Providing a premium, high-end take on Carhartt‘s ever-popular Work In Progress range, newly unveiled Over All Master Cloth looks to be one of the more promising recent entries in the crowded menswear market thanks to the expertise of Union‘s Chris Gibbs, head designer Luke Meier (formerly of Supreme), former visvim sales expert Matthew Boule, and input from Carhartt WIP’s Arnaud Faeh as COO. The folks over at GQ recently had the opportunity to sit down with Gibbs to get the creative director’s insights on his latest endeavor. Here Gibbs touches on how the project came about, what he’s learned from Union, the evolution of contemporary menswear and even some of his favorite pieces from O.A.M.C.’s debut collection. While choice excerpts appear below, the interview can be read in its entirety over at The GQ Eye. O.A.M.C.’s Fall/Winter 2013 collection will soon be available at select retailers across the globe.
How involved were you in the initial stages of Over All Master Cloth?
I’ve pretty much been involved since day one. Coincidentally, the designer of the brand, Luke Meier, is one of my best friends. We met 20 years ago in NY. When I first started working at Union, we started a T-shirt line together, and it took off. At the time people were into it, and it was easy to get Japanese distribution. He had just graduated from Georgetown with a business degree, and then he decided to go to FIT and got a degree in fashion design.
What happened after that?
One of his first gigs out of FIT was the head designer of Supreme. Brendan, who’s designing Supreme now, left to start his line, Noah. Long story short, the owner James Jebbia asked me if I knew any good people, and I told him my best friend had just graduated. Luke was there for about 8 years.
When did he start working with Carhartt?
Luke started freelancing for Carhartt Work In Progress, and he came up with this idea of taking the design sensibilities of workwear and updating them. He wanted to start using modern technology, fabrics, and materials to kind of re-invent it. And that’s basically what you have with Over All Master Cloth.
How did you get involved with this project?
We have a mutual respect for each other, and he invited me to come on as a consultant. I’ve kind of been a jack-of-all-trades. I’ve helped with the design, the marketing, factories, pretty much, anything I have access to. I put in my two cents, and I’m definitely a big part of it, but it’s hard to say: “this is my job.” I guess I’m creative director.
It’s been fun. It’s really cool and great to work with a good friend. And I sell clothing that other people make for a living, so this is my first real foray into the other side of it, and it’s been quite tough, but I’m pretty proud of the product.
After being on the other side for so long at Union, what has that taught you about what makes a good menswear brand?
I’ve always felt that one of my biggest assets—and the thing that has helped me be successful—is that I come at it from the other way. I try to run the store thinking about what the consumer wants, so I took that same kind of mindset into O.A.M.C. I know what the consumer wants, and I know what the retailer wants, and if you can make a line that works for both, then you’ll be successful. The bigger fashion houses have merchandisers do that, but I don’t think a lot of brands get that.