Multi-disciplinary artist Reese Cooper is no stranger to the fashion industry. Splitting his time between London and Los Angeles has afforded him a well-rounded perspective on the culture that drives fashion. Between shooting lookbooks for brands like EJDER, consulting for adidas and curating events around the globe, at 18 years old Cooper has already familiarized himself with what it takes to establish a successful brand. The neophyte designer is also fortunate enough to call recognized creatives like Virgil Abloh and Tremaine Emory of No Vacancy Inn, his mentors.
His debut collection, “Spoiled Children,” is inspired by kids he grew up with whose attitudes pushed him to cultivate his own deeply personal vision. The collection features a range of outerwear, t-shirts, hemmed trousers and a crewneck that successfully bridges the gap between functional and casual wear. The hues in the collection are quite minimal with the assortment instead focusing on detail and practicality.
We caught up with Reese to chat about his inspiration, travels and what the future holds.
Did you always want to get into design?
Since I can remember I’ve always loved drawing and creating. I had a particular interest in machines and how they worked. Designing clothing comes from my overall love for art portrayed through a medium that makes sense for my other interests.
What was the inspiration for this collection?
I titled this collection “Spoiled Children” because those were the type of kids I was around when I started developing my interest in fashion. Being in school wasn’t a good experience for me. No one had a similar mindset and it really brought me down for a couple years. I had to separate myself from those people to find out what really mattered to me. After interning in a couple places including A Number Of Names when I was 15, I had the dream of doing my own line rather than working for someone else. For me this collection is my separation point- separating myself from other designers and creatives in my age bracket.
You travelled all over the world this year, any place that influenced you aesthetically?
I did an event in Hamburg with Jakob Hetzer; it was a great experience to see a different culture of kids with similar interests to me. My favorite part of my work is being able to interact with and learn from people I meet. Between Barcelona, Tokyo and living between London and Los Angeles, I feel I have a well-rounded view of the world right now. I take references and mental notes as well as visual inspiration from each place I visit.
What designers do you look up to?
I respect designers for two different reasons: I respect those who create a strong brand identity and those who produce well-made garments. These two aspects are not always linked with a brand. Anti Social Social Club, for example, has been able to brand themselves and have a strong presence while a brand like Acronym has been built around quality. If a designer can hit both sides of the spectrum, like Raf Simons and Virgil Abloh have, that is what sets them apart. I respect those two greatly.
What do you think the industry is lacking and how do you want to fill that gap?
In my opinion the industry isn’t lacking anything. It can feel that way because of the overkill of new brands that make basics like t-shirts or hats. There’s not enough focus on quality garments and too much focus on branding and logos. I want to fill the gap by giving the streetwear kids something to look smart in while still feeling comfortable and cool.
What have you learned from the brand building process?
I’ve learned to respect other brands a lot more than I used to. Now I pay attention to details I would’ve never noticed before learning how much time and effort goes into creating something as simple as a shirt. Learning the process of manufacturing firsthand has been a more valuable education than school was able to offer.
What impact do you want to make on the culture?
I want to show kids that you can actually go the unconventional route and succeed. Being 18, I never enjoyed school but I made it work for me. A lot of kids think there’s no other option than to go to school and get a 9 to 5. I want to help show and inspire people to take a chance on themselves. If more people take risks and focus on their creative abilities or the things that truly drive them, the world would be a much more beautiful place. I also genuinely enjoy helping others connect and collaborate. I hope to use my journey to link others together so they feel supported to create their own future.
Stay updated on the store opening and new releases through Reese’s website.