Roark is a collective of talented friends, creative’s and partners, more in the vein of an old fashioned commune than a business partnership, sharing many of the same altruistic ideals with their sixties counterparts. Living and working in a single space, the four friends bonded over a single vision; that of designing, producing and promoting a menswear collection, made locally from natural and organic fabrications. Based where else, but Los Angeles, the band of brothers in spirit, consists of Andrew Steiger – the creative director and head visionary, Chris Allison – the fashion designer, Misti Huskey – the visual communications expert, and Nelson Campbell who completes the brotherhood by bringing a strong social component to the partnership. Fusing film, photography, story telling and music with fashion, Roark’s intent is to fully immerse the observer into their world, which aims celebrate the individual spirit.
The collection, and indeed the collaboration is the result of a chance enquiry, when Andrew, still a student at the time, was approached on the street, and asked to produce a menswear collection for a fashion show. The four friends, all students at the time at Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), impulsively pulled a fashion show together, and so the collection was born. Working with the best of each of them, collectively the four work through the collection to create the perfect person. With an aim to manipulate the classic ideal of American menswear, the partners bridge the gap between day and night. The pieces, although designed for men, have never the less found some success in the women’s market, with the casual comfort of the boyfriend sweater or jacket, there is a unisex appeal. Although not an intention, dressing a girlfriend for one of their shows started the trend, now selling in Europe to some women’s boutiques.
The Roark collection is built around a character, with film, stories, photo shoots and even music and the website, all built around it. Acting as the inspiration for all photo shoots, look books and videos, once the creative direction is set, the others build the story line, leaving the designing till the last, when the character and story are complete, with the clothes acting as the set dressing to the storyline. The collection is simple, clean and comfortable, layered in neutral tone on tone, with the sort of style that usually comes with years of wear. It’s easy to see why women would gravitate to it, not to mention the men that wear it.
Already selling across Europe, Roark seem set to continue their synchronistic path to success, founded in the ideals of friendship, support and sharing.