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Architecture In Fashion And The Emergence of Reclusionism

RECLUSIONISM is an up and coming brand out of Houston that’s bringing us garments from a distant future. We spoke with the founder Darryl about how his background in architecture has influenced the way he approaches his fashion label and how he designed the futuristic pieces featured in his newest collection, “Emergence”. Darryl also talked about his favorite pieces on the collection, where his inspiration comes from, and the powerful opportunity we all have to create the life we want to live.

Where are you from?

Darryl: I’m originally from Louisiana but I’m currently living in Houston.

How long have you been in Houston?

Darryl: I’ve been in Houston since 2009. I’m originally from Franklin which is a really small town in Louisiana. I moved to Houston in 2009 a couple days before my 14th birthday. I took up architecture early on and then I circulated from there.

What about architecture appeals to you?

Darryl: Ever since I was young I really liked looking at buildings. For me it was looking at medical buildings since my mom’s a lab scientist. I was always at her offices and I’d always look at the architecture of her buildings and the marble floors which always appealed to me. I like to draw a lot too so I figured I could draw what I see. I drew a lot of architure. I started taking architecture classes inside and outside of school. I have two certifications in architecture so I could be an architect tomorrow if I wanted to. But I stopped because it really wasn’t something I could see myself doing forever. I’ve really liked clothes ever since I was young so I decided to incorporate architecture into that.

When did you start Reclusionism?

Darryl: Reclusionism started on my birthday last year which was May 28th. It became a year old a couple days ago. It kind of started in late 2017 but it wasn’t public then. I had another fashion project going on that was public which was a learning experience for me. Over the course of 12 months I've dropped four collections that were a mixture of pieces that were supposed to drop before Reclusionism.

What made you want to start a clothing brand?

Darryl: Honestly I don't really look at Reclusionism as a clothing brand. I look at it as a fashion label. Everyone’s starting clothing brands now, but you have to separate a clothing brand from a fashion label. A clothing brand is something you can do to make money but a fashion label is here to stay. I don’t make my clothes for money, I could care less if my clothes sell or not. I’ve been into fashion since I was 5 or 6 and I’ve always dressed myself since I was young. I would go into mom's closet, pull pieces off her hanger and cut them up and add it to a piece of my own clothing. She got mad but it was cool to see, I was always into it. I would go to school to show off my outfit and leave by the middle of the day once everybody had seen it. I come from a really religious family so I’d always be mixing church clothes with casual clothes and occasionally I'd even mix parts of costumes in as well.

What made you gravitate toward fashion?

Darryl: When I was young living in Louisiana and going to public school they made us wear uniforms like it was a private school. At my school you'd have to wear khaki or blue pants and a white, blue or red shirt. I feel like people should be able to wear what they want to wear and express themselves through their clothes. I’m going to school right now for fashion design and getting a bachelor's degree but my outfit always reflects how I feel on a daily basis. People dress for the weather, but if I personally want to wear a puffer coat I will even if it’s 100 degrees. You should be able to wear what you want to wear.

Talk about your curation process.

Darryl: My curation process starts with brainstorming ideas. I’ll catch the biggest ideas when I'm doing something that doesn’t have to do with fashion. If I have five ideas and only two work, I'll take the other three and rework them together to try to make something that works as well. Once that’s done I start to source materials and decide what colors will be great for the ideas. Once that’s done it’s about putting it all together. My style of putting things together is incorporating architecture and engineering into my ideas. I do utility garments, for example pants that you can buckle together and adjust the strap. It's up to the consumer how they want to have it function.

Talk about your debut “EMERGENCE” collection.

Darryl: It was something I've been preparing for over the last 12 months while dropping the collections I had set already. I named it Emergence since this is the real coming out of the brand. Those past collections were just archived designs that were set to drop but didn’t. About 60% of the pieces have a story behind them, specifically the T-shirts. I’ll be adding new pieces to the collection as well up until September 1st. The whole story of the collection is about something that was thrown away and has been brought back to life. That’s what happened with Reclusionism. I threw it away, but then brought it back. I want people to understand this is a big archived project. The quality is through the roof. I’m putting more care into the label itself, making sure everything is smooth instead of rushing things out.

It’s already released correct?

Darryl: Yes it released on our one year anniversary.

I know you had a number of capsules you released before, but what made you think it was time for a full collection?

Daryll: The capsules were ideas that were made before Reclusionsim. I didn't have a platform to publicize those pieces at the time. Just recently I cleared the full Reclusionism file which had something like 3,200 ideas. Some of those pieces were from as far back as 4 years ago. Everything that drops after the Reclusionism collection is all new.

What was the inspiration behind the reflective puffer?

Darryl: I was never going to do one until a lot of my supporters started asking for it. I looked at my designs for a puffer jacket and picked that one since it went with the vibe of the collection. It’s like a stone gray color. The jacket itself is lightweight so it can be worn in the summertime. The padding in jacket is like a tempurpedic mattress so it can be super lightweight. And the gray material is made of a certain texture that changes the tone of the color in certain light. Sometimes it’ll be a lighter gray, and sometimes it’ll be a silver gray or a more reflective gray. We put the signature logos in reflective. Honestly it’s my favorite piece so far that’s public. In Fall/Winter 2020 I’ll be releasing six new puffers.

What about reflective pieces appeals to you?

Darryl: I thought about making an actual garment that was reflective but the originality of that has been stripped away over time. I don’t think I’ll ever drop a full reflective garment. If it does happen it’ll be an actual color and only reflective when light is applied. I think at least for the next couple years my logos will be reflective. I love when light hits it or someone takes a picture and it stands out. I don’t like making the logo too big since I like people enjoying the garment itself, but when it’s reflective people can see that it’s Reclusionism.

What’s your favorite piece on the collection?

Darryl: I would have to say the striped knit sweater. The reason for that is because its a cashmere sweater. It’s hard for people to understand before they feel it or see it. The fabric is as good as if you went to Ralph Lauren and bought a new sweater. The actual print on it is printed on with suede, so if you passed your hand over the sweater you'll feel the logo is a different texture. It’s a really unique piece. I don’t see a lot of people taking a knit sweater and putting a graphic on it. I had this idea for a minute and really wanted to do it so it’s definitely one of my favorites. I really feel like in the future it'll be a grailed piece.

I saw the Reclusionism Air Force 1’s that you previewed. Are those ever releasing?

Daryll: No, they’re never going to release. It’s a really good canvas shoe for someone to express their creativity so the idea for customizing this shoe has been in my air for a minute now. The ones a previewed were made a good four months ago but I just now showcased them. The reason for not selling them is because I don’t want that to be out there right now unless Nike calls me to do a collaboration. That’s when I’ll release something similar to this design but for now it was just a fun creative 1 of 1 piece.

Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?

Darryl: A lot of my inspiration comes from myself and how I take the simplest situations and think about them really deeply. I don't know why I do it. I don’t watch TV so if I’m watching something it’s fashion shows. The most recent show I watch is Marine Serre. She’s really talented and she’s from overseas. After the show I’d watch the backstory of what’s going on. It pushes me to do more. I make a couple designs, go watch something and then go back and make those designs even better. It makes me feel like I have more potential and inspiration.

What is the message behind Reclusionism?

Darryl: I want the message behind my brand to be that you’re not trapped. Our parents tell us that we need to go to school for four years and get a job for the rest of our lives. You can’t get mad at them because they’re the last generation with that mentality. We’re the generation that sees people get rich on the internet. On Youtube people can make videos about nothing and make millions. You got people like Lil Yachty blowing up over Soundcloud. When you’re exposed to that you don't wanna sit in a classroom for four years and work for someone for the rest of my life because you have the potential to do what you want. I don’t want people to feel like they’re chained to the American system. I really just want to encourage people to have their own life.

Are there any other brands or designers you’d like to work with?

Darryl: I’m gonna be completely honest with you by saying that I don't want to collab with any other brands in the future. But if I can come together with someone else and make something really mind-blowing then we can do it. Even if Virgil called me to do a collab tomorrow I’d have to think about it. I’m not saying I’m better but I want people to like Reclusionism for Reclusionism. That’s why you don’t see rappers wearing it right now, and I know a lot of rappers since I used to do graphic design. I don’t just want to throw clothes on them and have people be like, “oh Young Thug is wearing Reclusionism so I want to buy it.” So I’d really need to think about any collab, but if the ideas are really mind blowing I'd love to do it. I collabed with an artist with Jacob Garza recently. He’s a really good freehand artist and he draws and paints. He made the most fire pieces for the collaboration we did, mind blowing stuff that makes you stare at the designs for a long time to really understand what’s going on. I’d rather have someone call me to creative direct for their brand or have them creative direct a collection at Reclusionism instead of collab since you can express more ideas that way.

Who is Reclusionism made for?

Darryl: There’s not a certain type of person, it’s for anyone. I feel like anyone can put it on and feel confident, but there’s a person that can understand the concept more than another. I feel like a lot of people literally live like a recluse. They feel like they can’t find anyone to fit in with and I feel like some people understand that more than others. But judgement shouldn’t be passed at all, if you have the time to judge you’re not doing something right in your life.

What should we expect to see from Reclusionism in the near future?

Darryl: Super deep design concepts. I’m going more into the depth of utility wear and more into the depth of architecture style details. The details should be looked at more than anything. I’m gonna start mixing colors that aren’t normally mixed and change the overall style of how clothes are worn in everyday life. Reclusionism is like if someone went to the future and took a garment back but redesigned it in a modern way so people would understand it.

Where do you want Reclusionism to be by the end of the year?

Darryl: By the end of the year I want people to understand the message more and I want the people that have already been following to understand where the concept and the label are going. I want people to look at a piece and understand the creative direction and where the vision for the piece is going. I’m hoping for a lot more exposure as well. I want people to look at our pieces for a long time and understand that what we’re doing is crazy. Overall I just want understanding and a lot more exposure.

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