SMART DESIGNS: DEVIN CARLSON OF CHAPTER TALKS DYEING LOS ANGELES BLACK

By LA CANVAS
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Chapter, a new sophisticated menswear line based out of Costa Mesa, creates items for the wandering man who is set on exploring new limits, closely describing the creative director behind the line, Devin Carlson. An extensive traveler, Devin’s new fashion venture is inspired by grand architecture and vast open landscapes, developing clothing that emit an allure of discovery. The items are dark and minimally sleek, allowing for the man wearing them to overlook the hidden “smart designs” in the pieces and focus on the overall modern, sharp appeal of the garment.

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Devin is set to release his SS14 collection (featured in this entry) to retailers this February, and he will premiere his AW14 collection later this month in New York. He spoke with LAC tell us more about Chapter, his travels, and to give us a list of must-haves for guys.

LA CANVAS: Where are you from?

DEVIN CARLSON: I’ve lived in LA for eight years, I consider it my home.  I grew up in Alta Loma.

LAC: What has kept you in Los Angeles after a few successful lines?

DC: I have a great group of friends here.  There are also so many options of things to do and get inspired by in LA.  I don’ think much could tear me away from it, I would have to be able to be bi-costal to make any type of move.

LAC: Chapter is much darker than the previous lines you’ve worked for. What sent you on the path this time to working on sleek black clothing for men?

DC: It’s actually very similar to the aesthetic that I started my previous line with, but as I progressed I started to experiment with more color.  I realized that I was most content when I was working with a darker palette so when we started Chapter, this was a natural progression.  There is a quiet and sometimes menacing confidence that goes along with a dark collection.

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LAC: Black has always been thought of as more New York’ish, but lately there’s been a lot of menswear designers in LA creating darker items. Do you see that as a trend for Angelenos or menswear in general?

DC: I think that a darker pallete is extremely relevant to the market at the moment.  I think we have entered into a time of menswear in which the consumer is starting to take chances and pay much more attention to the details that go into constructing a garment.  That being said, I think they are not looking for bright colors, but rather smart design.

LAC: How often do you travel?

DC: I think I was on a plane around 48 times last year. Travel keeps me inspired in a way that you can only get from seeing and experiencing other cultures.

LAC: You recently visited the Nagakin Capsule Tower. Your editorials tend to use large structures as their backdrop. How much does architecture inspire your new line?

DC: We aim to capture a feeling of vastness and immensity with our editorial photo shoots. Nagakin Tower is a rare look into the movement of ‘Metabolism’ architecture.  This movement along with Brutalism and Soviet Modernism had a large influence on the Autumn/Winter 2014 collection that will debut in New York later this month.  However the general theme that directly carries over to the collection is honesty in design – meaning that I let the functionality of the garment serve as the stand out design detail.

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LAC: What can we expect in the SS14 collection? When will it be released?

DC: Spring/Summer 2014 will be released in February to our retailers.  You can expect to see proportional balance between casual relaxed and fitted silhouettes including several oversized drop shoulder silhouettes.  In terms of fabric you will see dark, lightweight cotton blends that allow for breathability and comfort in the coming summer months.  A few other fabrics in the collection include metallic lambskin, linen and rayon blends.

LAC: Chapter seems to be a collaborative effort. How many people are in your team?

DC: It absolutely is, there are eight of us and a handful of talented people that we collaborate with.

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LAC: What soundtrack do you feel accompanies Chapter?

DC: The KVB – ‘Dayzed.’ This is the song we just used on our latest video and fits the current mood at Chapter for Autumn/Winter 2014.

LAC: Do you have in mind a specific person when working on a collection for Chapter, and if so what kind of person is he?

DC: No one person in particular, I tend to just go with my gut feeling when conceptualizing the next season’s mood.

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LAC: What are a guys must-haves?

DC:

1.  Overcoat – This makes anything you are wearing look better.

2.  Oversized leather bag – I like to have the option of throwing a lot of things in my bag as you never know where the day will take me.

3.  Moleskin – You should always give yourself the option to sketch out or write down an idea when it comes to you.

4.  Chapter Baron pant – I live in these.

LAC: Your favorite decade?

DC: 1960’s Eastern Europe

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