This Unstoppable Menswear Designer Just Turned 21
Reese Cooper is rocking the boat of the menswear world. His eponymous label has caught international attention at lightning speed with its unique spin on Americana inflected with streetwear sensibilities. In 2019, he was named as a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, a coveted title that puts him in the same circle as names like Emily Bode and Pyer Moss. His designs have earned him rack space at elite stores like Mr Porter, Selfridges and Barney’s as well as celebrity fans such as Idris Elba. With just over three years under the brand’s belt and at a fresh 21 years old, Cooper’s the youngest ever to be nominated for the award — and with no formal fashion education, no less.
Originally born in Florida, Cooper spent his early youth in Atlanta before relocating to London at the age of 11. Brightly-colored camo from streetwear giant BAPE would catch his eye and capture his curiosity enough for him to eventually land an internship with the company. It was there he cut his teeth, learning about design and production. His fashion education was furthered thanks to a local seamstress who taught him about pattern making and sewing.
After convincing his family, he eventually made his way back to the States and moved to Los Angeles to start his brand in 2016. From designing to sewing to studio photography and logistics, the brand does everything in Los Angeles between the Reese Cooper HQ and the Giannetti Factory, started by his friend Charles Giannetti who now produces for other trending brands. Having all of the pieces contained in a single location is invaluable when producing a collection. Design changes can happen at the turn of a dime, quality issues are resolved same-day rather than waiting on overseas factories for weeks. But moreover, it’s all part of the hands-on DIY ethos Cooper has developed for himself. Aside from the factory workers and his mom who handles the company’s finances, Cooper is the only employee.
Every season his collections build upon the story of the previous season. Infused with workwear and collegiate-inspired pieces, you’ll find unique takes on utilitarian vests and flannel shirts mixed with roughed up varsity jackets and screen-printed t-shirts with fictional schools. His first and second collections ‘Spoiled Children’ and ‘Seneca Arts Club’ were fueled by his grade school experiences and naysayers that surrounded him. From there, Cooper’s collections have explored summer camp, hitchhiking and vintage postcards.
Each collection he creates is certainly designed as well as autobiographical. His ‘Fever Dream’ collection saw him come out of a tough breakup and featured splashes of bright pastels as well as a self-reflective and metaphorical lookbook featuring a model being enclosed by walls. This past year saw his first women’s collection, challenging the multidisciplinary artist yet again. As for where the story goes from here, only time will tell, but we can’t wait to see.
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