London East End fashion mecca Hostem seem to be going from strength to strength. At a time when record numbers of high end fashion boutiques flock to the parts of London where, traditionally, the creative and penniless forces live and work rather than shop, the Redchurch Street store is constantly upping the ante. Not long ago, Hostem came up with the idea of turning its third ground floor room into a hotel for a week. Now, making more use of the retail space, owner James Brown have invited Dr. Romanelli to move in his highly sought-after products.
The LA-born designer and king of customisation is already known in London from selling his re-crafted Nike jackets in Browns a few years back. And except for other major brand collaborations, such as with Converse, the Doctor is now back with a sea of cooler-than-though labels, more often than not from Japan. To celebrate this sartorial match, Hostem last week threw a house party, taking over the entire house in which the shop is housed in. Graffiti artist Krink had been given free reign, and even though Hostem seems to prefer dark and moody clothes from Damir Doma, Ann Demeulemeester and Rick Owens, the party decorations were happy and colourful. As it turned out, so was Dr. Romanelli…
Dazed Digital: How did the Hostem collaboration come about?
Dr. Romanelli: James came to my studio in LA almost five years ago to buy my collection for his previous store.
DD: You’ve worked with many great brands in the past, such as Converse and Nike, how do you select them?
Dr. Romanelli: It’s kind of fifty fifty; sometimes the brands will come to me to collaborate. They often want me to flip a piece of their archive. I like diving into a brand’s history, find something that I have a connection to and resurrect it with a contemporary spin.
DD: But sometimes you approach them…
Dr. Romanelli: Yes, as with Oliver Peoples for Hostem. I went to OP’s CEO, David Schulte, and said ‘I need a monocle for this whacky idea I have’… he thought the idea was crazy but once he saw it developing, he gladly came on board!
DD: Tell us a bit more about the Hostem collection.
Dr. Romanelli: In the last few years I’ve been heavily inspired by Americana and military. And for Hostem I’ve done some amazing Americana pieces with the Japanese brand Anachronorm, they fabric manufacturing is amazing, easily ten steps ahead of what we’re capable domestically. For some of the more army inspired stuff, I’ve worked with The Real McCoys on a series we call Dr X Standard Issue. Hostem also have Parabellum, a LA design duo who makes incredible accessories from buffalo hide.
DD: Where did the name Prescription Shoppe / Pharmacy come from?
Dr. Romanelli: It’s just a play with words and a medical spin. There are elements of performing surgery in what I do when resurrecting brands. I don’t call what we do collections, I call them prescriptions!
DD: Ever wanted to design pieces from scratch, not just work with other brands?
Dr. Romanelli: I do that already, a few of the biker jackets have been made from scratch – but using vintage military fabrics. I like vintage textiles.
DD: What’s next for you?
Dr. Romanelli: Slap bracelets!
Hostem, 41-43 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ