Behind the Scenes

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Where have you seen Araya Nicks before?

Perhaps you know the SoCal stunner as the face of Nordstrom’s summer shorts campaign. Or maybe you remember her wearing electrodes on her head and negotiating a vine-covered labyrinth in Chris Brown’s “Don’t Wake Me Up” music video?

Here’s a new context in which to view her: solo recording artist.

Nicks is currently working on her own album as a vocalist, and we’ve been turning up on the bus ride to work lately to her cut “One Good Reason.” Check that out below–and get the low-down on her favorite jams, movies and travel bucket list.

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In this series, we talk to artists and designers about their most personal works and the projects that are closest to their hearts.

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Shop: Alexander Simai tee

Nordstrom photographer Barb Penoyar is back with the third installment of her series In/On White: portraits of models shot using 100% natural light. We remain psyched on this series.

Read about the origin of Barb’s “white period”–as it will be known by art historians of the future–and see round one here. Round two is here.

We caught up with Barb, who has a new website by the way, to ask about her new work:

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Anthony Thomas Melillo has our full respect as a fashion designer and creative individual, for the shape and hang of his clothes and for believing in himself over time. Basic casual wear with a tailored fit? Not common in the late 1980s/early 1990s. But today, his sports luxe style is everywhere and his brand ATM at the forefront, making, for one, arguably the perfect t-shirt.

We spoke to the West Chester, PA, native on the phone at his New York showroom about the importance of fit, feel and drape. And about how decades spent editing in the publishing industry at mags including Vogue and Esquire tuned him into the world and honed his instincts.

Shop: ATM | men’s designer collections

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The talent pool is deep over at Studio N, a warehouse space close to our Seattle headquarters where Nordstrom employees–stylists, art directors, photographers, tailors and hair & makeup artists–create imagery for our catalog and website. They do this amongst racks of choice product and models posing like perfect 10s. An inspiring environment.

Frequently they complete their day’s work and then create some more.

Photographer Matthew Sumi explains the impromptu photo shoot which yielded these shots:

“We shot a full day of men’s Anniversary looks on Tarik, then we decided to shoot more editorial images outside with this suit. I test often with all the models that come through the studio, to keep fresh and push myself artistically to always create new imagery. On this shoot I was playing with movement and black & white, specifically blur and focus. I’ve always loved trying different techniques. I think movement creates a strong visual element of mood. “

Shop: Calibrate suit | BOSS tie | Vince Camuto shirt | Magnanni monk strap loafer | all suits

Model: Tarik Lakehal

Photographer: Matthew Sumi

Stylist: Grace Erdman

Hair & makup: Pierra Lortie

Art Director: Brett Wiseman

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Ty Dolla $ign with 1970 Buick Gran Sport

Images courtesy Shomi Patwary and Atlantic Records

Music video director Shomi Patwary has been on our radar since his video for A$AP Rocky’s “Multiply,” with its awesome dance cameo from Yung Gleesh. Now Patwary’s caught our attention again with Ty Dolla $ign’s “Drop That Kitty,” a crossover hip-hop/pop jam with rising stars Tinashe and Charli XCX.

We caught up with Patwary on the phone while he was in New York filming another A$AP video and planning a project with Diddy’s son Christian Combs. He told us about rolling with the punches on “Drop That Kitty” and casting a surprise guest star who reminded him of his dad.

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New York lifestyle photos & all denim flat and detail photos by Velvet Sea Media; San Francisco lifestyle photos by  Matthew Reamer; Seattle lifestyle photos by Thomas Akin; Los Angeles & Chicago lifestyle by Sean Klingelhoefer; animations by Studio 30

What does a year of wear and tear look like on a pair of jeans? If they’re Nudie jeans, really good.

Don’t believe? Peep the finale of the Swedish brand’s #breakingdenim campaign: five guys, five cities, five pairs of jeans, one year.

Here is post #1. This is post 2, with full documentation of a year in the field.

Shop: Nudie

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Behind the Brand: W.R.K

New season, new inspiration says Matteo Gottardi, leader of the menswear brand W.R.K–seen here at The WRK Shop showroom and design studio in New York City.

This spring: Formula One racecars and their drivers, a sport that is as visually striking and glamorous as it is punishing and dangerous.

Gottardi’s interest in speedy machines makes sense: he’s a motorcycle enthusiast, his mind moves racecar fast in conversation–and his general view with W.R.K is menswear should be high performance

Because we’re never static, are we? We’re always moving at the speed of life, word to David Bowie and Xzibit

On the phone, Gottardi talked to us broadly about men and style, and took us under the hood of a few of his designs, including the rare beast known as the summer sweater.

All photos by Brad Ogbonna

Shop: W.R.K

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Here we have a little behind-the-scenes action from the photo shoot for Magic Hour, our new Pop-In@Nordstrom. For the uninitiated, Pop-Ins are recurring boutiques curated by our director of creative projects Olivia Kim, which exist in selected physical Nordstrom locations and of course online.

Magic Hour refers to the time at a music festival when the sun sets and tame gives way to turnt. Snapshots and a detailed statement from Olivia are below.

Shop: Magic Hour Pop-In@Nordstrom

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Behind the Brand: Haspel

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Haspel invented the seersucker suit in New Orleans, and not like Puff Daddy “invented the remix.” This is for real.

The classic brand goes a lot deeper than one fabric, and with two new designers steering its style, we figured it’s a good time to go behind the brand with interviews and photos from Haspel’s showroom in New York.

But for one sec, let’s appreciate their heritage.

Haspel was born in New Orleans in 1909. They’ve outfitted every United States President post-Coolidge, Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird and Jon Hamm in Mad Men. Without Haspel, who knows if we’d have the idea of American suits that keep you literally cool. Or suits that you could wash and dry at home. (They pioneered wash-and-wear, too.)

These days, Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos are the design force driving Haspel (you may know them from their own brands Shipley & Halmos and S&H Athletics). They were hired last year by Laurie Aronson Haspel, whose great-grandfather Joseph Haspel started the company and whose grandfather Joseph Haspel, Jr., remains something of a company spirit animal.

Jeff Halmos (on the right, above) spoke to us about taking a serious but light approach to handling so much history, about what’s fresh for Haspel for spring–and about what a rad dude Joseph Haspel, Jr., really was.

Shop: Haspel | spring suits | all suits | men’s style

Portrait courtesy Jeff Halmos; all other images by Brad Ogbonna

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Street League–our current streetwear collection–is built on a few key silhouettes and a rebellious shift in men’s fashion. What are those silhouettes and how did we get here? We sat with two of our in-house experts and had us a good long think.

Edited convo below with Nordstrom Men’s Fashion Director Jorge Valls and Lead Men’s Stylist Danny Mankin.  

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Joggers

Nordstrom blogs: The jogger pant came to the streets from runways, right? Or did we get here through athletics?

Jorge Valls: From a designer level, Dries Van Noten was one of the first brands that I saw taking a pant silhouette and trying to make it new. I saw them put a cuff on a cotton pant or a wool pant. And drawstrings, too.

Danny Mankin: But there’s definitely an athletic influence.

Jorge: It’s very athletics-inspired, but it’s not what you wear to the gym. It’s athletic that you wear outdoors, on the street. But it’s elevated, an organic evolution. The current generation wears comfortable clothes all the time, so this is their version of dressing up. And the sneaker excitement right now? These are all fashion sneakers. You can work out in these, but they’re fashion.

Danny: I think the evolution of the jogger pant was influenced by the rise of the sneaker. The sneaker was rising so fast, it became a fashion statement. That influenced the gathering of the pant at the ankle.

Jorge: And some goth culture. That comes from Rick Owens, that goth-athletics aspect. He’s a body builder, and a lot of his clothes are built for movement. I would say any body type could wear this, though. It’s very forgiving.

Nordstrom blogs: What about the colors?

Jorge: Right, well, another big part of this look is the graphic element. High contrast. Black and white is perfect to create that. You’ll notice that the clothes tend to be black-and-white or tonal. But the sneaker is where most guys are unafraid to do crazy color and have it be a pop, a statement.

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