Chris Stamp on CFDA Honors and Pioneering a New Menswear with Stampd
Images courtesy of Stampd
Designer Chris Stamp is changing the way men dress with his label Stampd, which started as a cult brand in Los Angeles in 2011. The Stampd aesthetic involves layered, streetwear-adjacent looks with sharp tailoring and soft materials, and inspiration drawn from Copenhagen and Tokyo as much as L.A. If all that means nothing to you, peruse the Stampd lookbook images in this post. You’ll get it.
This year, Stamp has been named a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, making him a competitor in a prestigious battle for emerging designers. Being named a finalist is a massive honor in itself, capable of boosting careers and even pushing brands into the mainstream.
We currently offer Stampd in the men’s designer sections at our Seattle flagship store, as well as in California (South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Topanga in Canoga Park, The Grove in Los Angeles and Fashion Valley in San Diego) and in Aventura, Florida. We do not sell Stampd online. Visit any of those stores to see what hasn’t sold out yet. And keep in mind you can order any item from any store (like that bomber jacket you see above, for example) through our customer service line: 1.888.282.6060.
So you can get to know him a little better, we caught up with Mr. Stamp on the horn to talk about the Fashion Fund, what he’s working on at the moment, rap music he’s into and the rising menswear power structure in Los Angeles.
What are you doing in New York? Something fashion related?
Yeah, I’m involved in the Vogue Fashion Fund program with the CFDA, and they’ve got me ping-ponging back and forth to New York over the past few months. We did a design challenge with Intel: they give you a chip and ask you to design it into an outfit, to be worn by a celebrity or an artist. You present the look at a cocktail event and that’s tonight. So I’m going to the studio to get ready for that.
What did you design?
I did a suit. The way technology integrates into the suit, it’s essentially a letter of authenticity that can track luxury pieces, all pieces in the collection. The consumer can also integrate the piece with social media. I can’t explain too much because the event’s tonight.
[Update: Stamp presents to Anna Wintour at 4:35 in this video.]
Chips can be used to track the mill where a certain yarn was spun, factories where products were made.
Totally. Some digital or tech-related apparel can be kind of iffy, you know? I wanted to make something that was cool and relatable to our customer.
You being a Fashion Fund finalist is part of Stampd becoming more broadly known, and I feel like Nordstrom is also part of this wave for you.
One hundred percent. I’m stoked to be working with you guys. Everyone on your side has been super rad and intelligent. They get it. Which is refreshing. It’s been nice.
You’re a pioneer in the Los Angeles menswear movement. Do you see your influence?
I think we definitely had a piece in being one of the first to think differently when it comes to men’s fashion, within the contemporary street market. I’ve been trying to do my due diligence in doing something different for L.A., something different for the city, where a lot of times the emphasis was on what’s happening in Paris or New York. It’s like, “No, there’s talent in California.” Especially Los Angeles and southern California. We’re just trying to bring attention to the city, to the talent in the city, to a perspective that’s fresh and relevant.
How is your personal style reflected in Stampd?
It’s becoming increasingly more my personal style, my friends’ and my design director’s. We’re pretty aware of what’s going on, how the market is changing. But it all comes back to our DNA from the beginning and what we personally like. We go through the line prior to showing it and make edits. It’s a good picture of my personal style for sure, and also our whole crew and team.
It’s a distinctive style and it’s cool to see it catch on in different climates, coasts, states, temperatures.
That’s the exciting part, when you see it transcend those areas. And you see, “Oh, that’s how it would be done in New York, or Boston, or Copenhagen or Tokyo.” It’s pretty awesome.
Being in New York right now, you’re surrounded by rap music. Is anything sticking out to you?
Well, whenever I’m out here I’m listening to Hot 97. It’s the best. And it’s interesting, Desiigner is actually the model I’m working with tonight, so he’s going to be wearing the whole Stampd kit. A lot of those younger kids with new music have been super inspiring. There’s another kid from New Jersey—Shake. You should look her up, she’s super sick. But I don’t find myself having the time to research music like I used to. Now I’m asking younger kids in my office what they’re listening to, what’s going on in music. You ever make your way to L.A.?
I do. The last few times I’ve been up and down La Brea, looking at the menswear there. There’s really a whole ecosystem of what’s relevant right now.
I think it’s a natural progression of things. As you get more involved in fashion, things start to click. For us on our block in La Brea, it’s become the men’s contemporary epicenter. You have everything from sneakers, to home, to eyewear, to apparel. And within that you have different styles of brands available. That street specifically has been important to Los Angeles for a long time but recently has really come into itself. I’m assuming you’ve been to Fairfax? It’s a different vibe, but similar in the way it’s like the Internet come to life.
We sell your clothes in our designer department, but next to some brands, they aren’t very expensive. Where do you see yourself positioned?
Stampd is somewhat difficult to categorize. Not in a bad way. But nobody’s ever thought of designer quality, with designer fits and especially the way of putting it out there like it’s art, but with a focus on a reasonable price. If you don’t work in fashion, you still think Stampd is expensive. If you work in the industry, it’s cheap, almost. I create value out of what I make. We want the brand to be coveted and special, but I don’t need it to be crazy expensive. We find the best factories and are super conscious, so we can expand and don’t paint ourselves in a corner as far as price, and becoming too niche.
If it’s not price, what’s your definition of luxury?
Overall the definition has changed. The way things are paired now, wearing denim with a sneaker and a snapback hat—the integration of luxury and streetwear is melded. Probably luxury is whatever makes you feel good. Whatever makes you, with your own aesthetic, your own outlook, think, “Wow, this is rich.” For some people it’s a Gucci belt. For others it’s a walk in Central Park.