After corresponding with Brian of Wolf and Man for several days, we planned to meet at the aforementioned, Copa Vida, in Pasadena California, during one of Wolf and Man's pop-up shops. Copa Vida, a fairly trendy coffee shop was a perfect setting for the laid-back vibe of the brand that is Wolf and Man.
The designers included in the pop-up were set up in a satellite space just next door to the actual coffee shop -- a small space that packed a lot of punch. With vendors selling anything from handmade jewelry to fashionable baby clothes, Wolf and Man was the perfect counter brand to further diversify the spread of the pop-up. As Wolf and Man is a menswear line, I recruited a male friend of mine to accompany me to further round my sense of the line's accessibility.
Walking into the space, Wolf and Man, immediately to the right, was the first of the designers that customers encounter. The set-up consisted of two long clothing racks filled with jackets, pull-overs, button downs, and other merchandise of the like. As my friend and I thumbed through the clothes, we were greeted by Brian's brother and partner, informing me Brian would be in shortly.
Continuing to check out the line, the elusive Brian walks in with several boxes filled with extra sizes. I Introduced myself, and I am greeted with quite a deal of confusion, "Oh, you're Avery? For whatever reason I was expecting a guy!" Upon confirming my identity as very much so female, Brian and I jumped right into it:
"We got started 5 seasons ago. The reason why we started Wolf and Man was because right after college -- I studied fashion with a minor in marketing -- I started doing high-end companies. I was really young at the time. I did production and design, just really gritty work. Anything from cutting zipper sizes to looking for trims. Just production you know what I mean?"
I immediately get the sense that this guy really knows what he is talking about. He spoke with an unwavering passion for the art of design and a heavily informed knowledge of the business behind the industry, "I'm still young but I know what I'm doing." Fact.
"I was pursuing my whole design career and was super stoked about it. I did three companies then moved to a private label, which I did for three years. I got an offer at Marc by Marc Jacobs and right after that I was thinking, 'Dude, what am I going to do?' Because L.A. and New York are totally different scenes."
As Brian continued to give me the run-down on his prior experiences, I couldn't help but admire his modesty. While most people may consider job offers from high-end and well-known designers such as Marc Jacobs total bragging rights, it was evident that this posed more of a dilemma to Brian. "I visited New York a few times and it just wasn't for me. So I said no." The decision to decline the Marc by Marc Jacobs offer was later explained to not be solely based on geographic location. The reasoning was much simpler that this, and frankly, much more logical, "I always made really expensive stuff and there was no way in hell I could ever afford it: $1,600 for a leather jacket? Kids like me, we love fashion, but we can't afford that shit. It's not fair, everyone loves fashion at some point." At this juncture, I am not only totally agreeing, but totally emphasizing with this unfortunate truth about the fashion industry. Why should we have to break our banks to wear what we want?
"Wolf and Man is supposed to be a middle aesthetic. Just right in between. Our stuff is made in China, but it's 10 sewers that we know. I backpacked in Asia for 5 months and ended up finding really good sewers that were really used to us and from that point forward we just made the line."
"Nitch guy is, no matter where you grew up, if you have an appreciation for fashion, it doesn't matter what style you are." Having had a fairly good look at the clothes, there is no question about the versatility of this line. While it is presented as menswear, I found myself eyeing a particularly undeniable denim, deep-V, hooded pullover.
"We are that younger generation but as we get older we appreciate classic, old stuff that is timeless. We're trying to offer great detail for a good price. We're so independent, but it's great. We have full control. Our stuff is menswear, but with a youthful attitude. Good price point, don't gotta give a leg and an arm."
Check out Wolf and Man here.
By Avery Ciarrocchi