Men’s Wear Is on a Quilt Trip

Their story is a cute story to record.

In 2019, Dr Claire McKarns came across Tristan Detwiler at a fabric supply store in Encinitas, California. At the time, Dr. McKarns, a physician, was 80 years old. Mr Detwiler, a handsome surfer with apostle locks, a silver thumb ring and a palm tree tattoo on his hand, was 21.

“I thought, well, that’s interesting, a young man who buys a lot of fabric,” Dr. McKarns said by phone last week from his home near San Diego.

For his part, Mr Detwiler was not excited by Dr McKarns’ friendly opening. “She said, ‘What is a handsome young boy like you doing in a sewing store? Detwiler said over the phone from Southern California, where he also lives. “I was a little shocked.

They each ended up in Yardage Town, a venerable retailer that closed in 2020, after 66 years in business, for the same reason. They would buy offcuts to sew quilts.

In Dr. McKarns case, it was for the quilts she sews and donates to local charity auctions. Mr Detwiler was looking for scraps for the quilts he started making for an art school thesis, then later recovered and bought for Stan, a new sportswear brand that grew out of it.

The unlikely duo got along so well that they started a collaboration – she supplied him with quilts from a treasure she had amassed for decades – which would lead to the lovely second Mr. Detwiler collection which has was shown Monday during the American collections, under the name New York Fashion Week is now called.

Neither of them had been much interested in crafts until adulthood. “I never sewed when I was a kid,” said Dr. McKarns, who has practiced emergency medicine for most of his career. “I had no interest in it.”

That changed one day when she came across a quilt top in her mother’s laundry closet. Sewn by his great-grandmother, it had never been finished. “I asked my mom if I could have it to finish,” Dr. McKarns said. “Someone showed me how to make a quilt, and that’s it, I was hooked.”

When he started Stan, Mr. Detwiler was looking to develop the necessary sewing skills that were unexpected in someone who had previously spent their free time spotting surf spots along the San Diego coast, as well as an anchor in his birthplace and his various stories. “I see myself first and foremost as an artist and a storyteller,” he says. “That’s what I believe in. Fashion is the easiest way to tell my story.”

For Stan’s latest offering – Mr. Detwiler mainly focused on surfer-style jackets and hoodies, board shorts and work jackets made from worn quilts that he had skillfully transformed into clothing .

The result was remarkable in a day of disappointing designer efforts: stuff like Chelsea Grays’ knit skirts, skirts and tunics, clothes so laborious in tatters they looked like the aftermath of a banquet of night butterfly; or Carter Altman’s Carter Young for men, staples organized around a few sadly scanty signifiers of a nostalgic New York; or Aaron Potts’ APotts collection of clothing so intentionally without reference to secondary sex characteristics that they made you itch for a Cardi B video; or ONYRMRK, a new LA label designed by Mark Kim and Rwang Pam, whose quilted checkered parkas (try it three times quickly) underline fashion’s growing drift to the west.

Mr Detwiler shone in part because he filmed his collection of an assortment of acquaintances and friends, Dr McKarns among them, in the slums, barns and outhouses of the historic Bumann Ranch, a German farmhouse from 1886 in what was once known as the Olivenhain colony. He discovered the place and its owners, Richard and Adeline Bumann, through his quilting group.

“The collection comes together in this video story of a guy talking about how he sees this property as a window to the past, just like quilts,” Detwiler said.

And Stan’s creator is far from alone in harnessing hand-sewn textiles for their built-in resonances and stories, what Dr. McKarns has called “the life of the person who made it and the gestalt that made it.” results ”.

Raf Simons, during his brief tenure as Creative Director of Calvin Klein, enthusiastically dove into American quilting. Just like Ralph Lauren before him. Junya Watanabe has made the thrifty practice of boro a staple of the Parisian catwalks. More recently, entrepreneur Maurizio Donadi, the unrecognized godfather of clothing upcycling, worked brilliantly on the reuse of old rags at Atelier & Repairs.

And in 2020, Greg Lauren, a designer from Los Angeles, formalized his ongoing experiments with quilting by creating a superlative clothing line inspired by military quilting. Made from a surplus production line, it is labeled GL Scraps.

“There’s a lot of talk these days about artisan upcycling, an appreciation for the skills and craftsmanship of the past,” said Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director for Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. Crediting Mr Detwiler for adding a ‘West Coast Baja, California flavor’ to the trend, Mr Pask said: ‘You really can’t really talk about all of this without coming back to Emily Bode and how she managed to. create economies to scale up. “

Mr Pask was referring to how Ms Bode, an award-winning designer who built much of her young career around neglected crafts and folk art, began to outsource some of her textile production. in India or to make textile patterns more fleeting in the form of prints. What seems clear is that the supply of these beautiful, often hand-sewn objects is not limitless: even upcycling involves ethical challenges.

“There are those who think that if a quilt has outlived its usefulness, it’s fair game,” said Judy Buss, executive director of the American Quilt Study Group in Lincoln, New York. “But there are also those who say, no matter what stage in the quilt’s life is, even the leftovers are worth saving.

Mr. Detwiler is clearly in the former camp, and yet, aware of the latter, he took inspiration from Ms Bode and turned to other merchandise salvaged from our collective lingerie. Some of the best things in the new Stan collection have been cut and sewn from vintage fringed wool blankets.

Better to hide your tablecloths.

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