wonderMode sits down with Jeff Dodd, one of the designers of the NY-based label the twentyten, to talk about the state of menswear, what it means to be a young American designer, and the importance of running a brand like a business.
There are three designers working to produce the collection, you, Nina Zilka and David J. Krause; since it’s a collaborative effort, do the three of you ever have conflicting ideas?
No, never we are perfect. Just kidding, Of course we always have different ideas but most of the time we come from a similar mind set. Any conflicting ideas that we do have always evolve into a stronger more cohesive concept.
How do you find your inspiration?
Our inspiration comes from numerous different places such as movies, the Internet, traveling to places to like Marfa, kitchen appliances, and trash on the street.
How long does it take to produce a piece?
It can take a day or up to a month.
In an interview you gave for Eva New York, you said you’re not particularly inspired by menswear. Why do you think that is?
It’s not that we are not inspired by menswear–we are often inspired by elements of menswear in our women’s pieces–we just do not particularly enjoy designing menswear. We feel very stifled by the restraint of our male customer at times. Women are much more willing to take risks and experiment with clothing.
You said in the previous interview that Nina almost always wears the twentyten. So is there a difference between designing pieces that your customer would wear and designing pieces that you would wear?
We design our clothing with a variety of women in mind. We would never design something we would not wear. If David and I were women we would be in our clothing all the time as well. Sometimes David and I play dress up.
As a new label, do you feel more creatively liberated than the larger brands? What can the larger brands do that you can’t?
We do not feel creatively liberated. As a small label we can only dream as far as our dollar can take us.
Within New York City, is fashion a difficult industry to break into?
In America there’s a different definition of young designer. Opposed to places like London where young designer equates to having shown one collection. In America it means having a store and having numerous collections under ones belt. You just have to stick at it until you get the recognition.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about the industry since you guys created the label?
What we learned is you just have to go for it, if you want something you have to directly pursue it.
If you had to choose two skills that every young designer should know, what would those things be?
One would be to be a good business person. First a label is a business and then it is a creative outlet. The second would be to keep good relationships with people, you never know who will help you in the end. Don’t burn bridges.
Your designs are conceptual and sculptural, and more designers seem to be producing such avant-garde pieces. Do you think women seek more individualistic expressions of style than they did, say, 10 years ago?
We can’t really speak for what women wanted 10 years ago since we where 15, 13, and 12 years old, but we know women today what to stand out and be comfortable.
(images: the twentyten)