Los Angeles has become a competitive player in today’s American fashion, thanks to an output of rising brands, from Phlemuns to Rowan, who’re making names for themselves out west. Add to that growing lineup newcomer Samsara, designed by Tarpley Brooks Jones, whose eco-friendly LAFW presentation featured all hemp fabrics with an eye for casual meditation streetwear.
Though oversized silhouettes and elongated sleeves have been normalized in fashion’s post-Vetements climate, Samsara took this look to new extremes, stretching sleeves down to the floor and introducing pant legs that’d easily fit two full bodies inside. These easy shell-like shapes speak to the collection’s inspiration and title, No Body No Mind—a Buddhist concept that says our minds exists separate from our bodies.
BULLETT caught up with Samsara’s founder and designer to learn more:
How did Samsara begin?
Samsara happened very organically. Back in 2014, I was producing and DJing music in an up-and-coming group in Chicago. At the time, I was really into wearing underground designers to my shows—always searching the Internet for designers and was really into sublimation prints. It was then the thought occurred, ‘Hey maybe I should try and start making some clothes for my girlfriend and I to wear out to clubs.’ Shortly after, I was bored with making music and began to work on sublimated clothing. I’ve always made digital art, so transferring it to clothes with my designs seemed like a great starting point. I made 13 items to start and once they were finished, realized the potential of what I’d just created. On top of that, I’d fallen in love with process and after deciding I would go for this new idea, moved out to Los Angeles where I have been ever since.
How has Samsara developed since that initial idea?
I’ve taken more steps to creating the Samsara I truly imagine, which is a very casual, high-end look of sportswear [and] streetwear. I do not have a background in fashion design, so the last two years have been spent consuming as much knowledge as I can to bring into the design process. I’m a visual-oriented artist, and think of myself as a creative director rather than fashion designer. As far as the actual clothes, I create the vision for each garment and then work with a multitude of people from different parts of the world to create the finished products. It’s truly a collaborative effort at all times, and I love connecting with others to make new ideas happen.
Where are you from originally?
Originally I’m from Nashville, and fashion there just didn’t exist in the ways I’m into now. Luckily, I had a very stylish mother who was into high-end clothing, and would shop around the world to create her wardrobe. I wasn’t as into to [fashion] at an early age, but reflecting upon my life, it’s so easy to see it all came from her. After Nashville, I moved to Chicago for school at Columbia College studying Entrepreneurship, where I met my girlfriend, who truly ignited the fashion flame in me. We would spend hours on the Internet looking at clothes, and she truly developed the beginning of this passion.
What’s the story behind the collection’s name, “No Body No Mind?”
‘No Body No Mind’ is a Buddhist idea about having ‘no self.’ Every day we wake up and create this idea of a ‘self’—a story about our lives—to create a real experience for [ourselves]. However, these are just ‘stories’ and the mind is never peaceful due to these creations. The mind itself can never be peaceful, silent or clear when it’s just projecting the outside world of chaos. You are beyond your mind and body, and mediation helps show you this. Drop your identification of your ‘self’ and you will see reality for what it is. Your body on the other hand is a constantly changing part of the universe that we wrongly attribute as our ‘own’—as our possession. It’s merely the vessel for the mind. This is to not say to go against your body [or] mind—it is actually the opposite. They are both just being wrongly taken as our own, when we are just an experience of this universe.
How did this idea manifest into clothes?
I went for very minimal, natural looks that could be interpreted almost as not existing or being present. The oversized fits relate to the presence of reality weighing down our ‘self,’ then contrasted with bright, positive natural colors to reflect our true nature. The clothing is meant to be causally worn in just about any setting, and [many] items are comfortable enough to be worn in meditative practices. This collection was the first sign of Samsara’s future aesthetic—casual clothing that’s high-end in nature and quality, while also reflecting ideas of Buddhism. Rick Owens and Yohji Yamamoto are my biggest inspirations with their ability to create minimal garments in progressive ways.
Talk about the fabrics you used for “No Body No Mind.”
The fashion industry unfortunately is creating a lot of great things at the expense of our environment. It’s not alone, as most industries are destroying our earth, but I could not create a company that aided in this destruction. So I decided last year that I would only use eco-friendly, alternative fabrics to create clothes. This collection I worked with hemp, which is by far one of the most eco-friendly plants on this earth that has so many benefits compared to other fabrics, such as cotton. It takes way less energy to harvest, lasts longer, is more durable and requires no pesticides to have it grown.