junya Watanabe’s catalog of women’s collections for some eye-candy & inspiration.
Otherwise, I’ve always loved Ann, old[er] Raf, and everything Rick – with the latter being the reason for my first forays into this world of fashion. Rick took weird mainstream, and they love him for it – it’s almost too good to be true.
With so many online shopping experiences available now. What do you think the market is missing? What unique perspectives are you bringing to online retail with re. porter?
Honestly, the online shopping world is doing pretty okay. I wouldn’t say there’s much missing but I would want to call a lot of places out for lazy styling, lazy web-design, and lazy customer service. However, online is rarely a boutique’s primary concern as they’re too busy focusing on their walk-in clients.
Personally, I want the online shopping experience to mirror my own esteem for the clothing I’m buying. I’ll refrain from naming names, but i see too many online stores these days whose presentation shows absolutely no respect for the value of the product they’re selling. Stop with the annoying intro screens set to macabre music, stop with the floating images over pixelated backdrops, and stop showing me your stupid model’s blue-steeled or perv-stach’ed expressions – I don’t want to buy your clothes if you think I find that shit appealing.
That being said, I have to give credit where credit is due – and that is to places like LN-CC for their brilliant styling, casting, buying, & presentation; and to Atelier New York for its distinctively artful touch [not to mention their unparalleled customer service and encyclopaedically-brained sales associates].
With re. porter, we aim to offer a uniquely intimate online shopping experience – taking the obsequious levels of service experienced in the world’s finest men’s boutiques, and directly transposing it to the online world. this is why we’ve chosen to employ an enquiry-based purchasing system. We prefer directly communicating every purchase with our clients – as it allows us to develop the same client/clothier relationship that occurs in proper brick ‘n mortar boutiques.
I’m a Shakespearean actor by training, and my favourite Elizabethan theatre critic always said a play was most successful when its form matched its content. That is to say – how a piece is presented is every bit as important as the piece itself. With re. porter, I believe we’ve created an online photographic-playground; one part gallery, every part boutique that not only emphasizes, but relies on the beauty of the stock it houses to create a truly unified luxury shopping experience.
re. porter, in essence, is a project borne purely out of passion for the work it houses – and we hope it shows.
Questions and Introduction by Rocky Li
All Images via re.porter