Since their 2014 debut, architecturally-driven outerwear and accessories brand The Arrivals has won over consumers for two very distinct reasons. First, they’ve succeeded in delivering functional, minimal silhouettes with unexpected flourishes from incredibly high-quality materials. Second, their direct-to-consumer model allows all of these features to be within reach financially. Despite (or perhaps because of) zero previous fashion industry experience, founders Jeff Johnson and Kal Vepuri have developed such a sincere design DNA that when you see an Arrivals leather jacket on a passerby you know it can be from no other brand. Just prior to their release 3.0, we met up with Johnson to run through the collection at NYC’s Metrograph movie theater. And the venue itself hints at some of the dramatic nuances one finds carefully blended into the clothes.
To best understand release 3.0, one has to step back into Johnson’s background. “I moved out to New York in 2007 to pursue a masters in architecture. I was out here for three and a half years studying and working,” he begins. “I found myself most inspired by the Scandinavian minimal design approach,” he says. This interest ultimately led him to employment at UNStudio in Amsterdam. “This was a very contemporary, progressive design firm. They touched on all facets of the design process, down to interior and product design. It was looking at design as problem solving,” he continues. And that mentality would carry on with The Arrivals.
Upon moving back to NYC in 2013, he and Vepuri began looking into starting a business. “We thought about denim, footwear, T-shirts, jewelry. We had this idea of creating a shelter for people and carrying over this romantic idea from architecture—of protection. It was defined by form and material and space.” They had seen brands offering beautiful products with comparable aesthetics, but all of them carried a hefty, luxury price tag. That’s where the distribution platform was born. And why the current collection maxes out at $745—even for something as refined as a modular bomber, which is composed of water-repellant rubberized South African lamb skin with a removable thermal-insulated quilted vest liner.
A notion was put into play that’s evidenced in 3.0: that of the essential silhouette perfected by attention to detail. (And architecture factored into this, as well.) “Through the design process of each piece, we ask how do you take the emotional and nostalgic elements and inform it with performance attributes that won’t necessarily be seen,” he explains. “It’s why our leather jackets are waterproof—and how we do it. For our shearling moto, there’s a waterproof finishing on it that’s added in the tumbling process.” When sifting through all of their new pieces, one again sees the removable liners and hoods, all of these elements of seasonal adaptability.
Finding that sweet spot is beautiful and inspiring, we create little worlds where these things exist
The design inspiration of 3.0 also extends from the brand’s history—and it’s a constant cross-cultural balance. “We are aways looking at 1950s and ’60s product design, space exploration, a lot of Braun and Bauhaus. These almost irreverent notions of discovery and independence inspire us,” he explains. But with that as a motivation, the team at The Arrivals attempts to pair it all with the present day. “We ask ourselves, ‘How do you bind ’90s skate culture, that attitude, with Dieter Rams industrial design and the youth of today?'” says Johnson. “Finding that sweet spot is beautiful and inspiring. We create little worlds where these things exist.”
Release 3.0 launches today 30 August at The Arrivals webstore. Release 3.1 will launch on 4 October and feature heavier items for late fall and winter.
Images courtesy of The Arrivals