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Not just another upstart designer, Jon Buscemi has paid his dues in the realm of streetwear and sports apparel. While stints at DC Shoes and Oliver Peoples honed Buscemi’s skills in the business, the Los Angeles’ creative fully displayed his directional craft when American-Italian footwear label Gourmet was launched. Headed by Buscemi, the imprint expanded onto producing apparel, eye wear and jewelry — bringing forth an array of enticing silhouettes that nod at the brand’s Californian laid-back sensibility and Buscemi’s Italian roots. While Gourmet continues to celebrate budding success, Buscemi, who’s not the one to rest on his laurels, has moved on in the exploration of other endeavors. With lifestyle at its focal point, Buscemi’ culls from his New York origins, employing the city’s metropolis disposition and dynamic subculture to his eponymous label BUSCEMI. Here, we sit down with Buscemi and hear about his latest imprint, in addition to his relationships with Gourmet and what else he has in the works.
Tell us about your new project, BUSCEMI®.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the project is necessity. The phrase “lifestyle brand” is thrown around so much these days but when you get down to it that is exactly what I am creating. I am setting out to make things that I will be utilizing on the daily, products that enhance the daily protocol. For example, I am producing a calf-tanned leather coffee sleeve to be used for that morning cappacino…things like this. Overall the format with is obnoxiously high quality consumer products.
What was your motivation for starting BUSCEMI®?
Starting a eponymous brand is a daunting task and the motivation is fear for the most part. Fear that what you really want to design or create may not ever make it into the world. Ego and arrogance play a part as well but more importantly confidence in the products that have been sitting in notepads, brain dumps or napkins for years. Lastly, and I’ve always said this, I was raised in NY during the graffiti era and the key or goal in that game was to go all-city, I conduct my business in accordance to that philosophy.
You were an original founder of the footwear brand, Gourmet. What is your current relationship with the brand?
I am still affiliated to Gourmet and retain my ownership but will be focusing on other projects including BUSCEMI®
How has your experiences with Gourmet helped better prepare you for the future?
Other than my family and friends, founding a brand like Gourmet has been the biggest gift ever granted. I feel like I have a PhD now. We started Gourmet with a dollar and a dream and the experience is, at risk of being clique, priceless. Lawsuits, failures, wins, global press, traveling the world, new relationships, old relationships enhanced etc….I’m very lucky.
“The first thing that comes to mind when I think about the project is necessity. The phrase “lifestyle brand” is thrown around so much these days but when you get down to it that is exactly what I am creating.”
Jon Buscemi speaks about his new project, BUSCEMI®
Back to BUSCEMI, is there any significance behind using your family name for the brand name?
The name is motivation in itself to get behind. It’s your last name, for anyone it holds huge significance. My family means everything and its a homage to them. My cousin Steve having huge success in the acting world has nailed the name into minds worldwide and now I have the same opportunity in a different world.
Who or what are your major influences behind the brand?
This is a question or answer actually that can take days to answer. The main influence are my peers. I want to make products that can influence my friends and family’s daily operations. When it comes to personal influences the short list are brands/ people like Asprey, Valextra, Poltrana Frau, Versace, John Lobb, Loro Piana and Larry Leight, Damon Way, Yves St. Laurent for starters. The #1 influence from now and always in Ralph “Lipshitz” Lauren. For my first collection I there is a homage to him. I’m producing a neck tie in his honor. If he started with neck ties will I.
When can we expect to see the brand’s first product?
The products will launch a handful of retailers in the US and on www.jonbuscemi.com on August 1st
“The name is motivation in itself to get behind. It’s your last name, for anyone it holds huge significance. My family means everything and its a homage to them.”
Jon Buscemi speaks about using his family name as the brand name
Do you have any other projects in the works?
Absolutely. GREATS®. Myself and Ryan Babenzien (K-Swiss/ Boast fame) came up with an idea in mid-2007 to build a destination site where urban, fashion-forward men can find footwear designed with classic style in mind and at the highest quality while maintaining a value price. We achieved the goal. Enter GreatsBrand.com. The goal is to disrupt the men’s footwear industry by creating desirable footwear that will only be available online, eliminating inefficient development cycles and retaining a higher margin than traditional footwear companies. Since Greats is exclusively online, we can design, develop, market, and sell market leading styles that stand out by being closer to the latest trends. Our fashion credo is simple and straight-forward: we will identify the latest fashion trends in men’s shoes and bring them to the customers faster than retail brands. We will be focused on the classic men’s footwear market, including lifestyle, urban, action sports & high-end fashion. All at a price that is unbeatable. Greats will be, the UNIQLO or Warby Parker of men’s footwear: classic, premium quality at a value price.
Any last thoughts?
Stay tuned as always and follow all further developments on IG at #jonbuscemi
“Myself and Ryan Babenzien (K-Swiss/ Boast fame) came up with an idea in mid-2007 to build a destination site where urban, fashion-forward men can find footwear designed with classic style in mind and at the highest quality while maintaining a value price.”
Jon Buscemi speaks about his other project, GREATS®