Asked & Answered | Aaron Levine of Rogues Gallery

I have been excited to see Aaron Levin’s interpretation of the heavily Maine inspired Rogues Gallery ever since he landed there as design director — coming from the much loved, but doomed Hickey. I’m happy to report that his first collection of masculine and wearable clothes does not disappoint. I sat down with Mr. Levine for a quick question and answer session to discuss the new fall collection, beards, inspiration and the new Rogues tailored goods.

Hmmm that model looks familiar...

ACL: How has the transition been, from Hickey to Rogues Gallery?

Aaron Levine: The initial transition is always somewhat difficult. Figuring our differences in working methods, defining expectations from factories…you know, fun logistic stuff.  Once the ball starts rolling and everyone has met face to face, everyone feels a certain level of responsibility to each other. After the initial season, the ship starts sailing much more smoothly.

Also, Hickey was, at the end of the day, a very corporate environment. This is totally different — this is a team of incredibly talented and passionate people who are doing something awesome.  I think everyone has a very real feeling of ownership in this.

ACL: What is the inspiration behind the AW10 collection?

AL: It comes from all over the place, there are several aspects.

I had to find a common ground between where I come from and what Rogues is.  I’m from Virginia, so visually, the common ground came in the whole north woods Maine thing.  I love the outdoors…..bada bada bada.

The inspiration also comes from real things.  We wanted to make it wearable. we wanted to raise the quality and focus on the details.  It also comes from keeping the product something that we could proudly wear, you know?  I like to make masculine clothing that isn’t precious.

ACL: This is the first time I have noticed specific stories in the line — for example the upland story, or the tailored story. Was that a conscious decision or something that happened naturally?

AL: Sort of both.  We wanted to add a bit of sophistication to the line.  When I was working on some of these pieces in the collection, some started drifting towards one direction and some the other… and once the focus and the product happened naturally, we kind of massaged it consciously for it to end up a certain way.

ACL: You have included a flight of tailored goods in the collection. Is this the first time that Rogues Gallery has offered tailored clothing? What call you tell us about it? Where is it made, how does it fit?

AL: I believe this is the first time we have offered a true tailored component.  Again, we wanted to keep it super masculine.  We shaped the silhouette enough to make it relevant, but not so much as to make it fashiony. I love this aspect…it’s like sculpture.  A well made tailored garment is super satisfying to wear.

For the tailored clothes we worked with Southwick. My old head of manufacturing at Hickey ended up at Southwick, so I called him and asked if this was something he would be interested in and as it turns out he was so into it.

It’s so much fun to sit down with people who are equally as excited and passionate about product — talking about lowest common denominators. It is like food, you know?  You might not be able to speak the same language, but when you’re both eating a delicious steak you can look at the guy across the table, point to that steak with your knife while you’re eating a bite, smile, take a slug of beer and its all good.

Looking at a gorgeous, natty English fabric that’s been made into a beautiful sport coat or suit with someone is the same thing. Awesome is awesome.  Smiles abound when beautiful stuff is made. What was really great was the fact that Southwick was nice enough to make us our own silhouette, a beautiful natural shoulder, floating canvas chest piece, horn buttons…it’s just really nice.

ACL: The suiting is really nice, how soon until we can get our hands on it?

AL: Fall 2010. So everything will be in stores Julyish.

ACL: Last question, is having a beard a condition of employment at Rogues?

AL: Man, just being an honest individual with personal integrity is a condition of employment at Rogues.  It is such an amazing group of people. I was really intimidated by them. People just do what they have to do to get the job done. It is just an honor to be here, honestly. With regards to the beard, I just shaved mine off in a fit of spontaneity, the clippers came out and in three swipes it was gone. You just have to do it every now and then. It’s coming back now though.

Comments on “Asked & Answered | Aaron Levine of Rogues Gallery

    DavidHon March 8, 2010 @ 1:57 PM:

    This is such a handsome collection — the perfect intersection of the strengths of Hickey and Rogues Gallery.

    Makagaon March 8, 2010 @ 2:04 PM:

    Can someone shed some light onto the Hickey brand? Does it still exist? I just learned about it a few months ago and love the cut of their jackets. I have been trying to locate a blue Hickey sportscoat, but to no avail. Are they shuttering production? or, just changing direction?

    Am excited for the Rogues Gallery work, too! Looking forward to seeing it in person.


    Jeremyon March 8, 2010 @ 2:09 PM:

    looks fantastic! so glad he’s doing rogues now. i will always miss hickey :(

    doaneon March 8, 2010 @ 2:45 PM:

    The contrast in the pic with the slate blue coat and orange tote is lights out.

    Luon March 8, 2010 @ 2:51 PM:

    Great interview, Michael.

    Aaron is the perfect choice to lead RG, and his vision for a sensible, tailored masculinity to men’s clothing is what I seek. As he said in a separate interview, “Nothing’s precious, just wear it till there’s holes in it.”

    REDDon March 8, 2010 @ 2:52 PM:

    I’m a big fan of Rogue’s flannels and the sweaters featured above. Can’t wait to try some of these on.

    Luon March 8, 2010 @ 2:55 PM:

    BTW RG fans, the brand collaborated with JCrew, and is now offering limited designs in their stores.

    L.A.Son March 8, 2010 @ 2:58 PM:

    Mr. Levine is a hero of mine – Dude’s got serious skills. Absolutely fantastic interview. Hickey RIP.

    joeon March 8, 2010 @ 5:36 PM:

    big whatever.

    Michael Williamson March 8, 2010 @ 5:37 PM:

    Well said Joe, well said.

    Chris Con March 8, 2010 @ 5:41 PM:

    Aaron is the fucking coolest! Wish him all the best at Rogues.

    Laurenon March 8, 2010 @ 6:19 PM:

    Who is the model???

    MR.DIXONon March 8, 2010 @ 6:22 PM:

    very jcrew………yeah thats it..a little boring but classic.

    Michael Williamson March 8, 2010 @ 8:18 PM:

    The model is Sean Sullivan of The Impossible Cool fame.

    Humberton March 8, 2010 @ 8:21 PM:

    So, just to be clear . . . all the pics show the Fall ’10 line? I assume so, because of the outerwear and sweaters. But it would be great to get an early taste of the chinos and the chambray and gingham shirts.

    Johnon March 8, 2010 @ 8:32 PM:

    Prices for Fall are waayyyy to high ! Love the brand but the fits have been off since 2006. Stuff is made in India….Portugal…..China. All three are different fits. It’s not consistent, that’s the real issue here. But I still love the brand. Just get the fits right ! Please !

    Don Gusson March 8, 2010 @ 9:00 PM:

    i was going to ask about country of origin.
    is john’s list correct, michael?

    i can’t wear Rogues anyway, being an american with very broad shoulders.
    but it matters to me where the stuff is made, either way.

    you’ve never answer any of my questions, but i’ll keep on asking.

    fine interview, brother. keep it up.

    theWild&Freeon March 8, 2010 @ 9:35 PM:

    @don guss,
    John is correct, its all made overseas. Although the hand printed shirts are screened in portland.

    lumiereon March 8, 2010 @ 10:49 PM:

    I’m a little confused. Rogues Gallery is on “The American List”. As such shouldn’t it be manufacturing their product in America? If not, shouldn’t it be taken off the list, or at least qualified with which is made where?

    Michael Williamson March 8, 2010 @ 11:04 PM:

    Lumiere — question: how closely did you look at TAL? I’m going to take a guess and say — not very closely.

    Don Guss — I’m not totally sure of every country that manufactures goods for Rogues Gallery, but John is correct in that a good portion are made overseas. Some goods, including those suits, shoes, bags, tee shirts and some other items are made in the U.S.

    Andrewon March 9, 2010 @ 12:53 AM:

    @John: I really encourage you to give their garments another look come the Fall. Aaron was brought on board to really give the collection the attention it deserves, and developing a proper and consistent fit was very high on his list. This will be the first season that he was fully responsible for, and in my mind, it’s a brand new collection while remarkably staying true to the brand’s overall aesthetic and story. That’s not an easy feat to achieve.

    Michael Williamson March 9, 2010 @ 1:02 AM:

    Hey John — it seems like you work for a retail store. Why don’t you tell us what that would be.

    robon March 9, 2010 @ 11:32 AM:

    perhaps it’s just me but i would be beyond interested to know about the demise? of Hickey. Bad management? design? price point? etc. I feel too often the business side of fashion is never discussed. But without it how is anyone to make money?

    sorry for the thread jack.

    Michael Williamson March 9, 2010 @ 11:39 AM:

    Rob — the short answer has to do with the HMX Ch. 11 filling. Hickey just crumbled under the pressure of that situation and all of the talented people involved left for greener pastures.

    Darianon March 9, 2010 @ 12:08 PM:

    Mr. Williams,

    Thank you for providing us with another great interview Sir.
    Oh, and big thank you, for never tolerating the Bull Shit.


    mon March 9, 2010 @ 4:28 PM:

    I’d strangle a litter of orphaned baby owls for that 2 button sport coat. Great interview, thanks for the post. -m

    Johnon March 9, 2010 @ 11:39 PM:

    @Andrew…I may just do that, because something makes me come back every season…

    @Micheal… I meant no harm…not trying to take away anything from RG. I’m simply voicing my opinion and experience. I’m sure you can appreciate a garment with a superior construction that just fits like it’s was cut for you and doesn’t cost a crazy amount. That’s my desire for RG. They should have Gitman produce shirts for them!

    hearblackon March 11, 2010 @ 2:06 AM:

    this is great.
    thanks for sharing!

    Fernandoon March 11, 2010 @ 9:04 PM:

    I am so happy to see Aaron Levine getting the recognition he deserves. He was the reason Hickey was so successful. He has an amazing taste level, understands what a guy needs
    from sportswear to a tailored suit and makes it look inviting and easy to wear.

    I know Rogues is very lucky to have him and he will take RG to the next level. It is what the brand needed. Be patient… just wait and see how a new Creative Director works and develops a collection. I can’t wait to see Spring!! Great Job Aaron and team!!!!

    tarvason March 12, 2010 @ 6:37 PM:

    Hats off to Levine, great work! RG’s in for a tidy boost…

    hugesunglasseson March 13, 2010 @ 12:16 PM:

    Well done. The rare brand that continues to grow and surprise while maintaining artistic integrity. Can’t wait to see where they are in ten years.

    andyon March 21, 2010 @ 10:49 AM:

    Every decade of the 20th C. brought back askew with tattoos.

    alexon March 24, 2010 @ 2:00 PM:

    The guy has talent but he blows with the winds. Last year his clothes were much darker (in color) and earthier and less ‘styled.’
    Now they have a constant nautical theme. Yeah we get it guy, you live in Maine! I’d cut way back on the $88 Sag Harbor tees and the shawl collared sweaters which are not testaments to originality.
    And no more short sleeve madras shirts either. We’re not all aged 17.

    Michael Williamson March 24, 2010 @ 2:03 PM:


    Respectfully, you have no idea what you are talking about.

    alexon March 26, 2010 @ 8:21 PM:

    Dear Michael,
    Thanks for your respectful comment. But you don’t really explain yourself. Say what you will in the designer’s defense, but don’t just say I don’t know what I’m talking about. Perhaps you didn’t look at his pricey tees and the plaid s/s shirts? Similar ones exist at J Crew and many, many other stores.

    Michael Williamson March 26, 2010 @ 8:35 PM:

    Alex — do you realize that this is the first collection Aaron Levine has designed for Rogues? That means he didn’t design last year’s collection. You might also be interested to know that Aaron doesn’t live in Maine. Which is why your comment makes you look sort of, you know, uninformed.

Comments are closed.