One of the most arresting collections show at last month’s Project show in Las Vegas came from Los Angeles-based designer Lewis Scott. And it’s no wonder: Scott is not just interested in making fashion, but in spreading a message of “collective consciousness,” a strong belief in the importance of “humanism” and a true desire to maintain the environment and create sustainable clothing. His men’s line, which ranges from $50 to $600, is currently available at DFBK in Brooklyn and Samari Works in Japan, while Jungmaven will be stocking some of his womenswear this summer on its online boutique.
Not all of Scott’s now-lofty ideals were on his mind, however, when he first became interested in fashion. “I first started screen printing in college and instead of screen printing on blanks I wanted to screen print on cut and sewn. That was a starting place for me; it completely blew open the door to the endless possibilities of making a garment,” he says. “But looking back, I would say my first interest in men’s fashion for me was really in high school when I first picked up a book on the art of body language. The idea of how one presents themselves and how that can help define who they are to the world resonated with me. In one sense it’s superficial, and in another sense, it’s part of the social dynamics of daily life.”
Like most designers, Scott began his career on one of the lower rungs of the fashion ladder. “I worked in a tailoring shop on Beverly Boulevard in LA. I got to see how the finer made items were put together by taking them apart. I got to see all that was hidden on the inside of garments, and that really opened my mind up to the endless possibilities. After that, I attended Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC) and at the same time tried my hand out with a collective streetwear company that my friends and I started, called Real Ideal, that I am no longer associated with.”
His newest collection blends streetwear with high fashion. “It focuses on hand-screened prints that leave each garment with a unique, artisanal feel. We also pay a lot of attention to our fabric choices. A majority of our knits and wovens are made from organic cotton and hemp, an ancient fiber that was buried and mislabeled during the beginning years of the ‘War on Drugs’. We also use upcycled denim in some pieces. We feel that a sustainable standard is necessary for the new fashion wave and we feel that we can be a stylish drop in that wave. Environmental degradation is a universally conversed about topic among my generation.”
Asked about his overall fashion philosophy, Scott confesses: “I think anyone in the fashion industry is here to help, inspire. connect and communicate. Right now. authenticity is all that there is to a brand identity. We all can smell someone just following trends and not pushing them.” he notes. “As fashion designers, we have so many tools at our disposal; color, silhouette, structure, trend, graphics. hardware, marketing, photography, So the goal is to get down the emotion driving the story with a combination of any of these tools with purity. While I feel my ‘fashion philosophy’ speaks to a certain demographic, which I consider an aware, conscious consumer, I also believe that anyone that wants to consume can consume.”