BRAND: Caulfield Preparatory
FOUNDED BY: Vincent Flumiani
HOME BASE: Los Angeles
WHY WE CO SIGN: We believe clothing, like all art, should tell a story. Every piece in a line should speak to one another on some level to establish some sort of overall message. Former Quicksilver graphic designer, Vincent Flumiani wholeheartedly agrees as his new clothing label Caulfield Preparatory is inspired by J.D. Salinger's classic "Catcher in the Rye". More specifically, the books protagonist Holden Caufield.
Launching this fall with their first collection, Caulfield Preparatory is, if you couldn't tell by the name, a brand that focuses mostly on the preppy aesthetic—but with a downtown twist, kinda like '03 Kanye mixed with '09 Kanye. The collection will consist of woven shirts, graphic tee's, knit sweaters/thermals, scarves, beanies and more. But Flumiani knows that just because you base a brand on a character doesn't give it a story. He intends the brand to be akin to a novel with every collection being another chapter. And thanks to his background in skate and surf designing, Caulfield Preparatory will feature fabrics that are super comfortable to wear.
See below for our interview with designer Vincent Flumiani, and pics from the Fall 2009 Collection...
Complex: How do the themes from "Catcher in Rye" capture the inspiration and overall look and feel of your designs?
Vincent Flumiani: The concept of Caulfield Preparatory is a collection that is at its foundation and core created on and based in story—to attack the creation of each collection as a storyteller first, then the designer second. Often times as a designer when creating it's easy to get caught up in "themes for the next season" or what is the "next trend", or the "new color forecasts" etc. but then you find yourself all screwed up because you begin, by default, to make decisions based on filters that may not be true to you or your concept, but dictated by "the man" behind the curtain and before you know it you have created something that does not make sense and does not signify.
When I first began creating Caulfield Preparatory the story was first. I set out to dress a character first, someone I would follow, not a concept or trend. Caulfield Preparatory is a coming of age kind of novel about a boy/man that we all would walk with. I began by developing a main character (F.N. Sinclair) around whom everything would revolve around and with whom my audience, men, would embrace and women would fall in love with. A protagonist we could all relate to at some level, be inspired by and empathize with. A character that was all things to all men, our hero and enemy, courageous and weak, brilliant and foolish, famous and notorious, athletic and intellectual, reverent and rebellious, curious and innocent. The Catcher in the Rye was one of many literary inspirations personally for me that was up to the task. This is for many reasons but mainly because of several parallels psychological, moral and social between Holden and myself and I believe many others who have reason to embark upon his or her own journey and make their mark.
Complex: What is the difference between designing for the surf industry and Caulfield Preparatory?
Vincent Flumiani: Designing for the surf industry was an incredible and priceless experience of which I learned many skills from that my education could never give me. There is never, really, never a week that goes by where I am not using something I learned from my days in the surf world. However, when designing for someone else whether it be the surf industry or couture you are bound by someone else's concept or genre and with that comes rules and lines in the sand that cannot be crossed. The very backbone of Caulfield Preparatory speaks against this. We will not and cannot be put in a box and although we have a foundation Caulfield Preparatory will be a full novel that details F.N. Sinclair's odyssey from boy to man and we intend to dress each and every specific stage of that journey.
What are your most popular items?
Fashion Knits (sweaters)
Woven's (3/4 Woven, Long Sleeve Woven)
Knits (Jersey Knits and Basics)
Complex: What are your retail plans for the future?
Vincent Flumiani: To open two flagship stores in Los Angeles and New York City.
Complex: Any anticipated collaborations?
Vincent Flumiani: Anticipated collaborations/dream would be Wes Anderson to direct Caulfield Preparatory feature film but seriously, there is nothing in dry cement. However, without giving away to much I leave you with these two words "women collection." O.K. I said too much.
Complex: What do you foresee in menswear in five years?
Vincent Flumiani: Just yesterday a designer I admire told me, "I love your style Vincent, every time I see you, you're different and I try to place you in one category and then the next time I see you, you're in another. Just yesterday you looked like a Freddie Mercury and today you look like a Jay Gatsby"
A man's style starts in the morning when he wakes up and ends at night when he lays his head on the pillow. Every morning needs to be a new clean blank canvas for a man. You don't have to be who you were yesterday. You should ask yourself, who do you want to be today? What do you want to reveal about yourself and what do you want to hide and more specifically how do you feel.
True individuality comes through diversity and that I believe is the future of menswear. But who am I?