Let’s face it the world of men’s accessories has accelerated faster than Vin Diesels hot ride in fast 5! The business is booming now more than ever and I know a fair few fellas that are never apprehensive when it comes to accessorising the hell out of an outfit! But where do you go when you want something just that little bit more special, when you want to stand out or make a statement? Look no further than the object of this week’s Brand Watch feature. Allow me to introduce you all to Pocket Square Clothing! They’re a brand that hail from the streets of Los Angeles and know a fair bit about creating accessories that you will all be fighting to get your hands on! The whole team are massive fans of this brand, so check out the interview with founders Andrew and Rodolfo to find out more about them and where you can find their amazing pieces.
1. How long has your brand been about?
Andrew: We officially launched in May 2011 with our 2011 Bow Tie Collection. We started by releasing bi-weekly bow ties, we figured that in doing so we would be able to garner much needed attention as a startup and keep people coming back for more. We recently launched our 2011 Winter Tie/Pocket Square Collection and have much more to come.
2. Tells us a little history about Pocket Square Clothing?
Rodolfo: Andrew and I were freshman year roommates at USC (University of Southern California). I knew I always wanted to do something in clothing. I actually started my own T-shirt line, but that ended when I went to study abroad in Asia and someone stole my screen printer. Andrew just so happen to be writing a business plan at the time and approached me with a proposition to start a clothing company. I said why not and so Pocket Square Clothing was born.
Andrew: We wanted to start a clothing company, but we didn’t know how to sew. We needed to start off with something easy, so we decided to do bow ties. We figured they were different and saw a ton of potential in creating a successful niche brand. We thought it would be a lot more viable to get into the fashion industry through brand recognition as a well respected accessories brand.
Rodolfo: We eventually want to turn PSC into a full clothing company and have our own physical storefront… I give us 5 years until then… The nature of our relationship as friends and business partners is very impromptu, which explains the impromptu nature of how our company came about. Interesting fact, Andrew said I couldn’t run a marathon one day and on that same week I proved him wrong by running a full marathon in the middle of South Central LA, in the middle of the night, and with no training whatsoever. How’s that for a slap in the face. Hahahhh
3. What is your favorite piece in the current collection?
R: The Double-Take bow tie… The name speaks for itself. It’s loud and grabs a lot attention.
A: I’ll have to say The Sports Fan. It projects a classic elegance and works well with the more conservative bow tie wearer.
4. What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)?
R: Everything is handmade in Los Angeles. We hand-sew all of the bow ties ourselves. We also design and handcraft our own packaging including the boxes our bow ties come in, and the sleeves for our ties and pocket squares. Each bow tie is named after a persona or profession, and have a story to tell. Interesting note; each bowtie comes along with a unique concocted story of the gentleman that is meant to wear each piece.
5. What are you trying to achieve at Pocket Square Clothing?
A: Our vision is simple; to become a vehicle for the individual exploration of style. We embrace the idea that style comes down to one’s composure and being, the way one carries himself. Our mission is to create a collection of visual and artistic accents, accents that then serve as to punctuate and project personality. We are inspired by the idea that everyone can move forward in life through style and etiquette, and the belief that clothing is a language that communicates one’s individualistic qualities. The Pocket Square lifestyle is defined by art, music, entertainment, architecture and culture. The brand also delves into realms of Urban, Vintage, Street, Hip Hop, and Chic. We look to create a brand beyond just clothing, and become a network of individuals who love clothing and use it to help decipher their style.
6. Give us an INDIVIDUALISM exclusive.
R: We’re currently in the works of creating a second brand under our label called Rich Rollin’. The name rolls off the tongue rather easily, or so we think. This brand is a bit more urban as we’re looking to make segways into the ever evolving hip-hop industry which projects elegance and sophistication with the all encompassing swagger. We’re going to be releasing some colored tie clips which are sure to be HOT! So as to offset the crazy colors we’re set to also release some staple ties in colors like black, navy blue, and white.
A: Next on our list is the 2012 Ice Cream Collection. This is a sequel to our current bow tie collection. We will feature another line of neck ties, bow ties, and more pocket squares. The new concept will revolve around ice cream, much like our current collection, they too will have their own stories to tell or flavors for that matter. You can be reassured that we will be going all out on this collection, make sure to look inside for a special alcoholic ice-cream recipe to match your bowtie. Expect this collection to be more colorful, more playful, and designed to really make an outfit pop. We have some exciting things planned, trust and believe.
7. As you are an American based brand, are there any other brands or designers that you particularly admire or that influence your work or any you would like to collaborate with from outside of the USA?
R: There is no one particular company, but we’re always looking to work with companies that aren’t necessarily in the clothing industry. We are a lifestyle brand and we’re designers at heart, so clothing is not always something we want to subject ourselves to. We always want to collaborate with different individuals like artists, carpenters, and recording artists to create really cool stuff. We want to design “good shit” that people can relate to and wear. At the end of the day we’re telling a story of whom we are while simultaneously helping others tell theirs.
8. Where do you think the industry is heading?
R: We’re starting to see a lot more indie-based designers who concentrate on a particular niche, and who are really good at their crafts and what they do. People are starting to have an affinity for the handmade, the great deal of care that goes into the product, and the stories behind them.
A: We also see designers who are beginning to experiment with unorthodox fabrics, breaking barriers, and reinterpreting the accessories game. Men are once more becoming comfortable with accessorizing.
9. What was your biggest obstacle when creating the brand and would you do anything differently in hind sight?
A: Human capital, equating to time. As two college students we’re hard pressed for time. Rodolfo is still in his last year of architecture school, so sometimes it’s a struggle to schedule meetings. We’re happy with where we are at the moment, as students we’re able to experiment and discover what works and what doesn’t. We’re approaching the industry as consumers, specifically designing things that we would buy and offering price points that we can afford. We were always saying we want this or that, so we figured why not make it. In hindsight we wouldn’t do anything different. It’s all a learning process that has made us better for it. The last eight months have been an incredible ride. We’ve had one or two bumps in the road, but things have been falling in place, and slowly but surely we’re garnering the attention around the world.
10. What is your definition of style?
A: Style defines the individual; it speak to the music one likes, what one values, who one hangs out with, and allows one to gain a great appreciation for all those. Style has something to show us as human beings, it allows us to relate to one another, and tells a story. It’s part and parcel of your being.
R: The style we’re trying to project here is a style with etiquette, grace, with flare, and something different. It’s that something… at the end of the day, that defines cool and is a modern interpretation of swagg. We’re crafting a story through our style with the modern gentlemen, or urban gentleman. We like to say that the urban gentleman is sophisticated type of cool.
11. Where can we get hold of your stuff?
A: We don’t have a brick and mortar store yet, but you can purchase all our products on our website – www.pocketsquareclothing.com. We’re in several online retailers like Etsy, designers+artists and Wantful.com, and boutiques in the Los Angeles area including Black Market and L’elephant Blanc as well as others in Beverly Hills, Downtown Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and South Carolina.
12. If there was one item that you would say every guy needs from Pocket Square Clothing, what would it be and why do they need it?
A: When it comes down to it, everyone has their individual tastes and styles. We can give a couple answers. I think every guy needs a staple item, something that’s classic and clean that can fit with every occasion. The Worker bow tie and its skinny tie counterpart would be a perfect example.
R: I think it’s important for guys to have some color in their wardrobe. The Double-Take bow tie and our blue plaid skinny tie (PSC Tie _005) have a similar plaid pattern with bright colors. They are a must, trust and believe.
So there you have it, another great brand for you guys to keep an eye on! Check out the rest of their stuff at: www.pocketsquareclothing.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: Alexander Milnes
STYLING: Nigel Ruwende
CREATIVE DIRECTION: Nikita Johnson & Nigel Ruwende
MODEL: Martell Campbell
INTERVIEW: Nikita Johnson
WRITTEN BY: Nikita Johnson
Jacket, Knitwear & Shirt – House of Billiam
Jeans – Denim Demon
Boots – Topman
Pocket Square – Pocket Square Clothing
Shirt, Knitwear & Chinos – Ben Sherman