In The Studio with Patrik Ervell
In his studio above Opening Ceremony on Howard Street, SoHo, menswear designer Patrik Ervell is busy putting the finishing touches on his new collection. Surrounded by books, art and a handful of wayward pot plants, Ervell – whose knack for reinventing classic, utilitarian silhouettes and innovative use of fabric has earned his eponymous label international acclaim – took a little time ahead of his return to MADE Fashion Week to chat to us about his inspirations, his icons and what we can expect from Patrik Ervell on the runway this season.
Tell us a little about the inspirations behind the new collection.
It’s always a continuation of what I do. There’s never a big overarching theme, but I will say there’s a lot of use of fabrics that are used for interiors and that’s pretty unusual. I did lots of rainwear. I was looking a lot into interior design and industrial design, and thinking about how those industries are really related to my field and how they’re also a kind of fashion industry, just on a different time scale – it’s less about a season and more about a decade. There’s something about that that appeals to me.
Does other art – music, literature, film – influence your work?
I do draw from that but maybe not so literally. Music is very important to me, and art and film are too but I try to make what I do be about its own universe and aesthetic. So it’s not so directly inspired by those things, but of course influenced by them. I mean, the simplest answer is that it’s about the zeitgeist, whatever that is at the time. And of course, that’s what every fashion designer is supposed to do but I feel like a lot of people approach it in a more thematic way.
Where does your design process begin?
With fabric, usually. Again, it’s never like wiping the slate clean and saying ‘well this season it’s all about my trip to India’ or something, it’s more like ‘where did we leave off last season, what can we explore more, what can we build off of?’
What was your path into fashion?
I guess I was always kind of drawn to it, though I didn’t study it in school. I came here [from California] in between my junior and senior years, and I interned at a fashion magazine. They offered me a job when I graduated and came back to New York, so I worked there for three years, then when Opening Ceremony opened downstairs [in 2002], I just made some things for the store. Back then, it was really a mom-and-pop operation so I think I’m the oldest brand that they carry, and I’ve been with them since they day they opened.
Do you have any design icons?
That’s a tough question but I think when I was a teenager, the designer I was most impressed by was Helmut Lang. Helmut Lang in his golden age, I mean.
Who is the Patrik Ervell man?
My customer isn’t actually a fashion person. He’s a guy who appreciates the aesthetic of the brand and buys into dressing that way. He’s not somebody who buys into trends.
Patrik Ervell is showing at MADE Fashion Week on Monday, September 8th at 6pm.
Patrik Ervell photographed exclusively for Milk Made by Andrew Boyle