We discuss '60s counter-culture and the importance of Snoopy as TSPTR designer Russ Gater unveils the Fall/Winter 2015 collection.

An Americana-inspired brand with a light touch, UK-based TSPTR imbue seriously well-made garments with a playful, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Fronted by Russ Gater and Daniel Savory, formerly of Heritage Research, the duo utilize their combined vintage knowledge and impressive collections to create old from new. Rare and hard to find pieces from USN shawl collar jackets to helmet bags are carefully reproduced, an obsession with detail resulting in solidly made collections good enough to satisfy the most hardcore of collectors. While standards are set high, and the past heavily referenced, the folk behind TSPTR aren't out to create a serious-minded heritage brand aimed solely at those with an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject. While vulcanized, made-in-Japan Cadet shoes and Eastman Leather flight jackets should satisfy the most hardcore enthusiats, the brand's appeal stretches across the board, seriously clever collections striking a chord with those in the know, and those less concerned with origin. TSPTR welcomes all. With their Fall 2015 collection hitting stores this week, we took a moment to chat with Gater on the brand's exploration of American counter-culture and the importance of Snoopy.

TSPTR is a relatively new project, can you tell us a little about how it all started?

I guess TSPTR was born out of one of our other brands, Heritage Research. We wanted to make something that was similar but ultimately more accessible and allowed us a wider scope of influence. We're both huge "Peanuts" fans and collectors and wanted to do something with that, so TSPTR presented the perfect option. The driving force was to create pieces of jersey and fleece product that also had a level of cultural context within the product. As with HR, we clearly outline the seasonal theme for TSPTR prior to designing the collection. For us, placing each collection in a genuine historical context is of primary importance.

The acronym for TSPTR - Truth, Symmetry, Pleasure, Taste, Recognition really sets out the brand's ethos. These five elements were originally the design principles of modernist architect Louis Sullivan, the 'father of skycsrapers'. He also coined the phrase 'form should ever follow function,' something we apply as much as possible when making a collection. Every piece has to have quality, functionality and meaning.

Can you explain the collection title "Heart of Darkness?"

"Heart of Darkness" is obviously a reference to the 1899 Joseph Conrad novel of the same name which dealt with the empirical nature of European colonialism. It was also the basis for the screenplay for "Apocalypse Now," transporting the same themes and characters into the then contemporary setting of the Vietnam War. The phrase "Heart of Darkness" had also previously been applied to the massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee in 1890 by US Cavalry. The phrase became synonymous with describing the dark side of human nature or a particularly low ebb in human history.

It was again used during the '60s as a reflection of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and JFK. The racial upheaval that followed, including the shootings at Kent State University in 1970, marked a wind-change in US history. A multitude of counter culture movements arose in the US as a reaction to these ongoing imperialistic attitudes. In deft opposition to society and the government, young people chose to drop out and live a new free lifestyle that involved spiritualism, revolution, human rights and free speech. The TSPTR collection is an interpretation of the various elements that formed the catalyst for change during this period: student demonstrations, drugs, the Vietnam war, Red Power (AIM) and so on.

You've worked on some great collaborations for this season, can you talk a little about some of the brands you're partnering with?

We've got quite an eclectic mix this season. We always wanted to work with likeminded people, so we have made a mini capsule range with Russia's Hobo and Sailor. We love their style and the amazing artwork they produce.

We're again working with our friends over at Topo Designs in Colorado, who make the best outdoor gear available. They're great people and their product is second to none.

The TSPTR x Knight Mills pieces designed and made by our friend Sacha Knight are beautiful, all bench-made; such a talented lady.

We've developed a phenomenal jacket with Eastman Leather, another long term collaborator. It's based on a Vietnam era US Navy flight jacket with a hand painted USAF Snoopy insignia on the back. Insanely good, like all Eastman product.

Quite a left field collab for this season are the Peanuts styles we've made with the band HOT CHIP. Alexis and Joe are big Peanuts fans and we thought it would be cool to make some genuinely great band merchandise for a change. The Peanuts characters work really nicely with the HOT CHIP lyrics and the bright spruce colourways perfectly suit the band's aesthetic.

What are some of the original pieces that have inspired Fall/Winter 2015?

We've got a line of vintage Peanuts sweatshirts due for release in October which are 100% reproductions of the '60s Spruce Peanuts sweats. We're really pleased with these, the garments, colours and prints are all exact to the originals. All of the US Navy Fall 2015 styles are directly referenced from original pieces including the chambray deck shirts, N-1 Deck Vest, fatigue deck jacket, patched HBT tour jacket, the Eastman G-1, the denim helmet bag and the boonie hat.

We hear you visited the Schulz museum on a research trip...

Yeah, that was a crazy experience, for fans like us it was just mind-blowing. We were invited over there to meet the Peanuts creative team and see the complex Mr. Schulz had built in Santa Rosa, California. We got to see his actual studio where he drew the strips every day for over 20 years. Everything was exactly as he had left it including his pen tray. We met his wife and had a long chat with his secretary, very cool people. Mr. Schulz was a huge sports fan, which is obviously evident in the comic strips. On the grounds is a full size ice hockey rink he built for the local kids' teams to play in, as well as a baseball diamond and tennis courts. Not least, there's also a beautiful museum around which we were given a full tour by the head curator, and given access to their archive, such a great day.

Can you explain the popularity of characters such as Popeye and the Peanuts gang among vintage collectors?

I think their popularity is a testament to the importance and resonance of the characters, Peanuts especially. While Popeye is no doubt an icon of Americana, his character is fairly one dimensional. The Peanuts characters on the other hand reflect emotions and attitudes we all hold no matter where you're from in the world. The elements discussed in the strips are as relevant now as they were back in the '50s or '60s. Over the years Schulz used the strip to comment on race relations, gender issues, equality, the Vietnam War, nuclear war, politics and most controversially, religion.

The fact Peanuts and Popeye embody such a long period of American history is what makes them appealing to collectors. I would say it's also the fact that both of them work on multiple levels, while they can be enjoyed by children, Peanuts especially is loaded with subtext and cultural commentary that appeals to adults.

Generations have grown up with these characters and hold them in fond regard. Snoopy is a character that never sold out, although commercialized, he still represents what Schulz originally intended. I think audiences of a certain age especially feel a resonance with these characters, for me its the t-shirts and sweatshirts from the '70s and '80s showing Snoopy endorsing various NFL teams and US cities that really resonate, it takes me right back to my childhood.

Talk us through some of your favourite pieces from Fall/Winter 2015

Personally I love the Japan made Sashiko Deck Jacket. The Beo Gam camo pattern gear was really important for us to make, it's a really overlooked camo pattern that not many people know about. The Knight Mills bags are all amazing and obviously anything Peanuts related, because that's just a labor of love!

How would you describe the TSPTR customer?

From what we've seen the TSPTR customer is a savvy consumer, someone who wants quality and is interested in the stories inherent in the garments, too. The brand appeals to quite a wide age range across both men and women too, which is cool.

Shop TSPTR Fall/Winter 2015 at the website now or at ANON store.

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