SINCE: 2002 (retail), 2007 (apparel)
FOUNDED BY: Rhandy Tambio, Todd Shimabuku, Ryan Arakaki and Jun Jo
HOME BASE: Hawaii
WHY WE CO-SIGN: As of late, the fashion world seems to be run by Japanese innovation blended with classic American style. The East-meets-West fusion sounds terrific on paper, but it's pretty difficult to pull off in an authentic way, which is why we are such proponents of Hawaii's own In4mation. Founded at the halfway point between the U.S and Japan, it's only natural that they bring out the best of both styles. In4mation is known for high level collaborations with Vans (have you seen them in the Oct. issue of Complex? Craze!), Stüssy, etnies, DC, DVS, Gravis, G-Shock, Aipa Surfboards, and recently this dope Crooks joint. The In4mant crew definitely has collabos down to a science.
The brand started as a retail store focused on the convergence of streetwear and the skate scene, and continues to drive home its roots. Check out the Vans Chukka Low dropping this month—so sick! And then there was the Half Cab from a little while back. In4mation has managed to tread the line between the fashion, skate, and surf scenes without losing sight of its background, and that's exactly why we co-sign. Its team still reps hard, as seen by the lookbook (after the jump), so you know you're not copping from some wannabe Skateboard P crew.
Keep reading for our interview with In4mation's cut-and-sew designer Elska Sandor, and her five winter essentials when she can't be chilling in Hawaii. Our picks from the winter '09 lookbook are also after the jump...
Elska Sandor's Five Winter Essentials
1. The In4mation Frobisher shirt jacket (pictured in the third image)
2. Dr. Hunter's Hand Creme
Available at Caswell-Massey, $12
or Neutrogena Norwegian formula Hand-Cream
Available at Drugstore, $5
3. L.L. Bean Duck Boots (Also featured as a Buy It Now, and in our 15 Best Boots for Fall 2009 Post)
Available at L.L. Bean, $94
4. Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve Bourbon
Available at La Bodega, $90
5. Vertra Sunscreen
Available at Vertra, $28
Complex: Describe your favorite piece in the collection.
Elska Sandor: The Frobisher wool blend quilted shirt jacket has a simple silhouette with some subtle detailing, like the three different sized patch pockets (along with essential off-seam hand0warmer pockets). Also, folding the sleeve cuffs up exposes the hidden mermaid print, which was inspired by sailors customizing their uniforms to be able to show off some personal flair when onshore and boozing.
Complex: What was the first designer item you bought or wore?
Elska: I have four older brothers, so apart from rather crappy hand-me-downs, I did inherit a few pretty awesome punk and mod pieces by the time I was a teenager. My first memory of designer greatness was receiving my eldest brother's coveted Vivianne Westwood jacket—a classic black wool tux-tailed longcoat with the requisite Westwood red tartan trim. A-mazing.
Complex: Any anticipated collaborations in the near future?
Elska: Yes indeedy, but as-per-usual they're all quite hush-hush.
Complex: What can we expect in the Spring collection?
Elska: SP10 has a nice balance of custom patterned wovens and textured knits. There's a crispness to the fabrics and colors that make you extra happy that winter is over, just so that you can wear light layers again. We also expanded the outerwear program with a range of seasonal weights and treated fabrics for those rainy days.
WHERE TO FIND IT: In4mation, Karmaloop, Premier, GreyOne, Boundless, Wealthy Ho$tage, and Sojones