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Californian Menswear Designer Patrik Ervell Wants To Cast Aside Fashion Politics And Concentrate On The Cut Of His Cloth

This time last year, Patrik Ervell announced that the highlight of his collection was nothing more than “the perfect sweatshirt”. Ervell is the latest addition to a group working out of New York that may just have enough in common to be labelled a “new generation” of menswear designers. Alongside Adam Kimmel and Alexandre Plokhov, Patrik Ervell makes clothes that are clever without being pretentious, and perhaps more importantly, have a life outside the rather narrow world of men’s high fashion. Like Adam Kimmel, a one-time architecture student, Ervell was a relative latecomer to fashion, having studied political science at Berkeley. It may sound a million miles from fashion, but, as Ervell points out, Miuccia Prada is also a politics graduate: “It’s not without precedent,” he says laughing. His clothes are steeped in America, in its culture and fashion codes, but don’t ever resort to references or

mimicry. Take his spring/summer collection, which has a military feel in utility colours of black, white, shades of khaki, trench-coat beige, with the occasional flash of red. Ervell deployed a stockpile of 1950s parachutes – designed for dropping bombs rather than people – from a supplier in California, to make into jackets. “They were designed for an ugly purpose, but were never used. Like everything in my collection, I want it to be modern, but at the same time to have a record, a feeling of texture, of history, built into it.” Elsewhere are the cuts that, three seasons in, are becoming familiar Ervell territory. The suits are angular, shortish; ever so slightly boxy jackets with narrow rounded collars are fastened high with one button and paired with trousers just shy of half-mast. The feel is classic American – windcheaters, bombers, herringbone and tweed – but revised and unexpected. “I live and work in New York, and

what I do is very much about that American tradition.” It’s been a long slog for the one-time fashion editor, who started out by taking evening classes in design while working at V magazine. “At the start, I wouldn’t even call it a collection. I wanted it to be less about the clothes being in magazines, and more about them being in a store. I wanted it to be something real and not made up. You can be a designer and not actually make clothes.” These are wise words at a time when even the undeniably talented and much hyped Alexandre Plokhov was forced to close his Cloak store in New York. Text Cath Clarke

Photography Sandra Freij Styling Tyler Udall Grooming Michael Ashton Models Kev and Med

All clothes by Patrik Ervell spring/ summer 07

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