Argyleculture has come a long way.
If you speak with some of the people who work closely with the brand, you could even say that it began with the success of Phat Farm.
When Russell Simmons initially came out and cornered the urban market with the Phat Farm brand, he created a following that most brands never reach. However, every customer eventually grows up, matures and gains a more refined style. Argyleculture is the clear answer for a more refined style palate and viewing their Spring 2013 collection today was a testament to that.
The collection is a breath of fresh air, not only to the urban market, but to the market as a whole. The customer has changed and because of it, so has the fit, colors and textures. Of course the argyle makes an appearance on a few of the pieces, but the real treat is in the subtle details featured everywhere from the construction of the garment, to the actual patterns.
We got a chance to sit down with Russell Simmons to talk about the collection, which he describes as "classic but fun," discover his favorite pieces, and discuss his dynamic with Joseph Abboud, who helped revamp the brand for the last two seasons.
On the Argyleculture customer and the partnership with Joseph Abboud:
I think Joseph and HMX give us a better handle on quality and we got a chance to go back and hire guys that used to work on Phat Farm years ago who have grown up now. They are the urban graduate.
We talk about this customer and an undeserved community, these guys are that customer - They are 30+ years old and they dress like how they are supposed to dress. They are our customer.
There was a big push from our buyers for the collection to look younger and I always pushed for us not to go in that direction, because I firmly believe that our customer knows what they want and it's not to look younger. I don't need a giant crest on our jackets, and we are learning that with our sell-through: what sells and what speaks our language. It's more mature. The most sophisticated things on this wall are going to sell to a younger customer, the young people are the ones with the slim fit jeans, this vest is our number one seller and nobody else has it.
The collection speaks to a broad audience and everyone will wear it differently, but a much wider spectrum of people will be impressed by what we have to offer.
On his influences:
The culture influences me a lot, but other brands have influenced me as well. I learned a lot from Ralph [Lauren] and Tommy [Hilfiger]. I would be lying if I said I wasn't. I learned a lot from Tommy, he has been my greatest influence and I still like his collection. Sometimes much better than anyone else on the floor.
I feel like a great percentage of people who buy Tommy and Ralph had no alternative. So we are not trying to steal their customer, I think that we just add to the floor. We have a little more color, a little more edge, a little more personality - a different personality - and it's our uniqueness that should sell us and not necessarily the image.
On any disagreements he had during design process:
I believe there should be more argyle - in the holiday we will see more - we incorporated it in a few pieces but not as much as I would like. When you are building a brand, the final decision is sometimes more of a group effort, but if it were up to me, we would have much more argyle. We have disagreed on a few things but I did not let much get by me.
It should go without saying that we look forward to everything the brand has to offer in the coming seasons. For now you can check out a preview of the Spring 2013 Argyleculture collection in the gallery above!