The saying â€śthe early bird catches the wormâ€ť has sold the pleasures of the waking hours to the point of clichĂ©. As I arrived at the ROARK warehouse last Friday, I was thinking about the saying as I conspicuously let myself in. Ahead of me was what looked like immaculately tailored menswear, and I thought that perhaps, I was still asleep and dreaming. Dubbed â€śThe ROARK effect,â€ť the label has made a habit of turning heads. For instance, last year ROARK presented their first international season at New York Fashion Week, models were staged to recreate the blocking of ROARKâ€™s Fall Collection video. Since then, ROARK has shown at ENK Tradeshow as well as other venues.
Chris Allison is the vision behind the mirage before me, known as the ROARK Collective. Based out of Los Angeles, the modern-age menswear collection basks in its versatility, adopting the fundamental paradox of disarranged tailoring. The 2010 launch of ROARKâ€™s Fall/Winter 2011 collection was like a jolt of caffeine to a seemingly slumbering world of menâ€™s ready wear, and upon meeting Allison, I was ready for a double-shot.
When did you decide to start your own menswear line?
Before ROARK I had a womenâ€™s clothing line. [Co-workers] Misty and Andrew used to occasionally help me with the line. Andrew and I used to spend a lot of time talking about menâ€™s fashionâ€”being inspired from fashion magazines. So, it was at Ralphâ€™s (yeah, the grocery store) back in 2009 where a man offered to carry a menswear line at his shop on Western and 3rd Street.
This inspired you to start making menswear?
I ended up making some patterns. We ended getting great response. Soonafter, we revamped the whole collection and had a long runway presentation here at the warehouseâ€”what later came to be known as ROARK.
What would you consider the ROARK style?
I think what happens a lot in our collection is the variation between hard and soft textures. The Collection has a lot of jersey basics, lounge wear, basically things you can wear anywhere. And then thereâ€™s an infusion of a more casual look, something more tailoredâ€”you would say. Like a really draped pant or a draped jacket, and a really fitted tailored pant or suit jacket, for example.
Describe your Spring/Summer 2012 Collection.
Less of the specifics and more of adapting to every surrounding and situationâ€”the flow we have throughout as well as the color scheme of being in a natural but dream-like state, I think itâ€™s reflective of where peopleâ€™s minds go. The Collection was called â€śFlightâ€ť with the idea of using wind as an element. Pieces seem translucent, or thereâ€™s the feeling of weightlessness. Even our more structured pieces resemble the roughness of the wind.
Who is the ROARK man?
ROARK is for a man who is progressing, a man who wants to be better. Out of our theme of â€śtrainingâ€ť came a lot of inspiration. I referenced a lot of football jerseys from the 50s that came as inspiration in creating this training motif that flows smoothly throughout the entire collection. In theory, we are all training to be better.
Are we going to see something completely different in your next Fall/Winter 2013 Collection?
For Fall, it will be based on more of a streetwear-inspired idea. It differs in variation with casual suiting and elegance but it does get a little more of the collegiate style. If heâ€™s been training for something, you will see what he has been training for. Heâ€™s found his rhythm, heâ€™s trained, heâ€™s ready to conquer, ready to work. Itâ€™s a soft structure; itâ€™s a play on structure. We will have a few selection of beautiful suits in the collection, with the essence of the ROARK aesthetic, of course.
Written by Daniel Pina