The Line to Watch: O.A.M.C. Marries Old-World Design Methods and Modern Style
"Even though it works, maybe it doesn't have to look like it works."
Luke Meier started Over All MasterCloth (now dubbed O.A.M.C.) last year with the help of his best friend, Chris Gibbs—but the vision goes way back. The idea was simple: to fuse all-American workwear with the luxury of European craftsmanship. The two, who are both Canadian, met in the mid-nineties through New York City's downtown skate scene: Meier was putting off using his degree in finance, while Gibbs was completing business school at Baruch and folding shirts at Manhattan's now-shuttered streetwear mecca Union.
They knew they were witnessing something unprecedented in the aesthetic on the sidewalks. "It was all very individual," Gibbs explains. "Instead of a sports-team T-shirt, you could get one with a Public Enemy quote." Gibbs now owns Union's Los Angeles outpost, traveling the globe—most frequently to Japan—to stock his shelves with an unparalleled edit of lines, including Visvim and Sacai. Meier went on to study at FIT and became head designer at Supreme (among the earliest brands to call what skaters were wearing fashion). Almost as soon as he had the idea for O.A.M.C., he tapped Gibbs to be his right-hand man. "Chris is extremely honest, and he'll never bring in pieces just because they're good for sales," Meier says. Today, Gibbs serves as marketing director and design consultant, and Meier, as creative director, works with Italian and French craftsmen on quality control. Occasionally, Meier will make a case for eschewing the European methods of, say, sewing shoulders in favor of an industrialized method invented in Detroit. The synthesis of the old- and new-world approaches is evident in the extra pockets on a lightweight nylon derivative of a chore jacket. "When you really boil workwear down, it's about utility," Meier says. "But even though it works, maybe it doesn't have to look
like it works." (Two looks from the Spring 2014 collection, below.)
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Photograph courtesy of Jeremy Liebman.
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