Truth, Symmetry, Pleasure, Taste and Recognition.
A brand with a lengthy acronym for a name, origins and inspirations based between modernism and vintage sportswear and with an affinity to Charlie Brown; we were naturally hooked right from the get go. TSPTR's Autumn collection features the worlds most famous beagle across a range of seriously deluxe garments, sourced specifically to be warn like it's anywhere between today and 1961. We caught up with Russ Gater to talk about the brand, how it came about and where they're going.
Flatspot: What is the set up at TSPTR? TSPTR: TSPTR is owned and designed by myself and my business partner Dan. We've been in and around the industry for quite a few years now, I started out as vintage clothing dealer during the 1990s and along the way we've worked on a variety of different projects including our brand Heritage Research. Although Dan and I own TSPTR and are the primary designers, it's really a kind of international fusion of friends from the US, Japan and Hong Kong who specialise in certain areas, these various people will come to fore each season in some way. Flatspot: Very few fashion houses will site Modernism in their mission statement, what inspired you to set up TSPTR? TSPTR: We've both collected vintage US sportswear, sneakers and military on a serious level for over 20 years so have a good insight into functional garments and materials, we also both studied Fine Art so the 2 areas kind of blend in a Post Modern sense to create a functional yet aesthetically pleasing brand. TSPTR is actually an acronym for 'Truth, Symmetry, Pleasure, Taste, Recognition' - five of the design principles outlined by American architect Louis Sullivan, the so called father of Modernism. Back in what we consider to be the golden age of sportswear in America (1950s - 1970s) everything was design with functionality in mind. This was an ethos we wanted to apply to contemporary clothing design. Flatspot: What is it about those European slub yarns that got you hooked? Are the manufacturing components foremost when designing? TSPTR: With Heritage Research our mission statement was purely about the fabrication and construction and we pushed it to the ultimate limit using custom woven Ventile, technical wools, sashiko denim, boro and a variety of other amazing cloth. With TSPTR we've tried to pursue this same ethic but I guess in a more accessible way. We developed our own salt and pepper marl slub fleece in Europe for Fall'14 which is beautiful but we're not subject to any one specific manufacturing base, we try and bring the best suited to each element. The SS'15 collection has a variety of garments made from exact reproduction Vietnam era Advisor Sparse Tiger Pattern camo, this was manufactured in Hong Kong by one of the leaders in this area, the other fabrics from SS'15 are made in Japan, the EU and the US in equal parts. We're democratic if nothing else! Flatspot: I read a great quote that (loosely) 'commerce and cheap fabric had ruined fashion'. Do you think people are craving deluxe materials and considered cuts? TSPTR: I think that statement is very true. It's easy to drive a product and price point down and down but then you effectively end up with Primark and no one wants that. I think the average consumer on a premium streetwear/lifestyle level wants something more now. There's a lot of generic looking stuff out there at the moment with brands turning out the same stuff season after season, hopefully we can change that up a gear and bring something more interesting to the table. Every season we focus on a new concept and story. As the brand goes forward we'll be introducing more tailored and directional elements for the individually inclined. Flatspot: Talk us through Peanuts, how did that partnership come about? What is it, for you, that resinates so strongly in Felix that cat or Peanuts? TSPTR: We've both been huge Peanuts fans for years and I've amassed a pretty extensive collection of vintage Peanuts clothing from the 60s and 70s among other Peanuts stuff. Luckily we had the opportunity to sit down with them and they really liked what we proposed to do with it. For our taste, Peanuts had become too cute and had lost Schulz's original intention of cultural commentary, especially his later 60s strips concerning the Vietnam War and counter culture, we wanted to bring this back in an authentic and strong way. Same with Felix, the whole Felix / US Navy connection is very cool and hasn't really been explored on that level. Flatspot: What is so iconic about the design process circa 1960 - 1990? Why did those silhouettes, in particular sportswear, last so well? TSPTR: For us, those original athletic styles styles are timeless. Crew sweats from the 60's for example have great styling but they're also ergonomic and functional - the turn back cuff, deep waistband, freedom sleeve, reversed neck for durability. All amazing design elements that look great too. Much of the US military developed clothing post WW2 has since found its way into fashion in one way or another. A lot of todays sportswear was originally derived from military physical training gear, most outerwear you can think of has its roots in a military spec too. Its the functionality of these designs that will always be of interest to designers. Flatspot: What is your favourite James Bond Film? TSPTR: Probably Dr No, Connery wear a nice Rolex Sub 6538 and looks pretty sharp. Or maybe Live and Let Die - sharks, crocs, voodoo, New Orleans, what else could you ask for?