Menswear brand willem new york opens soho pop-up

by Stephen Garner

New-American menswear brand Willem New York has launched its fall/winter 2019 “Pavement Preacher” collection, along with the opening of its first-ever pop-up shop, which takes residence at 426 West Broadway in SoHo.

The collection, conceived by Willem’s founder and creative Sean McDonagh is based on Lower East Side “outlaw artist” Dash Snow and takes inspiration from the cowboy-esque silhouettes featured in the Clint Eastwood film, “Pale Rider,” as well as vintage garments sourced from the late 1800s, modernizing these pieces to be worn in today’s city form. After much research and talking with some of those who were close to Dash, the Willem team learned that toward the end of Dash’s short life he was enamored by the Clint Eastwood film “Pale Rider.” Willem aims to pick up where Dash left off, a blend of post-9/11 New York City and 1850’s California gold rush.

Materials for the collection were chosen based on a New York City urban palette; charcoal greys, midnight navy’s, rich camels, and deep indigos. The brand partnered with Loro Piana and Lamonta in Italy, Toko Shoji in Japan, and Cone Denim in the U.S. to create a range of items including an overcoat, a varsity jacket, a coach’s jacket, denim jackets, a tactical vest, woven shirts, sweatshirts, tees, chinos, jeans, and a limited-edition cowboy chap.

This season, Willem moves slightly away from graphic heavy pieces and moves toward smaller, deliberate illustrations commissioned by illustrator and pottery shaper Micah Gibson that all tie back to Dash’s life. A special addition and new this season are hats and headpiece accessories to compliment the collection. McDonagh collaborated with master milliner Gigi Burris to recreate handcrafted headpieces in honor of Dash and his crew of friends and collaborators.

Willem aims to bridge the gap between high-end storytelling and classic approachable men’s garments. Each season is seen through the lens of a significant cultural person, place, or event where timeless pieces of clothing are seen in a new light, and treats each collection as a different chapter in a textbook of historical American culture.

Willem’s debut fall/winter 2018 collection was set in 1970s New York City and inspired by the artist hangout Max’s Kansas City. The spring/summer 2019 “Paradise Lost” collection’s muse was renowned photographer Peter Beard with the stage set in 1970s Montauk.

The Willem fall/winter 2019 pop-up shop is now open through Saturday, November 30th.

Photos by Alfredo Chiarappa

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