Can clothing be spiritual? Can a single brand make you see the light?
As both a consumer and commentator of clothing, we’ve been plagued by a series of nagging questions lately. Why another brand? Why does this brand deserve my attention? And for that matter, why do they deserve my money? These questions can raise doubts in the mind of even the most levelheaded observer, and after a while it becomes tough to discern if you like something simply because it’s new, or if you like something because it’s actually worth your admiration.
That distinction, between something novel and something noteworthy, was made crystal clear to me as we leafed through Pilgrim Surf Supply’s twelve piece debut collection. Admittedly, at first glance, PSS’s offering is not striking, but this was a deliberate decision by their design team. The palate is derived from Pilgrim’s shoreside roots, most notably the sun-burnt oranges and washed out blues that appear on a variety of pieces throughout the collection. On its face, the collection evokes visions of salty beaches and cresting waves, which is a predictable aesthetic for one of New York’s only surf shops, but it’s what lies below these washed out colors that elevate the collection beyond a simple store collection.
Not only is the entire collection produced in either the Garment Center here in New York, or out in Los Angeles, but PSS uses strictly substantial fabrics that are one-hundred percent cotton. Beyond that, every seam is meticulously stitched together, every pocket has a purpose, every line flows seamlessly, and each measurement was determined for an exact reason.
The Pilgrim Surf design team is driven by logic. Their designs aren’t muddled, and while the clothes are certainly appealing on an aesthetic level, it is clear that each detail is intended to be practical above all else. Back buttons should have flaps to protect them from snapping off. Jackets should have scooped hems to protect your ass. Rugby’s should feature a shirt cuff to make the sleeves easier to roll.
If you ask us this is how clothing should be in 2014. And after visiting Pilgrim, we were left with two more questions: If you’re buying an item of clothing for yourself, shouldn’t the substance of that piece be more important than what’s on the surface? And more importantly, why don’t all designers think like this?