It feels a little funny to have such strong emotions about clothing. It also feels a little funny to say that it feels funny, given that my life and career are built around having strong feelings about clothing. I recognize that clothing can be superfluous—a privilege to be able to think about at all, and that many people will never have the luxury of spending time or energy thinking deeply about what they wear. I also recognize that for many, clothing is an essential part of how they communicate, how they relate to their identities, and how they comfort or armor themselves to get through the day. Clothing can be meaningless at times, and incredibly meaningful at others.
For me, the launch of this collection is meaningful in two distinctly different ways. The first is what the pieces themselves represent to me as a designer and wearer. Many of the styles are iterations of some of my earliest work, and their return feels cathartic and invigorating. Knowing now that patterns I developed early on were actually good, and that silhouettes I admired, without necessarily knowing why, have held up over time, is affirming. As ever, I’m a big fan of the slow evolution of a product—giving it time to breathe, live, and grow as I learn from experience and feedback. That many of these silhouettes have developed with us over time, have shared prolonged space with some of our most pivotal moments, is really special to me.
Many of these pieces also capture what I need from clothing, and how my wardrobe affects me at its best. The jackets provide warmth and softness without too much weight or tension on my shoulders, the sweaters are enveloping without restricting, and the pants are sleek and interesting without feeling confining or cumbersome. The fabric feels like armor of the most magical kind, protecting me from the wind and chill of the physical world, and from the emotional discomfort I sometimes feel when my clothing doesn’t feel representative of how I see myself. The shapes are mellow and forgiving, artful and intriguing.
A simple plainweave informs the texture of the fabric, still dynamic and rich. In the past, we’ve used wools that are too smooth and flat, and didn’t mesh as well with our other fabrics that have variation and verve. The colors, Charcoal and Fawn, capture and honor the organic, natural origin of the fiber—heathered shades that are imperfect and unpredictable, not solid, stark, or uniform. Flecks of natural throughout serve a conceptual purpose of reminding the wearer that this fiber comes from a living, breathing creature, and a practical purpose of supporting a life well-lived by disguising lint, dirt, and dust. All of these elements—the weave and finish of the material, the colors and textures, and the silhouettes—come together to create garments that make me feel at home and at peace, like a deep exhale.
The second way this collection is so meaningful to me is how it represents where we are as a company. The development of the wool material that comprises this collection has been a lengthy, complicated journey, and finally arriving at finished products that we’re proud to deliver to customers is held up by a hard-earned foundation of what we’ve learned and accomplished over the years. Sourcing wool responsibly is a commitment we made several years ago, and haven’t been able to fully realize until today.
We’ll be sharing the whole story of how our wool fabric comes to life—the Climate Beneficial™ ranches, the dyehouse, the spinning and weaving mills—over the next two months, but for now, suffice it to say: the fact that we’ve developed an entirely domestic supply chain to produce a custom, just-for-us fabric is pretty dang cool. It means that American manufacturing is still viable. It means that we have reached a size and scale as a company where we are able to develop our own material, from raw fiber to finished fabric, from scratch. It means that we’ve learned from mistakes and given ourselves enough time to get this material right.
It also means that we still have a long way to go. We’d like to work towards making all of our materials even more aligned with our long-term goals, and we have a head start now that we know enough to recognize the potential, and also to recognize what was attainable in this one year. Instead of standing at the foot of a mountain looking up, wondering how in the world to even begin climbing and not knowing what gear we’ll need (or what a mountain even is, honestly), we’re geared up, holding onto our map, and on our way up through the trees.
The inertia of progress is so powerful. The launch of this collection, to me, represents the excitement and significance of progress. I am so proud of the Cold Weather Collection today, and I am so excited about its future.
Photographed by Zachary Gray.
Hair & Makeup by Hayley Bidez.
Modeled by Chung Chow, Nouri Hassan, and Alex LaRosa.