Photography & Casting: Antwan Duncan
With a name like NEWTHINGS, you might think the NYC brand would be concerned with differentness at all costs. In reality, the appeal of their highly wearable designs lies in the subtle details. No flash here—just dark canvas, fatigue-tone fleece, and chocolatey velvet elevated to a new level by collaborators Edwin Bolta and Ricardo Reyes.
This season honed in on a utilitarian aesthetic. Contrasting white stitching against charcoal denim hearkened to mid-century Levi’s classics, while front-facing pockets and unusual flaps brought attention to the ‘NEW’ in NEWTHINGS. Amidst a concrete space offset by clusters of brambles fallen tree branches, models resisted sameness in favor of the uniqueness afforded by a wide Brooklynite spectum, with tattoos, shaved heads and a couple of impressive Afros.
We caught up with Bolta, the brand’s creative director, after NEWTHINGS’ presentation to talk about penny loafers and Take Ivy for a new age. Watch the presentation’s Livestream recap, here.
Where did the name of the collection come from?
“The collection is called ‘Jubilee.’ It’s a word that goes back to old Biblical stories, but our meaning is a celebration of life and freedom and being one with yourself—owning your faith in your own reality.”
What was your inspiration for the designs?
“The concept was ’50s and ’60s mod-slash-rockabilly rebel lifestyle—bringing it not necessarily into today’s world, but another world altogether. We think of it like steampunk, where nothing really makes sense, but it all makes sense. There’s a lot of workwear inspiration—a very ’60s Japanese take on collegiate life—like a futuristic Take Ivy. That’s why we work with Bass Weejuns, because they’re the original penny loafer. So bringing that into it and seeing these streamlined, forward-thinking cuts combined with not particularly forward-thinking materials—organic cotton, wool—it’s a juxtaposition of now, never and the past. As a design philosophy, we want to always stick to never.”
Cakes Da Killa
Your casting feels extremely real. Tell me about the models you chose.
“The casting is all friends and people we work with. I’d say this collection and all past capsules are an empty vessel, and because the clothes are somewhat minimal, the people we work with—models, friends, colleagues—bring their personality into them. We work with exciting people that have their own take on life, so we don’t go thorough an agency. They’re mostly not ‘models.’ We have Cakes da Killa, who’s an amazing rapper, we have a DJ and a bookbinder—a bunch of people who’re just amazing. We’re working with them not just because we love their look, but because we love their personality and who they are. And that’s what we’ll continue to do.”
What’s your creative process like?
“I bring the creative direction and then Ricardo and I work together to make it happen. He’ll step in to say, ‘No, that won’t work,’ or whatever. It’s my crazy mind as a starting point, and us bringing it to fruition.”