Inside R13 FW 17 With Nordstrom Men’s Designer Buyer Dan Drewes
Our designer selection is the result of Nordstrom buyers exercising their fashion expertise, and choosing items they like and think you will, too. Here’s what men’s designer buyer Dan Drewes had to say about our fall and winter 2017 selection from R13—the brand designed in New York by Chris Leba, which makes its jeans in Italy and makes its T-shirts from American rock ‘n’ roll memories.
We started carrying R13 two seasons ago as a Canada-only brand, as we built new stores in Vancouver and Toronto. That’s a time when we generally bring in new brands. Adding new brands to an existing store can mean getting rid of something else, but with new stores you can sort of start fresh. We added U.S. stores and our website since then. Overall we like the R13 aesthetic, the rocker/grunge vibe but done better.
Their denim is different: they make it in Italy, and it’s no joke. The price is high but it’s worth it for an amazing wash, which is hard to do, and which requires a good cloth for a starting base. Japan is known for raw denim and their indigoes. That’s not what this brand is about. Italy’s famous for amazing hand-feels and softness. When you have destroyed denim, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be your most comfortable pair of jeans.
Early throwback flannels
One of the things from the first R13 lookbook that they got famous for were these oversized flannels with a lot of fraying. They were ahead of the curve on that, as far as today’s fashion. Every season they do new takes on these throwback flannels in grunge plaids. They feel like vintage items but with interesting details, like maybe the shirt is cut apart, washed, and sewn back together. Extra value added through reconstruction.
To me, there’s a handful of aesthetics that always exist—one could argue they all do. To me, the R13 aesthetic is one that always exists in some form; you just see it more in the limelight at certain times. Right now you’ll see professional basketball players dress this way. That’s a change. But the reason I love a brand like this, is that in any year in the last 15, there are guys who can pull off this look and make it look fresh.