Patrik Ervell, who constantly portrays a true New York designer, has recently moved to Los Angeles. This past September Ervell was announced as the new men’s designer for Vince, the Los Angeles based brand most famously known for its sweaters. Vince moved to Los Angeles to add to the list of growing New Yorkers moving out west to chase bigger opportunities. Ervell is tasked to elevate a brand who isn’t in danger of dropping down a tier, but a brand who has struggled in recent years to find an identity.
GQ caught up with the experienced designer in a recent interview to talk about his new job and being a New Yorker in the city of angels.
“How does it feel being in L.A.?”
“It feels great. I’ve always had a craving for L.A., like almost anyone who lives in New York.”
“Are you still doing your own line?”
“I mean, I’m not doing seasonal collections. I’m definitely not doing shows. I think it exists as a kind of project, which for now is TBD.”
“how did working at Vince happen?”
“The conversation started a while ago. Over a year ago—a year and a half ago, even. I always liked the idea of Vince and its most basic building blocks. They made a lot of sense to me. I felt like the men’s at Vince was, I don’t want to use the word blank slate, but kind of a blank slate. There are so many ways for me to engage with those building blocks and to build on top of it, and turn it into something really dynamic and exciting.”
“What will your Vince look like?”
“What we’re honing in on it. What it will be about going forward is a kind of high classic California aesthetic. It’s the most essential, most elevated version of that aesthetic.”
“There’s a certain ease of dressing in California. The codes of menswear that are still important in the old world, meaning New York and Europe, are abandoned there. That’s always been an important idea for me and the way I design clothes. I’ve always talked about the captains of industry. In California where I grew up, no one was wearing a suit. It’s not like there’s anything wrong with wearing a suit. A suit is a beautiful thing. [But in California, there’s] not a formality built around those old codes. Those things are abandoned, and you can develop new codes and new uniforms. That’s really exciting.”
“Have you gained some distance and perspective from the rest of the fashion world since you got there?”
“Yes, absolutely. I think it’s never felt more like the future. Since World War II onward, it’s had these moments when it was like Wow, look what’s happening in California, but I think, now more than ever, the future is being created in California. I felt that way in college, when I was at Berkeley in the late ‘90s, and what was happening in San Francisco was the invention of the internet. I never felt like California was a peripheral place. I felt like it was the center of the world.”
“what is the most iconic Vince piece?”
“It’s sweaters. It’s knitwear. I think what you’ll see in Fall are some kind of entirely new, almost virtuoso versions of this incredibly beautiful knitwear.”