Interview: Evan Kinori
Evan Kinori designs beautiful, simple, long lasting garments in San Francisco.
From a visit some highlights:
How would you define Luxury?
Evan: There is an interview from Inventory magazine with Maurizio Donaldi (Maurizio former creative director of Levi’s Vintage) - where he says something along the lines of ‘luxury is durability…something that lasts that you don’t have to worry about’. I like that idea, ofcourse luxury is about beauty and elegance, but the sense of enduring quality & trust should really define luxury.
Bullshit luxury is just sprayed on logos. Something that isn’t necessarily made with quality. So with my work, I have to construct everything in a way that if people were to beat these products up, they only look better and remain structurally sound.
When is it ok to cut corners?
Evan: Umm that’s a good question, no one really asks that. That’s something I have to think about all the time as I scale from making everything myself to using commercial production sewing shops. I think its 80% intuition - the concern with ‘cutting corners’ is just about ensuring that the product doesn’t lose integrity and no one is taken advantage of in the process of creating that product.
I’m not interested in saving a dollar if something loses quality or something is truly changed for the worse, but at the same time I have to be practical so little tweaks get made. Just keeping honest to my goal and ethics is the deciding factor.
How do you stay original? Do you even need to?
Evan: Considering it’s 2016 and everything has been done, I feel a certain freedom in not worrying about trying to make something absolutely fresh - I’m really into classics and lasting design, so for me I choose to express myself in subtle tweaks and refining these enduring elements to create something contemporary but recognizable. The amount of influences that we are exposed to nowadays is unprecedented - we’re all sampling and re-hashing and even with the same elements new results arise through each different perspective. I am far more concerned with authenticity and creating something from an honest place, that may or may not fall in line with a trend or whats cool at the moment.
Let’s talk about color choice? What’s the tone of this set and collection? Where is it moving?
We’ll blue is certainly present. My first few productions are about fabric I already owned and that means alot of blue/indigo fabric. Moving forward I just plan to reinvent these trusted styles through textile choice - mostly earth tones and classic colors but by playing with the same jacket in linen, denim, or melton wool - each fabric has its own personality and gives the same style multiple identities. I definitely think navy offers a lot to people, its like the more sophisticated black !
Its very hard to separate one’s interests from trends in general. There is a general zeitgeist that influences our choices and I think being a part of the zeitgeist and absorbing the generational feelings is important for designers and creators.
In that regard who is influencing you?
There is a British company SEH Kelly (http://www.sehkelly.com/worn/) that is bar none the best - everything is from the UK: the fibers, the horn buttons, the weaving, cutting and sewing all happening there. The price is reflective of that quality but its an approachable price point along with being beautiful and very honest.
Musically and culture-wise I’m influenced by things from the late 60s and early 70s generally. The Stones 72-78, jazz in the 50s and 60s, the restricted and functional design of military and work clothing, its a pretty chaotic melting pot…
Are you interested in making your product more accessible?
I have an inherently anti-capitalist, anti-corporate mentality - which is ironic as someone starting a business. Accessibility in terms of spreading the word, yes I’m hoping to get my product out there and maybe get people questioning what they pay for and what is involved in the making of products. revealing the difference between well constructed garments versus a shined up piece of crap. Im happy to grow if I’m adhering to my ethos of quality and a 'fair trade’ approach. If you mean accessibility in terms of price, thats not what this product is about: I’m making extremely well constructed clothing from beautiful textiles woven in reputable mills, where no individual is taken advantage of - so if accessibility means making a product that bears my name 'inexpensive’ or 'cheap’ so I can reach more people, then no, I don’t have any interest in that. Good products cost money, and the only reason its such a shocker nowadays and in our culture, is because we have no idea the humanitarian and social cost of our 'cheap’ clothes, food, furniture, etc.
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