It’s a perfect fit, you’ve been working with artists like Danny Brown, and no one else in menswear has really embraced hip-hop in their work as publicly as you have, is there a reason for that? Do you like rap or just like these rappers?
Mark: It’s funny because I started listening to Grandmaster Flash, The Clash, Young M.C., Afrika Bambaataa… and then I missed out on hip-hop for a long time.
Like the ‘90s?
Mark: The ‘90s and more, so there’s very little that I knew.
What brought you back into the hip-hop world?
Mark: Honestly, Jay-Z, I love him as a guy, as a person, businessman or whatever, but I only knew one of his songs, that’s it. Only one: 99 Problems.
The U.S. is very important for us. We try to do everything American-made.
To tell you the truth, I thought Kanye was a dick. My younger brother, who’s 10 years younger, who’s very narrow-minded about his music — he likes English Brit-Pop or whatever, he tells me he liked Kanye. I was like “what the fuck are you talking about?!”
And then I listened to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and I was like “what the fuck?! This is fucking amazing!” And then it just went from there.
How do you play off the creative energy between you two?
Pharrell: He’s my hero! Not only is he very talented, but he cracks me up. He’s the funniest guy. I could have grown up with him. He could have been my best friend as a kid because we both have those southern sensibilities. The shit you just wouldn’t understand unless you were from the south.
I couldn’t believe that somebody from the south had his taste and tone. Especially when it came to traditional English textiles that he’d use. His usage of tweed, herringbone, and gingham print — all the things that I love — and how he mixes it and flips it, it’s ingenious. So I’m happy. And he doesn’t have a New York accent, it’s all the real shit, but he lives here, and he’s lived here for the longest time. He’s rare. Super rare.
What else can we expect from you two in the future?
Pharrell: Those. [Points to a pair of camouflage shoes McNairy is wearing]. But I’ll have them first.
Mark: We got saddle shoes coming. Navy saddle shoes with gold saddles.
Pharrell: Unbelievable shit. He’s the shit!
What is the one dream item you guys would make together if possible?
Mark: The dream item? I think this was the first one. [Points to Pharell’s varsity jacket] And this happened by mistake. We’d already done two varsity jackets with Golden Bear, but they weren’t delivering. We weren’t gonna get them, so I was like “fuck this!” We already had the fabric, so I went and made a pattern from another BBC varsity jacket, and had this in mind to do it. And I was like “fuck it, let’s put gold sleeves on it.”
The varsity you have is one of one, can you tell us about it?
Pharrell: I had to establish the fact that I was the king bee.
How many bee patches do you have on there?
I think it’s rad that you guys use Crescent Down Works for the puffy jackets and vests, and Golden Bear for the varsity jackets. How important is it for you to have U.S.-made goods?
Pharrell: The U.S. is very important for us. We try to do everything American-made.
Mark: Well for me, that’s all I know. I’ve always made clothing in New York and the United States. I don’t know how to do tech packs and CADs, know what I mean? I’m very hands-on, so I work with my patternmaker in the factory, which is a completely different process from making clothes overseas, when you’re not in the factory.