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EXCLUSIVE: Adam Kimmel x Carhartt by Ari Marcopoulos

For his latest collaborative Americana effort, Kimmel enlisted the legendary NYC photographer to both shoot and model the A/W12 collection

Having premiered on Dazed Digital a few seasons ago, the collaborative Adam Kimmel x Carhartt line has gone from strength to strength. The fit - both literally and metaphorically speaking - struck a chord with fashion insiders and customers alike as the NYC designer and the American heritage brand share a love of understated quality, a sort of extravagant workwear or underestimated luxury, depending on who's point of view you look at it from.

This time around, as these exclusive Dazed Digital images show, Kimmel not only abides by the (sartorial) law but has taken on its persona. Not that he needed the authoritative touch to make us want it, but the state patrol trooper-look works really well with Kimmel's constant dissection of the stereotypical American aesthetic in general, and Carhartt's expert take on utilitarian uniforms. Perhaps the theme was a bit too caricature-ish for an Adam Kimmel mainline collection, but as the next step in his vision for his Carhartt, this collection is the shit.

Dazed Digital: Was state trooper a dream job growing up?
Adam Kimmel:
No. But I always see those guys and I’m really scared of them. I think every guy is scared of a state trooper. They have those shaved heads with the hat strap in the back and the aviators — very intimidating. Ari is a pretty intimidating guy, too. I'm attracted to things I'm scared of.

DD: What are the biggest changes from the previous collections?
Adam Kimmel:
The fabrics are tougher and the fits are more refined. Since I started collaborating with Carhartt I've been working with different balances between tough and soft, baggy and skinny, elegant and brute. I'm always trying to deepen the right groove.

DD: Are there any fits and garment types that are new to this collection?
Adam Kimmel:
I took a few ideas based on classic men's looks that I've created over the years and tweaked them this season to feel a bit woodsy and also elegant. And the fit is a bit slimmer this season. It's always my intention to honor the Carhartt rugged feeling.

DD: What is it with Ari and his photography that brought you to together?
Adam Kimmel:
Ari is always surfing the zeitgeist. He has a great feel for art and pop culture. He finds projects and themes for his work that are mostly unknown, and he captures them, and sure enough, in time, they prove to be relevant and important. Take the Forrest Bess film he made twelve years ago. Only now are people going gaga over this artist. Ari beat everyone to the punch. Time reveals the significance of Ari's work, and I love that.

DD: There's a slight formal touch to Carhartt's normal casual Americana, would you agree?
Adam Kimmel:
Yes, the overwhelming majority of the lineup is weather workwear, which is casual wear, but I've been careful to slip in some blazers and button downs to create more formal options for people who love the Carhartt brand. I am selling these clothes at Barney's and other fine shops. And the greatest challenge is keeping that rugged look while infusing the garments with technical fabrics and silhouettes that justify the higher price point. I may be biased, but I think I’ve achieved that in the collection.


DD: Ari, did you come up with the state patrol trooper look, is that what the clothes reminded you of?
Ari Marcopoulos:
The state trooper or park ranger was Adam's inspiration for the collection so we took it from there.

DD: Why did you decide to model the collection yourself?
Ari Marcopoulos:
We could have tried for some real state troopers or park rangers but when we talked about how to present the project, I thought it be fun to do a series of self-portraits as the state trooper.

DD: Who brought you onboard - Adam or Carhartt?
Ari Marcopoulos:
Adam did, I had previously done a film for Adam and I guess it was time to so something together again.

DD: What's your relationship with the two brands?
Ari Marcopoulos:
Well, Adam I know and I love wearing some of his stuff. Carhartt is an American classic, I have had Carhartt jackets and pants for years.

DD: Was state trooper a dream job growing up?
Ari Marcopoulos:
No, it wasn't but I have to tell you that while on the shoot walking around in the outfit it showed me the power of the uniform. There was panic everywhere i went. A car went through a red light and then saw me and the driver pulled over and waited fro me to come over and give him a ticket. Then in the park a guy tripped over a bench and dropped his weed and papers trying to get away. That in itself made it a funny experience to walk around like that.

All photography by Ari Marcopoulos