No really, that’s the name of the brand and the goods are far from the worst I have seen. In fact, the oxfords look like the perfect shirt. I absolutely live in oxford cloth, so that isn’t something I throw around lightly. The Wurst story is far from conventional in terms of how most clothing lines are launched, but that is something that intrigued me. Not to mention the fact that the goods are made domestically, so I approached Wurst with an open mind and took a few minutes to catch up with the brand’s founder Roy Dank (ed note: amazing name sir!) about the debut S/S10 collection. Read our Q&A after the jump.
ACL: How did this all get started? You wanted to start a clothing line after you got your record label going? I’m confused, please explain.
Roy Dank: Wurst kicked off at the tail end of 2006 as a limited edition, vinyl-only 12″ record label. I released a series of Wurst Edits, all of which were radical reworkings of obscure disco and punk funk gems from the early 80s, with the odd Chicago house jam thrown in for good measure. I did a couple of records, and also reeled in my friends from around town, including Runaway (now on DFA), Lee Douglas (of Rong and now TBD fame – with Justin V formerly of !!!), and Eamon Harkin (who does the ace Sunday Best party at the Brooklyn Yard). While I initially started putting these records out for fun, they quickly got attention – and club play – from folks like Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and 2 Many DJs, amongst others. Needless to say, I was simultaneously shocked and stoked at the support my tiny little label got, and figured I must be onto something. My friends and I also did a slew of parties under the Wurst banner, including The Wurst Boat Party series, which we just held the third annual edition this past July 1st.
DFA recording artist Jacques Renault in the Wurst S/S10 range.
ACL: So how did the menswear thing come about?
RD: Last summer I started slowly but surely developing the first Wurst menswear collection. I was inspired by the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail on vintage YSL and Dior; the irreverent sense of humor of Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania line; the definitively downtown antics of Glenn O’Brien’s TV Party; the respite from the city weekends in upstate New York offered; and – much like the record label – the heritage of classic American manufacturing. (We proudly press our records in Dallas!)
ACL: When did you guys start working on Wurst? And where is everything made?
RD: It wasn’t until a few months ago, however, that Wurst really started coming together. I had hit a wall sourcing the right fabrics for the wovens, the right yarn for our knits, and the right production facilities. I wanted the best materials, impeccable construction, and to make everything right here in New York, if possible. The goal was to produce a tightly edited selection of classic garments, boasting premium European materials, but with a distinctly Americana look. A friend of mine and former Bergdorf buyer happened to be out of work, and together we re-tooled the entire collection, working closely with the pattern makers at a few amazing manufacturing facilities in and around the city. And so the inaugural Wurst collection came together. We’re offering long- and half-sleeve wovens in a bevy of different, high thread-count shirting fabrics, all sourced from Italian and Spanish mills. To complement the wovens, we’ve got a luxurious, lightweight v-neck sweater, knitted from Italian merino and cotton yarns, perfect for those cooler Spring and Summer nights.
Tying everything together is a distinct visual identity which I’ve developed with my design partners, Josh Clancy and Travis Stearns. I had the pleasure of meeting these two fine gents in Minneapolis last year, when I was in town for a DJ gig at First Avenue (the club from Purple Rain!). We hit it off immediately, I loved their respective work, they loved the label, and I needed help taking it to the proverbial next level. It really was one of those magical moments. At this point, I had already commissioned the aforementioned Lee Douglas aka the incredibly talented illustrator and designer Doug Lee for the Wurst logo, so we had a pretty amazing design foundation to start with. Josh, Trav and I subsequently spent the next few months hashing out ideas via email and video chat, developing the new look and feel for Wurst – including the nascent menswear line and the new iteration of the record label, The Wurst Music Co. Much like the original Wurst Edits series, the approach to both the clothing and the music is a curatorial endeavor, and the design as well as the pieces and releases themselves reflect this attention to detail, as well as this American sense of irreverence. Who else would spend so much time and effort in 2009 creating a brand whose products consist of high-end menswear and vinyl records, of all things? The Wurst Has Yet To Come…
Honestly, stranger things have happened for a clothing line to start. It will be interesting to see how things progress and what happens with Wurst. Prices, while not completely solidified, are expected to be in the Band of Outsiders range with the line hitting stores next spring. -ACL