Although Esper says his work is fueled by Los Angeles, a melting pot of cultures, he has always found solace within nature havens around the city, such as Kenneth Hahn Park, Runyon Canyon, and Malibu Creek.
“I like to go outside of L.A., up to, like, Joshua Tree and Humboldt County,” says Esper. “California is gorgeous. There’s just so much nature, and it’s more inspiring to me than the city.”
A love of nature and the environment is at the very core of Esper’s brand Come Back as a Flower, a young clothing line that he looks to build as America’s first environmentally sustainable luxury house. Esper tells Complex that, as a brand, Come Back as a Flower aims to promote sustainability and Black spiritualism.
The 25-year-old designer says he began experimenting with textiles after dropping out of art school and joining a spiritual commune in Northern California. While Come Back as a Flower is barely a year old, Esper’s hand-tie-dyed recycled cotton T-shirts quickly caught the attention of stylists like Matthew Henson, who copped six for ASAP Rocky.
Aside from using recycled cotton tees, the brand also promotes sustainability by sourcing vintage tees to tie-dye. Come Back as a Flower’s tie-dye pieces, which have been seen on celebrities such as Big Sean, Aleali May, and Duendita, will be available at ComplexCon Long Beach. Esper plans on selling long-sleeve T-shirts and hoodies featuring new graphics and dyes that will range from $150 to $500 and up. The brand’s unique color selection and approach to dying garments make each shirt a unique and worthy buy.
“I went to ComplexCon in 2017 and said, ‘Damn, I want to be here one day.’ So it's really dope to be a part of it now,” says Esper, who is building a nature-inspired booth for the show. He says the brand is currently experimenting with fabrics and plans to bring its sustainable ethos to cut-and-sew next year.
“Our booth is going to be more focused on the experience rather than the product. This brand itself has a really deep narrative, and ComplexCon is going to be one of the first places where we get to tell a bit more about our story” —Lei Takanashi