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Dr. Romanelli has quickly made a name for himself with his unique creations which defy trends and labels and in the process has created a specific niche for himself. Born from his days spent shopping at local vintage stores, his signature aesthetic can be best described as a patchwork of both new and old inspirations. Having worked with an eclectic list of brands including Looney Tunes, Hurley, Jaeger-LeCoultre and more, the designer is uniquely placed to collaborate or otherwise work with brands from all sorts of industries. His most recent collaboration finds him working with celebrated Japanese luggage and accessories label Head Porter. We had a chance recently to sit down with the Dr. Romanelli to discuss the upcoming collaboration.
What’s the concept behind the collection?
This collection mainly pulls inspiration from the classic Army vs. Navy rivalry, embracing their generations of visual heritage.
What’s the appeal of working with Head Porter?
Head Porter was one of the first brands I was introduced to when I came to Tokyo in 1998. It’s definitely a staple here in Japan and a brand I’ve always admired. When David introduced me to the idea of working with them, I was very interested to explore the possibilities.
How do the concepts for your projects usually come about?
Every project is different. There is no real method (rhyme or reason) to how concepts come about. Early on with DRx I was more active in the pitch department, always thinking of potential collections and collaborations. I was still figuring out the core of DRx and the best way to approach everything. Now that the brand is more established and recognized, coming up on 10 years in 2013, the opportunities seem to present themselves and concepts are birthed organically.
What’s the theme of the collection?
The collection’s theme continued to evolve over the last year, developing into different categories:
The first phase consists of bags, inspired by authentic Army & Navy.
The second phase includes the traditional DRx jackets, which are made from reworking vintage fatigues into modern outerwear silhouettes. For these items I used the bag samples for color reference and overall inspiration.
The third and final phase to this collection is the DRx reworked Head Porter items. Head Porter shipped me a nice selection of past season jackets and shirts, which I reconstructed and reinterpreted with military vintage into a unique capsule collection. While making these pieces I was inspired by some of the Head Porter flannel textiles and decided to make some additional hunting-themed creations. These pieces didn’t quite fit the overall Army vs. Navy concept, but it made sense when I looked at them as USA-themed.
What does the project include this time around?
A mix of bags and jackets. The bags were designed by artist Nathan Cabrera for this collection.
What’s your favorite piece?
Probably the navy tote or one of the reworked camo shirts. It’s tough to say.
Any last words?
Pancakes and coffee.