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rag & bone CEOs on Collecting Sneakers and Farm Animals, Plus Their Collaborations with Thom Yorke and Uber

Looks from rag & bone's Fall 2015 collection

Undisputed kings of cool Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of rag & bone are visiting our Nordstrom Pacific Centre store in Vancouver today. The founders of the London-meets-New York line of urban casual wear are cult favorites with laid-back celebrities (their clothes have just recently been spotted on Sienna Miller, Derek Jeter, Demi Lovato and every model and social media darling sporting the brand’s ubiquitous personalized bomber jackets from their fall 2014 runway show).

Even if you can’t meet the dashing Wainwright and Neville for a personal look at their fall 2015 men’s and women’s collections during their Vancouver visit, catch up with them in this Q&A. For those lucky enough to be in the area today for this catered party with live music, personal styling and photo booth, get the details below.

David Neville and Marcus Waingwright of rag & boneAs rag & bone men, do you personally collect anything? What attracted you to these collections?

Wainwright: I have a few collections going on: cameras, sneakers and watches. I’m an avid photographer, and in my opinion Leica makes the most perfect, timeless cameras.

My dad got me into watches when I was younger, so I’ve a few that I love. My favorite is a Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph, which my wife got me for Christmas. It’s just beautifully designed. I’m also a bit of a sneakerhead and have built up quite the collection over the years.

Neville: I collect antiques for our farm in Bedford, New York, and I also seem to be collecting animals as well—we recently added some horses to the family!

You form a lot of interesting collaborations, with artists and other companies. For the spring 2016 show, Thom Yorke and the Brooklyn Youth Choir provided the soundtrack, but you also partnered with Uber to give away tickets to the show. How did these different collaborations develop? What was your intent with each?

Wainwright: Thom is a friend and has done our show music several times. This season he came up with a beautiful original score called Villain and suggested that we use a live choral accompaniment.

As we were showing in Brooklyn in St. Ann’s Warehouse, which is a storied performance art space, it made perfect sense to enlist a local group, and the Brooklyn Youth Choir is incredible.

Neville: With Uber, we thought it would be cool to explore experiential marketing and give members of the public, who may not necessarily ordinarily have access to attend Fashion Week, an authentic experience and feel for what the brand is about.

What would be your dream fashion collaboration?

Wainwright: There are certainly a few brands we would like to work with who are both in and outside of the fashion space.

Neville: All our collaborations have to make sense for us, be it they’re a heritage brand, a brand we admire or are experts in something which we aren’t. For instance, this season we actually have a collaboration with Liberty of London. We had access to their archives to choose prints which we then interpreted. As British guys working with such a legendary English fashion house, this was an exciting venture.

rag & bone look from the Men's 2015 collectionYour collections clearly have strong sportswear influences. Why is athleisure having a moment? Are we getting more comfortable with our clothing choices? Heels were noticeably absent from spring 2016 too.

Wainwright: Our recent collections definitely have had a sportswear slant. It’s just an effortless and modern approach to dressing.

Neville: The unexpected is something we like as a brand—pairing a pretty dress with trainers can be a cooler way to make a statement.

What makes your partnership with each other so successful, both in a creative and business sense?

Wainwright: It’s a case of divide and conquer as we both focus on different aspects of the business: mine being design, and David’s the commerce side.

Neville: Ultimately, we both share the same vision for the brand and trust each other’s judgment.

Being designers of clothing for both women and men, do you see the move toward androgyny in fashion as a trend or a lasting evolution?

Wainwright: I believe it’s here for the long haul. The blurring of the line between menswear and womenswear will continue to evolve.

Neville: It’s not for all women, but it’s a way of dressing that resonates with the rag & bone woman.

What innovations or new technologies in fashion most excite you at the moment?  

Wainwright: We love to explore technical fabrications. Right now, we’ve created great fabrications with a Swiss company called Schoeller Textiles across women’s pants and jeans. The fabric is equestrian grade, so it creates an impeccable silhouette and retains it, wear after wear.

You started out in denim. Why was that great training for a complete line of menswear, and then women’s clothing?

Wainwright: In the very early days, I visited one of the oldest factories in the U.S., in Kentucky, and it proved a major turning point as I met their highly skilled workforce and witnessed firsthand the importance of quality and craftsmanship, and this informed the brand’s philosophy. They also approached their work with form and function in mind, which has also influenced my approach to design.

Meet rag & bone’s Marcus Wainwright and David Neville at Nordstrom Pacific Centre, Thursday, October 29; 7-9pm; via C.

Shop: current season rag & bone

—Britt Olson