nyfw: scott sternberg of band of outsiders on tropicalia, travel, and his new store

Band of Outsiders skipped a presentation this year and decided to focus on the opening of their long-awaited Wooster Street store. The store’s high ceilings and open floor plan are the perfect environment for Band’s cool ease. But as with all things...

by Adam Fletcher
18 November 2014, 12:05pm

Can you tell us a little bit more about your inspirations for this collection? Did you have any specific reference or were you more about trying to conveyi a general mood?
It started with a Louise Dahl-Wolfe photograph, I guess it must have been from Harper's Bazaar in the late 40s. It showed these two girls who were on a Brazilian expat adventure together. And I was just sort of charmed by this photograph, it was fun but had a dark, Tropicalia vibe, you know? They were also like Band girls; I connected with them. So I ended up doing tons of research around the time period and around Brazil and Tropicalia, and I started to find all these album covers of Brazilian jazz records from the late 40s to the early 60s, and the graphics are so rad and fresh. So I tried to combine the the silhouette of this girl in this photograph with these sort of wacky, wavy graphics.

Can you tell us more about fabrication? How did you translate the tropical 40s materially?
We're a print heavy, jacquard heavy, sort of novelty-heavy brand. One of the store employees right over there is wearing a raspberry-print dress from autumn. So there's always sort of a joyful, graphic approach going on and it's really just about trying to find a way to make something chic, easy, and cool instead of it being just about the graphic. I think the way I play with print is by looking back. I'm always sort of looking back into the preppy archives or the annals of history. Trying to take a sort of slightly out there idea, whether it's a floating raspberry Trompe l'Oeil or a sari or Brazilian jazz record graphics, and try to combine that with how was a paisley was done on a day dress in a sort of Saint Laurent seventies way. Just making it easy.

Where's your favorite place to travel?
I'm so local the way I travel. I'll travel to Italy and Japan for work. I like Palm Springs because it's its own time warp. Even if you're there now, you're still kind of in the 60s and Bob Hope is still swinging. It's that kind of vibe and the houses are so rad. It's cool, you feel like you're on the moon because it's all desert and the scale is so spectacular. And I like this beach called Padaro Lane, which is like Montecito in Santa Barbara. It's really nice.

What's been the most challenging and rewarding aspects of opening the space?
From a collection stand point, we've got the goods, so it was kind of exciting to be able to design the space around that. From a space standpoint, I looked forever, so I knew I had this really spectacular open platform to deal with. You're making choices that are much more permanent than a collection. The hardware isn't going to change more quickly, the finish on the floor, and all that stuff. For me, everything has to tie to a concept. It has to tie to a set of codes and whether it makes sense to anyone else but me, it has to have logic that way to work. So the challenge has just been letting some of that go because there's an organic element to some of that space and also enforcing it as much as possible.

I love how the lookbook plays into the store's opening as well. Was that always the idea?
What we planned on was that large beach mural was going to be up to shoot in front of. I thought, "it's a beachy collection, we can shoot it at the beach." And the mural people, who are the same as the sign people, and as you can tell that isn't our real sign, suck! So that was four days late. Everyone was freaking out, so I said "everybody, let's embrace the chaos. Fuck it! We have two cool dogs, we have all these crazy workers that we love, just like go. Bring a big, powerful flash and do it up."

How do you plan on unwinding once Fashion Week is all over?
Sylvie, my PR, was just telling me, "you will unwind," so that's a good question. I think I'll go to Santa Barbara. First of all it's the least cool place in the world, so you're not gonna run into anyone there. But it's just so beautiful.


Text Emily Manning

New York
Band of Outsiders
fashion interview
scott sternberg