Ones to Watch: Joe Sadler and Derek Buse, Cwst

by Elise Diamantini

Joe Sadler and Derek BuseJoe Sadler was DJing the Designers & Agents trade show when he met his business partner Derek Buse. “Derek was working for another brand at time and had an idea for his own collection. So we played a round of golf to discuss the beginnings of [our original line] Riviera Club. Four years later we were fortunate enough to be nominated as GQ’s Best New Menswear Designers in America.” Riveria Club has since dissolved, and re-imagined as Cwst (pronounced quest), a slightly more grown up, less beach-inspired collection. Sadler says Cwst was a natural evolution from Riviera Club, and gave them the opportunity to make changes to the operations, for example everything is now produced in the U.S.

Buse describes Cwst as “a spirited presentation of contemporary menswear melding classic styles and West Coast aesthetics.” The collection is sold domestically at boutiques like Ron Herman, internationally at Journal Standard, and online exclusively through East Dane. Knitwear retails from $150 to $300, bottoms from $200 to $300, outerwear from $250 to $1,000 and shirting from $175 to $200. Spring 2015 was inspired by the early-‘90s youth in Montecito, Calif. “A sporty mix of slightly rebellious but more mature styles,” says Sadler. “Think beer pong in a Slim Aarons photograph. It’s all about lightweight washed linens and color. My favorite piece is a linen long coat with slate colored snap buttons.”

When asked the most challenging part of launching a brand, Buse confides they both struggle with finding patience. “We’ve learned that things in this business don’t happen at the snap of a finger. It can be frustrating to wait for an order to come in, for a publication to feature the brand, for goods to ship, etc. Tom Petty said it best, ‘The waiting is the hardest part.’ But my wife and I had our first child this past year and our little girl has really helped put priorities in perspective for me. She’s inspired me in ways I would have never expected.”