From afar, it was difficult to make out just how Patrik Ervell achieved the beautiful, hypnotic staining effect that adorned the suits and sportwear of his S/S 10 collection. Turns out it was through a process of experimentation - “cotton stained by rust or by copper oxide. That felt American to me.” Jean jackets and button down shirts were washed and aged, and in some instances, the metal was incorporated into the cloth, creating a luminous effect. Decay may have been a central motif, but the prevailing mood summed up by this terrific collection was one of hard-won optimism, helped by the laser guided melodies of Spiritualized and The Tough Alliance’s “New Chance” on the soundtrack. There’s always a sense of purity and minimalism in Ervell’s simple, clean lines and impeccably sharp tailoring but this time, it was shot through with nostalgia and peculiarly, for a collection based on rusting, also a sense of romance.
Dazed Digital: Tell us about your experiments with fabrics this season
Patrik Ervell: We experimented with iron oxide and copper oxide on the fabric. We were looking at motifs and specifically American motifs. And this idea of the stain that oxidising metal leaves. Rust stains on fabric feels very American to me.
DD: What’s your vision of American menswear?
Patrik Ervell: For me I always start from these sportswear elements . It’s like going back to my roots back in California. I look at these faded denims and rust stains, rough cotton that’s like muslin and khakis. I didn’t design the jean jacket. But I’m from San Francisco and it’s in my DNA.
DD: And how does coming from San Francisco influence the aesthetic?
Patrik Ervell: It’s the spirit of the place. It’s kind of the end of the world but historically, it’s also the beginning of so many things. Every major cultural movement of the later part of the 20th century came from California.
DD: And for you, is it important to strip stuff of references?
Patrik Ervell: I don’t like reference. It’s not about that for me.
DD: How do you see your collections evolving?
Patrik Ervell: There’s progress but it’s gradual and incremental. I’m not doing pirates one season and bankers the next. I don’t see fashion that way and neither do most men. I want to develop a vocabulary of staple pieces that I do, things that people come to me for. That’s the best thing to see through these times we are living in right now.
The worst possible thing would be to make things that are interchangeable product. For me the most important thing is to be specific and have a specific point of view. With this rust stains, I’ve never seen this before and really that’s the whole point.
DD: And if you were to sum up an emotion running through the collection, what would that be? I got a sense of optimism.
Patrik Ervell: Yeah I think so. And a new beginning.