When one thinks about Telfar, there are a number of words that invariably come to mind: fluidity, inclusivity, and, perhaps most importantly, accessibility. The norm-defying American brand highlighted its commitment to the latter on Thursday with its Paris Fashion Week Men's party hosted at the Gap. Yes, the Gap, as in the shopping mall staple known for its khakis and crewnecks.
The event was hosted in celebration of the brands' forthcoming collaboration, which has been in the works for about a year.
"Gap is an iconic American brand with a rich history rooted in embracing diversity and promoting creativity and innovation, and the Telfar brand is built on these same principles," said, John Caruso, Gap’s Vice President of Adult Design. "From the moment we began talking with Telfar about the collaboration, we were captivated by his vision and the parallels between the brands, and we are excited to unveil a partnership built on these shared values. We’re also excited to have a presence at Paris Fashion Week Men’s for the first time in the brand’s history."
Complex spoke to Telfar Clemens, the founder/designer of Telfar, about his decision to partner with the Gap as well as his plans for 2020. Though he remained relatively tight-lipped about what's in store, Clemens did confirm his team had some "tricks up our sleeves," specifically new iterations of his popular Shopping Bag, aka the Bushwick Birkin.
You can read our Q&A with the designer below.
Why did you want to partner with Gap?
It’s really cool that we are getting recognition in European fashion and that famous people want to wear our stuff — but I think when I imagine ‘success’ or my ideal customer, I just picture driving down Broadway and seeing a granny and a young person and a janitor all wearing the same thing—to be part of everyday life like that. GAP lets us do that and is about that.
What will the collection include? What was your approach to the collection?
It’s still in progress. Obviously there are some things we know we are going to do but for now we have to leave you guessing.
You've collaborated with brands for a while now. How have these partnerships/how you forge them, changed over the years as you've learned more?
A lot of people do these things for the wrong reasons. There has been a trend around ‘inclusion’ in particular that I think can be quite transactional or actually exploitative. But it can also be really cool. White Castle, for example, is like family at this point.
Congrats on showing at Pitti. Where do you see Telfar going? What's the goal for the brand for 2020?
If I told you now what would be the point?
Do you like the term Bushwick Birkin?
I’m OK with it, but it’s not the whole story. I heard someone say Black Birkin.
I saw a satin version of the Telfar shopping bag. What can we expect from the bag/how it will iterate.
We are introducing silver, gold and bronze for FW2020. We have tricks up our sleeves.