What Does a “New York Brand” Look Like in 2020?

What Does a “New York Brand” Look Like in 2020?

Last summer, a few weeks after Mayan Rajendran had showed me his first set of releases for Again&Again, his new New York-based-and-produced clothing line, a funny thing happened. Among the grip of his just-off-center, deeply Manhattan-feeling pieces, one had stuck out: a snap-button cowboy shirt, black with white piping and blue overlay on the shoulders, the front of the garment drooping lower than the rear. Rajendran explained that the shirttails were cut extra-long so you could tie them up, Daisy Duke-style, to sit at your beltline. I snickered internally. Who’d wear their shirt like that? And then the funny thing: GQ’s October issue dropped, and with it a photo of cover star Brad Pitt strolling into frame. His pink shirttails were expertly, daintily tied at his belt.

Coincidence? Maybe! But again&again is premised on the idea that it might not be—that you can take the whispered-about lessons from a career in and around the fashion business and package them into a clothing line. Rajendran seems ideally placed to make that bet. His fashion career started at The News, the showroom that introduced a generation of would-be menswear obsessives to brands like Common Projects, and then moved to M5, another if-you-know-you-know showroom (and creative agency, and party brigade).

He booted up Again&Again a little more than a year ago, first as a multipurpose creative agency, and then as a dedicated clothing line. The goods, he told me when we spoke again in late February, come from a practical concern. He’s been operating out of his Manhattan apartment, and has one question constantly top of mind: “How much closet space can you really have in New York?” So the collection is made up of almost-essentials—that cowboy shirt, sweats cut like trousers, a killer suede jacket—that are designed to pull double (or triple, or quadruple) duty. The whole thing, he said, is about “having something your girl wants to steal.” Newer pieces, like a tan jumpsuit and a bomber jacket-inspired “cargo sarong,” and new made-to-order options, like jacket liners made from his Indian relatives’ heirlooms, reflect a different, heritage-minded impulse. “They are my mix of memories of being an Indian growing up in Canada while watching American media,” he wrote me this week, as the pandemic put his work on hold.

Now, like the rest of us, he’s holed up at home but still fulfilling orders online. Before the world turned upside down, we met over at his place, picked up lunch from an Indian deli around the corner, and sat down to talk about his path to opening up a made-in-New York business. Starting, oddly enough, with the decision to quit that showroom job, move to Frankfurt, and pick up work interning for the art director of Stone Island, the culty Italian label.

This conversation has been edited and condensed.

GQ: So, at 31, you’re like, I’m going to go be an intern for a little bit.

Mayan Rajendran: Yeah. It was a tough decision to make. I have a personal life here, and career, but I just knew that I wanted to plant my foot forward my way. So I did that.

What were you hoping to get out of that? Or what did you get?

I want to refine some of my skills and be back within a workplace where that was their main thing. That was the main focus of the business. It was great to be around like a multifaceted agency, but simultaneously I wanted to have more focus so that I could polish up the skills I’ve learned over the years. So I did that, came back here, opened up my own company, which is like a freelance creative consulting agency. And then I started the brand in December [2018].


Source : Sam Schube Link

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