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Thread: Geoffrey B. Small

  1. #941


    Thank you Zam, Sorry to you and everyone else for the break-up intermission of the current post story. We are having a lot of learning curve difficulties with the new V-bulletin forum format here, especially working now with a long post, high content piece, which is causing serious delay in our being able to finish posting the above story. As soon as we can figure a bunch of work-around issues we should be able to finish the story...Thanks for your patience and understanding. Geoffrey

    We are also incapable of trying to send reply to an old PM message from shum88. The new PM system seems to provide way less storage than previously and informs that both our and his message boxes are full and that our reply cannot be sent until both boxes are cleared out. Honestly, I don't have that kind of time, but I do wish to finally get an answer back to shum88's questions so I am posting it here below. To all SZ people, please do not try to reach me via PM. Shum88 here is your reply:

    thanks Stewart for the note and the repurchase. The TNC02 is definitely a spectacular piece and the fabric was woven in a super limited edition run and is no longer available--so the piece is now more rare than before. The Moessmer tyrolean wool is indeed very special and with the hand dyeing effects and its weight and super-slim fit- we felt that lining this piece would add too much bulk and additional weight, and limit it's stretch bodyforming capability. Remember, that the coat was created for our dealer and the market in Shanghai not Toronto as well. So for sure, for that climate there, we were already plenty on the warm side for their winter. Aesthetically too on the inside, we preferred to go with the taped seam detailing and sleeve and side panel lining only, to give a nice contrast with the Moessmer wool. I would note also that we felt somewhat impelled to also follow the correct tradition of the tyrolean style of working with their types of wool fabrics. The typical traditional tyrolean wool jackets are most often not lined as well, there is a natural stretch factor inherent in these kinds of fabrics that provide great movement, warmth and breathability (excellent for working, moving around in the high mountains of the Tyrol and Alto Adige regions)... that make full-linings somewhat technically non-compatible. Hope this is helpful, best wishes, Geoffrey

    Quote Originally Posted by sshum88
    Hi Geoffrey,

    I did have 1 question - more out of curiosity and your thought process. I always enjoy reading the extensive descriptions that share about your pieces.

    All of my winter coats are lined - curious about your choice to leave this piece unlined?

    cheers, stewart

    Quote Originally Posted by sshum88
    Hi Geoffrey,

    I hope you are doing well. I recently purchased the size Medium from a person who just happened to live in the same city as me - Toronto. It's the 1 of 2 pieces that you created specifically for Ethos.

    I just had to drop you a note and say how wonderful it is and a piece I will cherish forever. The feel to hand is exquisite and it drapes beautifully. It really does make me think of selling off my other winter coats but it's hard to let go.

    Lucky for me, the previous owner felt it was too long for him and never wore it once!

    I had to Google what Tyrolean wool was as I never heard of the term. I love what you have done and I look forward to wearing it lots during the expected arctic winter we are supposed to have this year.

    I look forward to having more of your pieces in my closet one day.

    Take care,


  2. #942


    Geoffrey, thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by eat me View Post
    If you can't see the work past the fucking taped seams , cold dye wash or raw hems - perhaps you shouldn't really be looking at all.

  3. #943


    our pleasure sshum88. now let's get on with another part of the story...

    (…continued from above 10-23-2016, 11:21 AM post)

    ...who took it to the bank and a big licensing deal with Gibo/Kashiyama.
    But like many innovations below, we were the first.

    From January 1995 to 1997 we ran a very modest but award-winning ad campaign in Vogue Paris, Vogue Italia, Vogue Hommes International and L'Uomo Vogue that brought a new generation of authentic street style and spirit into a completely new area of fashion and media. The rest of the industry soon followed with a long line of derivative iterations.

    .…. <view

    "Typical American" our controversial first Paris show in March 1994 which looked squarely at the ubiquitous cultural violence in our country, built upon and greatly expanded the previous recycle work of Martin Margiela and Lamine Kouyate at Xuly Bet. The radical collection introduced the fundamentals of our "metamorphosis" recycle design technology that distorted and reconfigured clothing using an array of first time techniques including inside-out, twin-setting, intarsia stitching- including the first skull designs to be put on Paris collection pieces, metallization, computer circuit boards, and others which opened the door to more new ideas which we developed for later collections, such as the hand-painted metallized leather jackets and completely reconfigured bodices in "Take Your Glamour and Shove it" below.

    …….……. <click to view

    THERE were some huge creative advantages in recycle design for a tailoring house that really knew about clothes construction at that time. Unlike almost any of my colleagues, I came into Paris with over 14 years working as a serious bespoke tailor, and it was that huge depth of technique and clothes-making experience which enabled us to begin to lead the industry with a long list of technological ideas that were quickly picked up and used by other avant-garde designers, and then bigger and bigger commercial brands. But there was also a real spirit and a culture that was combining underground music, art, design, and a moral and environmental consciousness to all of this as well. Like Margiela, Xuly-Bet, and Belgians such as Dries and Demeulemeester, we were streetcasting all of our show models, the majority of which we were bringing over from Boston or New York to walk in our shows and be themselves doing so. Many of them were working on our staff as designers and assistants, as well as some super-creative people we knew primarily from the underground club scene at the time. Together with these music, art, dance and fashion people, we were able to bring the message of a new avant-garde fashion culture from America into the Paris fashion week for the very first time. Before us, nobody from the U.S. had ever dared to try to follow the footsteps and join the ranks of a Comme, Yohji, Issey, or Helmut et al., but the amazing rise of the Belgians in the late '80's, along with the creative repression in our own country's industry fired us up to give it a try. We did well enough to stay in the game and show to other U.S. creative designers that it was possible, and that yes, there was another option in the world to show your work other than New York… and within a few years a long line of American designers started showing in Paris from Jeremy Scott to Marc Jacobs to Rick Owens to Tom Ford and even more recently Odyn Vovk, In Aisce, Zam Barrett, and yes, even Hood by Air. In the long run, Paris and the world no longer deny, like they once did to me before we began showing there, that America could possibly field an avant-garde fashion and artistic culture good enough to contribute to the world's most competitive fashion designer arena. That argument has been buried for good. And I would say that much of the credit goes to a lot of the courageous and talented people who worked with us in our early Paris and Boston shows. To give an example, we have dug out and digitally converted an original videotape from our archives of "Take Your Glamour and Shove It" to view along with this story in thanks and appreciation to all those people. And to emphasize the pioneering nature of this work on all levels 21 years ago, you might catch some of the xenophobic comments uttered by the mainstream fashion media photographer's bank during the presentation... this was long before LGBT issues were even considered to be politically-correct, and one of the multitude of reasons we learned to hate the mainstream fashion media and why we don't invite them to our shows anymore. You gotta realize, it was more than just fashion for us. It was a message that there was another side to America and fashion design than what New York, Paris, Ralph, Calvin, Vogue, WWD, and CNN wanted to show everybody. And even today, that battle continues.

    "Take Your Glamour and Shove It" was a direct rebuttal to the blatant and successful corporate conspiracy being orchestrated at the time by Anna Wintour and Vogue, who were exploiting John Galliano's 5th fall into bankruptcy to stop the rising independent designer movement based upon what the french press was calling "pauperisme," and a new value set and ethical consciousness among young generation 90's customers that was fueling the growth of a new wave of independent designers including Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Jean Colonna, Xuly Bet, Dries Van Noten, Marcel Marongiu, Helmut Lang, Yoshiki Hishinuma, Fred Sathal, Veronique Leroy, Orson & Bodil, Martine Sitbon, Costume National, John Rocha, ourselves, and up to that point, John Galliano. But Galliano was desperate at that point, having just crashed his 4th backer Faycal Amor, to the tune of over 2 million bucks. And Wintour knew it and smelled an opportunity. She quickly hooked him up first with the heir to the Schlumberger oil fortune in Paris who gave him a free workroom in her Hotel Particulier, and then with over 25 million dollars in backing from Sanford Bernstein the then CEO of American Express, and a job with LVMH as the successor to Hubert Givenchy at their newly acquired Givenchy Couture business division. With a hip, high-profile member of the rebel movement now completely in tow, the Prada and Tom Ford Gucci rollouts would soon follow and the corporate fashion takeover was underway. A takeover that has continued up to the present. In February 1995, Wintour had come out into the open with a story that Vogue's entire editorial staff was going to Paris with a single mandate to "push glamour" at all costs, promising her advertising base that the power of the single magazine in the industry could turn around the falling sales of perfumes, cosmetics, furs, and handbags and accessories that the new "pauperiste" independent avant-garde designer movement in Paris was causing by its annoying focus on pure clothing design. Wintour's coup was very successful. Few people in the history of the game have done more to eliminate the creative energy and capacity in the field. And all of us felt its effects. Over time, just about the entire above named group had sold-out, folded, or dried up, and by the late 90's the corporations were ruling the game hands down. As a young rising name in the circuit, we took a huge hit in sales and coverage that season with our collection as the obvious message in the title scared the hell out of most of our store buyers. And we began the first of our many hard lessons on what it took to really survive in the Paris game for the long run. That season almost killed me in more ways than one- I was barely coming off a life-threatening illness caused directly by the job and was able to start working on the collection just 3 days before having to pack it up and get on the plane to Paris with it. Gaunt, pale and barely able to eat or drink, we worked against all odds and even worse, against one of the most evil P.R's in Paris at the time who was handling (or should I say killing) us in every way possible before and after the show. But somehow by the grace of God we survived it all and made it through. And today, except for Dries, we are the only ones in that original wave still in the game and in the driver's seat of our own art and our own destiny, and I am still proud as ever that we pulled off that show and gave it that title.

    (to be continued)

    Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 11-15-2016 at 03:12 AM.

  4. #944


    Excellent read, thank you for taking the time to post.

    Definitely leaves one anticipating the next installment.
    It's absolutely Hedious!
    shy poser

  5. #945


    Quote Originally Posted by david s View Post
    Excellent read, thank you for taking the time to post.

    Definitely leaves one anticipating the next installment.
    thank you so much, david s. here is the next installment:

    (continued from above)

    Less than 2 months before we presented "Take Your Glamour and Shove it" we had also put out the first recycled collection for menswear ever presented in Paris. Throughout the rest of the year, we pushed the recycled technology to a new height with "Racer Futur" which began to explore cleaner, less-deconstructive approaches to recycle design. L'Uomo Vogue in Italy noticed, and quickly did a story on our (at the time) radical new approach to menswear design…

    We also became the first designers in the field to go on the internet. The internet in 1995 truly was a new frontier. Pioneering artists and other forward-looking people including myself were studying how to use HTML code. In Boston, we had unique access to a lot of very smart people who were working at the cutting-edge of IT tech. Many were friends and supporters of our work and with their help, I was able to learn html code on my own, and soon be way ahead of any other fashion designers or firms at that time.

    LONG before the corporate takeover, I must say that the internet was truly an amazing space to be. The emphasis was on sharing knowledge not selling things, and networking with other human beings all over the planet and making new friendships and collaborations, instead of the far more ominous environment that it represents for many people today. In fact, there was "netiquette" in those days, that included a strong agreement that it was totally uncool to try to sell things or commercialize just about anything online. Information was to be shared for the benefit of the community overall, not for grubby, or greedy, and especially corporate interests. This was the internet as envisioned by its founders like Tim Berners Lee and the brand new "WorldWideWeb" which he had only made public domain from the NEXT computer in his lab at CERN in April of 1993. During this time, I could not help but resist being the first Paris collections-level designer to have our own space online for the world to begin to find and discover us. I learned html, designed the site to be as simple, fast and easy to read as possible, and put it up on a local server's domain address in Cambridge Massachussetts called (we couldn't get our own domain in those days). We were so excited about this brave new technology and community, and our own recycle and design technologies we were applying to fashion at that moment, that we felt for sure it had to form a part of our first menswear show and collection in Paris. Today, our site may seem old-looking and strangely low-tech (actually we kept it that way for a lot of reasons), and clearly Big-tech and the corporations have changed the internet game tremendously. Over the years since then, I have become, of course, increasingly disillusioned about much online, especially in regards to fashion, spying and personal privacy. But like many of the other things in this story that we have done, I put it up here for the record, that here too, we were pioneering things to the max, and that the "Homme Blue" collection and presentation in January 1996 was also a very historic one for our medium and would lead to even more innovation and development in the following seasons….

    In January 1995, we pioneered the first recycle design menswear collection to be presented in Paris, and a year later followed it up with the first men's recycled design runway show. In combination both a new non-decon approach to recycle design and our pioneering presence on the then brand new internet WorldWideWeb developed in our "Racer Futur" collections in mid-1995, the new men's "Homme bleu" January 1996 show featured an emphasis on showing the new streetwear spirit including the explorative uses of plastic, sport shoes, mesh, and vintage American college clothing on a Paris runway collection. The idea was quickly followed up in our June 1996 show entitled "American Casual Style" which featured the first skateboarders on a Paris runway, and some of the first uses of American camouflage print, military, workwear, college and casual sport basics for a Paris avant-garde collection. Designers working in Japan at the time like Jun Takahashi and Porter, went to town on this stuff in the Japanese market, and Raf Simons adopted it almost literally in his first collection show in Paris the following season. Above and below: coverage of both in Uomo Collezioni, Gap Japan and Germany's Textil Mitteilungen magazines

    Things were happening very fast now. Inspite of Anna Wintour's successful derailing of the independent designer movement in women's high fashion, the internet, other aspects of the industry, and a new growing creative movement towards menswear among smart avant-gardists was taking place, and we were at the forefront of it. Suddenly, people like Michele Montagne, the PR guru for Ann Demeulemeester, Helmut Lang and Costume National at the time, were pushing these designers into launching men's collections and doing mixed shows during the Paris women's week to minimize budget risks. We were working with the same PR (from hell) that was doing another very successful (and very good at the time) original Belgian Antwerp Six member named Dirk Bikkembergs who began doing the same thing as well. Important research and mainstream store owners in Europe who were famous for doing high fashion women's shops such as Stuttgart's Horst Wanschura, Munich's Rosy Maendler in Germany, Brescia's Roberta Valentini in Italy (Penelope), and Los Angeles's Charles Gallay in the U.S. opened Marktstrasse 8, Boyslife, and ChaGal respectively, all smaller branch stores dedicated to a new younger designer street-oriented customer. In most of these cases, a new men's street and skatewear consciousness was becoming a major focus and they were all buying from us. Margiela 6, Vivienne Westwood Man and Red Label, Bikkembergs by Bikkembergs, Junya Watanabe Man, Undercover, Masaki Matsushima, Shin Arakawa, Yuji Yamada, Mihara Yasuhiro, Helmut Lang Jeans and Dolce & Gabbana's new D&G were all coming into the market or on the near horizon.

    More importantly Asia went for it completely, driven by a new young-generation customer whose home economy was far less affected than his western counterparts. Hong Kong and Japan were the juggernauts with retailers like HK's Greenpeace (pre IT) and Nagoya's Midwest driving enormous new businesses based upon this movement. In the next few seasons with Midwest alone, we would produce and sell over 1 million dollars worth of our cutting-edge recycled design pieces at retail in Japan. And they were not alone, by 1997 our collection was being sold in over 40 cities in Japan. Fine Boys, a new men's fashion magazine dedicated to this new movement which had shot to one of the top rungs in Japanese fashion media was calling us the "number one designer for young boys in Japan." And the whole world, at least in regards to fashion designers and the industry, was watching.

    (to be continued )

    Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 11-15-2016 at 03:10 AM.

  6. #946


    (continued from above)

    with the PR from hell was up finally, so we began a search and negotiations for a new one. Paris PR agencies are generally a nightmare for designers, but by this time, I was learning some of the ropes, and was trying to choose even more carefully than before. One of the offices we had decided not to go with earlier was now becoming more and more powerful, and had helped catapult another member of the Antwerp Six to huge a new exposure level in yes, the new men's streetwear movement (to avoid too much controversy I am going to leave out names from this episode). They were a little mad at me for not having chosen to work with them previously, and had watched our progress since then, but nevertheless one of the 2 partners agreed to see me for a meeting in Paris after our women's show in March 1996. The agency was getting very big and their demands seemed out of my reach, the money budget was one thing but the real problem was that they wanted no less than 5 duplicate press sample collections to house in their pressroom. Our samples were always pure art piece prototypes (even today) and we don't do duplicates of them. Logistically, financially, and artistically it just never made sense for us. I understood their reasons though, the same dress or jacket could be sent out to 5 different magazines in Italy, Paris, London, Tokyo for example, all at the same time, and be generating editorial coverage in amazing efficiency and quantities. And that is what they were doing with their "Antwerp 6" star at the time. I mean it was like a Kim Kardashian thing for the fashion press. All over the planet. In fact, it was too much for me, and I informed the guy that I had to think about it, but probably would not be able to provide all those duplicate samples they wanted. I was coming from an older-school-more-organic approach to press and image, more along the lines of other members of the Antwerp 6 like Demeulemeester, Dries and Bikkembergs who took years before they began to ramp up their press investments and efforts to this kind of level.

    One thing we did agree on though was our latest men's collection. I brought a full presentation book of "Homme Bleu" with front and back photos of every single design article in the collection and all the runway look photos as well, and the guy loved it. He was so interested in it, I enjoyed discussing everything from the philosophy to the materials and of course, the recycle techniques that we had innovated to create the collection. We spent about an hour looking over the collection photos, and only about 10 minutes on the budget and duplicate press samples issues, and I left thinking he was a pretty nice guy… but there was no way I was going to be trying build 5 duplicate press sample collections either before or in the 2-3 weeks right after Paris. We were so out there on the cutting-edge all the time, that it was hard enough just to make the one first prototype, let alone another 5. And that is still true today. Our Paris prototypes are our real art. And I don't believe in duping them. Besides I would need an army of about 35 tailors and assistant designers to be able to pull it off in the time frame necessary for the seasonal fashion magazine collection photo shooting schedules which are right during and after Paris. I left the office and eventually signed up with another PR who we ended up worked with for the next 7 years.

    At just about the same time, Linda Loppa was pushing one of her star students from Antwerp. In Milan, she searched out the super-agent (whom Carol Christian Poell and we later worked with as well) who was behind Helmut Lang's long but steady climb from Zamasport to Gibo to super-stardom at the time and begged to have him sell the student's first professional collection. The agent agreed and sales were not very strong. But the student had an ego (probably blown-up by Loppa and the school) and after a month went back to Milan and into the super-agent's office and defiantly screamed "Where are my orders?!!" The super-agent booted him out forever, and the student, temporarily banned in Milan, decided to show the next time in Paris. The student went to the same PR office whom I had talked with that was working with the Kim Kardashian-level PR campaign for the "Antwerp 6" designer (who was another ex from Loppa's school), and unlike me, signed on with them. About 10 months later, the student came out with his first runway show in Paris during men's week in January 1997. He was the newest Antwerp thing at a time when you could be Ronald McDonald, but if you were coming out of Antwerp everybody would take you. By now, after a decade, the Antwerp 6 and Margiela had paved the way for a 2nd generation to have it easy for them. The press, the buyers, and the industry were all sucking Antwerp as quickly as it could arrive. The student hit it big with his first show. Inordinately big. The PR did their job. The ego hit the roof and would never come down (even today). And the stores bought it. But the student's collection that went out on the runway was ours. It was not recycled. But its look, colors, concept and spirit were a dead ringer for the "Homme Bleu" collection we had put out a year earlier. And I knew exactly where he got that collection… a one hour meeting 10 months ago in Paris with all of those photos and that nice guy in the office who was just loving that collection so much he couldn't stop looking at it and asking me about every single piece and how it was done. I still had some ropes to learn. I never looked at a big Paris PR the same way again. And I never respected that student as a designer, no matter how far and how high his career climbed, and his accolades as one of the "greats" piled up. To me, he was and remains nothing but a faker who was smart enough to get a good PR and play hype to the max and ride a wave that others before him had created. Literally.

    In the meantime, we were continuing on our own roll, pushing our recycle technology even further by introducing a new fusion of country style clothing and recycle techniques that we called "Neo-Country," which was presented in Paris in January and March 1997 setting record sales and press coverage, and amazingly ending up doing a world tour of exhibitions and performances in the US, Japan, and Hong Kong.

    1997 Article on "Neo-Country " written by Sarah Daglish. The collection examined non-urban elements for the first time such as corduroy, nordic and Irish sweater knits, bold plaids, flannel shirts, suedes and leathers reassembled in a modern new avant-garde street manner. The industry led by Prada loved it and copied the hell out of it within 2 seasons. And the skulls, well, I don't even want to begin to talk about where that went...

    In July 1997, we presented "Skag Boys" a very strong and very successful collection that expanded our designer streetwear concepts into a new dimension that continued our exploration of American recycled vintage clothing, workwear reproductions, and graphic use of tapes and zippers quickly picked up by many others including Raf Simons and Helmut Lang. We also introduced for the first time in Paris what we called a relaxed overlock stitch on the very successful no.24 trouser design and a slew of other pieces in the collection which sold all over the world in top research stores. The look of the stitch was later used and applied (albeit respectfully, with a different type of sewing machine) and became synonymous with the 1999 and early 2000's work of Austrian designer Carol Christian Poell--and other followers of his in the past decade.

    1997 Uomo Collezioni, Gap Japan and Sport & Street coverage of "Skag Boys" a successful collection that expanded our designer streetwear concepts into a new dimension continuing our exploration of American recycled vintage clothing, antique workwear reproductions, and graphic use of hoods tapes and zippers, vintage college prints and new stitch techniques that inspired many others.

    Our fundamental concept of recognizing a new young customer, continuously pushing limits of recycle-tailoring technique, intense creative research, and extraordinary pricing based on this technology had carried us far since bringing our first collection over to Paris in 1992 in a suitcase and knocking on doors of Paris stores. A new boom market in men's designer street was making itself present and we were well positioned at the forefront of it. But competition was heating up as the market expanded and so did a trend towards more commercial kinds of looks and lines from established Paris players like Paul Smith, Dries, and Comme Shirt and Homme Plus to brand new guys like Christophe Lemaire, Jose Levy and Paul & Joe, Joe Casely Hayford and Dexter Wong. At the same time, eccentric decon (deconstructionist) avant-garde was getting flooded with copies and look-alikes. And very soon, on the tails of D&G and Helmut Lang Jeans, the big sneaker and denim multinationals from New Balance, Puma and Adidas, to G-Star, Diesel and Levi's would come in to the fray as well, in a very big way. But we were far from done yet, and there was still a lot more up our sleeves coming up on the horizon.

    (to be continued)
    Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 11-15-2016 at 03:07 AM.

  7. #947


    (continued from above)

    March 1994 GBS recycle jacket with intarsia stitch
    detailing and label on outside of piece.

    IN 1993, we had begun putting our labels on the outside of our pieces. Our stated view was our fashion was art and art was fashion, and we believed in it enough to feel that we had the right to put our name on our work in a visible manner, just as a painter or a sculptor could sign or incise their name on their works. The phrase was then taken on by many others and has now become a rather bogus cliche. Likewise, other aspects of our ideas at the time as well.

    Early 1994 GBS recycle inside-out jacket with intarsia
    stitch detailing and label on outside of piece.

    One day in late 1994, I got an excited phone call from our dealer in Los Angeles at the time, the legendary Charles Gallay who had an amazing store on Melrose Avenue where our recycle-design clothes were becoming a phenomenon. He said a bunch of people had come into the store and bought a pile of our clothes and were raving about them. When the store rang up the sale, they paid for it with a company credit card imprinted with the name "Dolce & Gabbana SpA." Those people were designers and they were performing work which in the industry is known as "shopping," going around the world looking for new ideas, buying clothes from stores and using the purchases as research and copying material for new products and collections. Perfectly legal as there is no legal intellectual property protection in the world for fashion design, and happening all the time... a season later, Dolce & Gabbana launched a major new brand targeted at young streetwear male and female customers in a deal with Ittierre SpA called "D&G" that would skyrocket to sales of over 300 million dollars a year in less than a few seasons- with its new label placed on the outside of every single garment. By now we knew that people in the industry were watching us carefully, and that our ideas were not only ahead of their time, they were also extremely commercially viable in the hands of bigger companies with more resources and marketing power than we could access. It would not be the last time the Dolce & Gabbana people would pick up and profit on our innovations and research, over a decade later they would use our Napoleonic-style revolution work in the very same way and for the very same reasons.

    Above: After researching from our collections and buying pieces in stores like Gallay Melrose in LA, in 1996 Dolce & Gabbana's new line aimed at young streetwear male and female customers called "D&G" suddenly had labels on the outside of their pieces all over the place. When we saw it, we chalked it up to another lesson on how bogus so much of the designer industry really was. Other firms were making thousands of times more money on ideas that we were coming up with first and taking credit as well. But we were artisans. We didn't have time to complain much about it, we were too busy making the stuff ourselves working on new ideas and new pieces and trying to stay ahead of Comme, Yohji, Issey, the Belgians and a whole new wave of tough Japanese independent designers.

    At the same time, eccentric decon (deconstructionist) avant-garde was getting flooded with copies and look-alikes, especially in Japan where avant-garde designer competition was the toughest and most intense in the world. A new wave of Japanese guys including Jun Takahashi at Undercover, Masaki Matsushima, Shin Arakawa, Yuji Yamada, Mihara Yasuhiro and ever more younger designers there were putting out more and more eccentric ripped-up and deconstructive designs, and we felt compelled to respond accordingly from our side. There was also an exciting movement in animation, graphics, and music going on from artists like I Monster and Aphex Twin revolving around surrealistic monster-type futuristic themes which further inspired us. We knew decon was peaking, so we decided to make one last go with it, and let people know who really knew this technique.

    You see, we knew decon as well as anybody in the game. What Comme, Martin, Xuly and even Christopher Nemeth had pioneered in their initial collections, we had focused and expanded upon with over 10 solid seasons concentrating on taking apart and reforming over 15 thousand pieces of vintage and used clothing for Paris collection research stores all over the world. We knew or had developed just about every trick in the book when it came to deconstructivism. And we decided that season to let it fly with everything we've got.

    We named the collection "revolution" and developed an insane sound-track that conjured up a society in total revolt in your mind, and I told my staff to just go for it with every insane idea that they could possibly come up with and make a prototype from. I told them I wanted abstract exaggeration with no holds barred, and I knew that they were at a stage both technically and mentally to handle a new level creativity. And that's what we did.

    Above: coverage of our "revolution" Paris show in Gap Collections Japan. Our radical sunglass collection predated the ones used
    in "The Matrix" films by several years. Bless and others also later did a split design like the one above which merged 2 completely
    different frame designs into one and was based on the original twin-set techniques from our recycle design technologies.

    We were also launching our first collection of sunglasses that season that had a revolutionary story of shape distortion inspired by our clothing approach that were almost impossible to produce, we got them on the runway and all over the Asian and fashion catwalk press, and a few years later, bang-- the exact same-looking glasses showed up all over the movie "The Matrix." Another one of our ideas lifted by another big corporation with no credit or financial return... another one to chalk up.

    Our work with zippers, specifically metal with black tapes, as a primary design element, not just a detail was well-known and recognized by top buyers worldwide, and the most important one in all of Japan, pressed us to develop an extremely exaggerated story which predated a zillion other designers, even today's most current pieces by Hood by Air (see photos below).

    website and runway images of recent Hood by Air show with exaggerated zip-front leg trousers
    reminiscent of GBS Paris collection pieces shown almost 2 decades earlier (above upper spread right).

    THE PRESENTATION itself was nothing but controversy. A haunting soundtrack of crowds somewhere in Asia being riled up by a fiery speaker freaked-out the majority of french and western fashion press into complaining to Jean-Luc Dupont, our PR in Paris minutes after the show, the ridiculous idea that the show seemed to be portraying fascism (indeed we thought it was doing quite the opposite), while some Japanese buyers and journalists were bitching about our use of the group SMAP (who were clients of the collection) and other blatantly commercial pop artists as being uncool to young kids (they didn't get the intended sarcasm angle of the selection obviously)--continued to add to my disdain and distaste for fashion journalists in general.

    We developed many of the first ergonomic design work concepts in this collection as well, using intricately patterned pieces and inside and outside pinchseaming and darting extensively to shape, curve and distort limbs and body sections almost a decade before Aitor and half a decade before Carol and others. And we brought our intarsia drawing topstitch work further ahead as well along with experimental work with forms and shaping using felt and fleece taglio-vivo applications and brilliant metal jewelry design work by the Boston metalwork artist Brandon Sullivan and Paris shoe designer Ronald Pineau whose collection at the time "Ron Orb" was doing very smart work.

    Response to "revolution" was phenomenal, record sales through the roof, record press too, and suddenly a wave of Italian agents and production companies wanting to cut a deal to finance, produce and distribution our collection on a "Made in Italy" platform. We continued to do our recycle work in Boston for another 4 Paris collection seasons with a cleaner, "techy-er". less deconstructive aspect, but for me, these collections were less interesting overall, although they sold very well and continued to evolve important new approaches, techniques and elements.

    Our radical collections for both remake and designer streetwear were extremely inspiring to the entire industry, to say the least, and people who were there during that period know the impact and their influence very very well. And they were successful--enabling us to transition eventually from our Kingston Street operations in Boston's Chinatown district to the heart of the world designer production industry in Italy's Veneto region where we are now able to work today at the highest levels.

    But we don't do streetwear anymore. And for some very good reasons...

    (to be continued)


  8. #948



    We will be back with the next installment of our series shortly.
    In the meantime, a word from some of our kind sponsors:

  9. #949

  10. #950


    I hope all you guys are doing really well.

    A few hours ago I received an Email from Zam Barrett (ZFactorie) on Artisanal fashion. I thought perhaps you would be interested to know that your name was mentioned. :)

    Here have a read:

  11. #951


    Geoffrey, will you be posting images up here after the show?

    Best of luck tomorrow!! :)
    Hope you and your team all the best!

  12. #952


    Wow. I've only seen the low res videos from Instagram, but the collection looks AMAZING, Geoffrey!

  13. #953

    Default Geoffrey B. Small in The New Order no. 16

    Thank you, our Paris campaign including the show was extremely successful and the firm continues to grow, which unfortunately leaves me less and less time for posting as I wish I could. I think I can say that our live shows are achieving an incredible level of human artistic presentation. This season's audience was exposed to a live opera performance by Brad Sisk of William Blake poems as arranged by four different composers. The translation to mere images on photo or video recordings just does not do justice. Ask those who were there. But we are only beginning. March will be next. In the meantime, we are very thankful for an amazing new feature article and interview by Christophe Victoor with photos by Zelinda Zanichelli just out now in The New Order Magazine no.16 published in Japan and reprinted here below (sorry for the overlarge sizing but it seems the only way to get the text to be legible). The discussion covers some of the ramifications or our phenomenal growth over the past few years and where it is taking us. The dream continues. Thanks to everyone. Best wishes, Geoffrey & the Team

  14. #954

    Default (continued from above) Geoffrey B. Small in The New Order no. 16

    an audio transcript of the interview is available for download here:


  15. #955


    Thank you Geoffrey!

    Those who struggle to read the text, please right-click any image and choose "Open in the new tab", should work in any desktop browser.

  16. #956


    The interview and information was very informative. I'm kind struggling to see how we can even begin to be optimistic for our future generations considering the scale of environmental pollution. People who deny the trajectory of climate change can not deny the impact of pollution, top soil degradation, plastic islands, water contaminatio leading to mass extinctions of fish species and coral reefs. The desire to remove the Sacred bond of mother natures provisions from our conscious descion making has been utterly disastrous. What makes this entire thing even worse is poverty and the inevitable desire for mass "cheap" consumerism. Everyone is looking to purchase for less and are none the wiser. It's a vicious cycle of willingness to embrace perceived innovations compounded by the equal lack of willingness to take responsibility for the by-products causing irrevocable harms. Instant gratification. Shop till you drop impulse buying. Throw away culture.

  17. #957

    Default stay positive

    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo1990 View Post
    The interview and information was very informative. I'm kind struggling to see how we can even begin to be optimistic for our future generations considering the scale of environmental pollution. People who deny the trajectory of climate change can not deny the impact of pollution, top soil degradation, plastic islands, water contaminatio leading to mass extinctions of fish species and coral reefs. The desire to remove the Sacred bond of mother natures provisions from our conscious descion making has been utterly disastrous. What makes this entire thing even worse is poverty and the inevitable desire for mass "cheap" consumerism. Everyone is looking to purchase for less and are none the wiser. It's a vicious cycle of willingness to embrace perceived innovations compounded by the equal lack of willingness to take responsibility for the by-products causing irrevocable harms. Instant gratification. Shop till you drop impulse buying. Throw away culture.
    Dear newp,
    Thank you for the image viewing tip and all of your other help as well. It was great to meet you in Paris.

    Dear Mojo1990,
    agreed... but it is still very important to be optimistic. Winners never quit and quitters never win. For the purpose of survival of the species, we intend to win. And the people driving the consumerism are already beginning to fail. Just read the hilarious chaos that BoF is putting over the past few months and it is blatantly clear that the people behind the wheel of the machine are becoming increasingly lost and clueless. And more importantly for them, they are beginning to lose serious money. And that is their vulnerability--their greed and their obligation to the even greater greed of their stockholders. The simple fact that you are able to voice these points on what is now by far and away the leading fashion and design forum for the industry right now is also proof positive that things can and are changing. I will remind many that back in 2007, ten years ago, there was only one single designer voice in this entire industry not only talking about these things but risking his entire Paris avant-garde collection business and reputation on them. Me. Now nine years later after all the ignoring, and then all the crap we took--just look at them all! Suddenly, they have become so "political," so "activist," and, oh yes... so sustainable.... McKinsey, the same corporate management consultants who along with Bain Co. and others that got more than half of the Fortune 500 to lay off 150 million American workers in the 1980's and 1990's and move us and the rest of the industrialized world into the global slavery game is now putting out fancy reports to their clients like H&M on how "fast fashion can become sustainable." LVMH in a recent Harvard Business Review piece, and Kering with their self-titled sustainability corporate office and directors, are also trying their best to now suddenly convince the world how sustainable they are trying to be too. And now that even all those tens of millions of middle-class Chinese tourists who have been keeping their businesses artificially propped up over the past decade are also waking up to these company's global-corporate-fashion-luxury ripoff like everybody else on the planet, and are no longer buying their container loads of plastic creations from cookie-cutter Hollywood-studio-manufactured-puppet designers, the numbers are crashing. I mean only the most incredibly incompetent management could be responsible today for taking so many of the most stable names and profitable firms in the field (to respectfully protect the guilty, I withhold any names here) and within a few short years turning them into big money losers. How do you get them to lose so much money? Perhaps a few too many buyers and merchandisers are too busy taking selfies and promoting themselves on Instagram to do their job anymore (, or their CEO's and brand directors have no idea what their numbers are really telling them and can't tell the difference between cashmere and plastic and why a customer will pay gladly a lot of money for one and not the other. It's all a big circle full of people who are chasing numbers and press all the time, but are actually clueless about what makes this game work. So, when it comes to the product, the clothes, the metier, the skills, the environment, the sustainability, the ethics, the basic overall goodwill and service to the human condition and community and the nature with which it all must depend upon to exist... well, that's a bit too much for these people to be able deal with at all, let alone with any competence. No wonder fashion weeks are getting more and more meager when it comes to real ideas, real clothes, and real reasons to buy them. So, the big question is when will somebody please just get these financiers, accountants, Big-Tech, and MBA-don't-know-how-to-make-anything-on-my-own-management people out of this business? And every other industry as well. The problem isn't the pollution. The problem is the people who are creating it to make a living and keep their very highly paid and comfy jobs because they do not know any other way to be able to do so. They are dependency addicts of an economic industrial system that doesn't work and is in fact, flushing the rest of us down the toilet and themselves as well. They need to be sent back to school to learn a new "business model" for the human race and the planet. And a new way to look at what life, and work, is really all about. And I believe it is happening. Look at the musical chairs game going on inside all of these corporations right now involving both designers and head managers of brands. What a joke. Like hoping that pulling a pitcher in the 9th inning of a single baseball game is going to change a loser team that needs years of rebuilding from scratch. To do that, you don't just change the pitcher. Maybe you can change the coach. But above all, you need to change the ownership--its attitude and its priorities.

    And of course, if all else fails, well then, it's going to be shakeout time around the corner.
    And perhaps, not a moment too soon.

    So Mojo1990, and anybody else out there who is paying attention and gives a damn, hang in there. Vote with your purchases, and your investments. Don't fall for the greenwashing of the corporations or their sycophant designers and media lackeys, and spread the word. One by one, we can, and are, changing things from the ground up, believe me. It's happening. On that note, and in the interests of providing an alternative and far superior option for readers to follow and put their money into, I am very happy to inform that we will soon be posting an exclusive SZ only report on our recent Paris collection presentation with photos of all passages. Chin up. Stay tuned...

  18. #958

    Default Geoffrey B. Small "secrets" in Paris


    GEOFFREY B. SMALL exclusive on StyleZeitgeist:

    "secrets" men's autumn/winter 2017-18
    paris collection presentation

    "secrets" geoffrey b. small men's autumn/winter MMXVII paris collection presentation was presented on Saturday evening 21, January in the Salle Philae at the Espace Saint Martin. The show featured a live opera acapella performance of Songs of Experience by William Blake by Brad Carlton Sisk with compositions by Alexandra Pierce, Arthur Farwell, John Bailey and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and led off with the singer going down the runway in the opposite direction rolling out both his incredible human voice and a dramatic 25-meter long special Italian Varese cotton hooded cape design created by the designer to its full-extended length alongside the catwalk path.

    The collection concept hinted at things and truths that are hidden and not openly expressed. That perhaps things in fact, are not always the way they appear to be-- and focused on the pocket as the center-point of the extreme handmade collection's design research. Intriguing new pocket designs, shapes and constructions all based upon impeccable hand-tailoring and classic clothing forms ran through the entire collection. Numerous extremely technical and challenging technologies were developed at the designer's Via Spalato workrooms at Cavarzere Venezia for the new collection, including first-in-the-world circular-welt, diagonal-welt, ruffled-welt, curved-welt and triangle-welt besom pocket designs which appeared in the collection with a variety of beautiful new cutting-edge research fabric collections using superfine cashmere, super 210's Zenith 13-micron and super 180's Ecstasy 14.5 micron Piacenza wools, alpaca, merino, Biella tasmanian super 120's wool, silk, linen, cotton and ramie... all created exclusively for GBS from our amazing top made-in-Italy-fabric-creation partners including Fratelli Piacenza, La Colombina (which developed a whole new finer-yarn higher-gauge level of hand-loom cloths for the collection), Luigi Parisotto, Zucchetti, Moessmer and others. The collection also featured an array of new hand dyeing and fabric treatment techniques, as well as fantastic hidden super-lux silk and viscose lining stories (not visible on the runway) in collaboration with Como's greatest lining fabric-makers (Tintunita, Ezio Ghiringhelli and Tessitura Mauri), secret pockets on selected garments, incredible new burnt-sandblasted-tinted-and engraved horn and incision-cut mother of pearl buttons from Claudio and Cinzia Fontana only for GBS, an extensive new advanced design handmade shirt collection in pure white L.Parisotto super 120's double-twist Venezia luxury cotton shirting, and more specialized handwork and detailing than ever.

    In the showroom, the collection, GBS's 98th Paris collection to date, set another new all-time record for order bookings and sales for a single collection. Many thanks go out to all of our worldwide dealers for their exceptional support and collaboration to help us get this far in what many were calling a very difficult season for the industry in general. We look forward to working with each of our dealers on a very successful AW2017 season in the stores as well as the showroom.

    While it is impossible to fully capture and reproduce the exquisite beauty and the human emotion of the live in-person experience of the show itself, to try give some idea of the what the show was like-- we have finally assembled a full presentation of our own house photo images of the entire show exclusively for StyleZeitgeist here on the GBS designer thread for your viewing...

    We hope you enjoy it.

    Best wishes, Geoffrey & the team

  19. #959

  20. #960

    Default (continued from preceding page) Geoffrey B. Small "secrets" in Paris

    Last edited by Geoffrey B. Small; 02-10-2017 at 12:37 AM.

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