On the afternoon that I arrive to interview Scott Sternberg at the Band of Outsiders New York offices, the racks at the back of the showroom are almost entirely empty. Last season has already been shipped off and the next collection is yet to take its place, and this transitional state speaks well to the spirit of BoO. In the ten years since he founded Band, Sternberg has never stopped moving and reshaping his L.A. based label. Along the way, he has racked up countless accolades, started a women’s business that’s equally as robust, married modern menswear with movie stars, and continuously redefined what prep means in this day and age. As Band embarks on their second decade, Sternberg has his foot squarely on the gas as evidenced by the soon-to-open New York store, which will be their first flagship here in the states. We sat down with Sternberg to discuss the plans for this store, the meaning of prep, the L.A., New York divide, Starbucks, and even economics.
ACL: This January marked ten years of Band of Outsiders, what has changed in that time? Both from your personal viewpoint as well as how the brand is now formulated?
Scott Sternberg: Essentially it’s the same through-line since the idea of Band of Outsiders, even before it was called Band of Outsiders came up. This idea of being the future of American prep, this sort of modern American preppy uniform and system of dressing. I think what’s different is that I make women’s clothes and through the process of doing that and learning how to do that, which was self taught, I became more interested in different ways of pushing things a little further, beyond just making a great suit, a great tie, and a great shirt. And that’s all within a pretty strict bubble of wearability still. Whether that’s graphics, fabric development, certain construction tricks, any of that stuff, over the years I’ve just gotten more playful and inventive with the clothes, but essentially it’s the same system of dressing. Hopefully I’m getting better at what I’m doing. *laughs*
Through the years we also started making products as objects to also styling those in the looks and then creating a narrative out of what those looks are, for a fashion show, for a look book, for a Polaroid campaign. So there’s this whole layer of imagery that sits on top of the product that again, same message, same thing: prep, American, humor, levity, all that stuff. So yea, boring old me, same old thing.