November 26, 2014

Punk Jock: A Chat with RosenMunns

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When we first spotted the fall 2010 collection from San Francisco-based label RosenMunns, we knew but one thing: we had to know more. For starters, the baggy, unisex gear from designers Sydney Rose and Ashley Munns is quite unlike anything we’ve seen lately. Second, we weren’t at all sure we got it (whatever getting it ever really means). After all, you can’t nicely plop clothes like these in a specific mental category, wipe your hands and be done with it. And while we won’t claim that we fully grasped the context from which these garments burst forth, we do know that we kept staring, finally closed the lookbook, but came back again later, at which point, more staring ensued. And thus, we decided to stop with the picture-peeping and check in with Rose and Munns. Read on for the artist-turned-designer duo’s thoughts on their punk-meets-jock style, San Francisco fashion and the importance of being cozy.

What is the fall line all about? We’re detecting an urban, athletic-meets-bohemian vibe. Is that at all what you were trying to convey?

We just wanted to present all the great fabrics we sourced in SF all at once and in a unique way.  We had woods and wood and camo and sport in mind, and then put it all through the RosenMunns filter, which adds psychedelic, artistic and humorous whimsy.  We ran with the idea of a refined version of what we wanted to wear everyday:  comfortable layers and textures that are interesting to observe and to wear.  High-sport or art-camp or that-place-where-the-punk’s-fist-meets-the-jocks-jaw could also describe this collection.

What new ideas or concepts were you playing with in creating the fall collection?

Conceptually, we introduce our halfpants as a poke at the social pressure to dress up.  The halfpant is half sweats and half khaki pants and always appropriate.  The camouflage and wood grain prints and textures paired with expected hunters’ orange and unexpected silver glitter illustrate the social dichotomy of fitting in and standing out – and also to hunt and be hunted.  Another inspiration is camp:  specifically, that magical time in adolescence when girls and boys are still the same but on the verge of change, when you go to summer camp and get ready for Fall and the new school year (or Fall fashion season). Concepts aside, these pieces are like art collages on their own and then together. Starting from an art background (instead of a fashion background), we always place heavy weight on the composition and sensory experience of each garment, such as the cozy tactile fabrics flipped inside outside and the patchwork of complimentary colors and dimensional fabrics.

Is this the first time you’ve designed pieces for men?

No, men have always bought our clothes, which we love.  We realized that store buyers weren’t automatically associating RosenMunns with unisex, so we decided to make it more obvious this season.  We want all of our campers to have an even and fair chance as they go out to play.

You’re based in San Francisco. Do you like being San Francisco-based designers? How does being located here influence, enhance or present challenges to the work you do?

We love San Francisco. We source our inspirations and fabrics and models and everything in San Francisco and make all of our pieces in San Francisco.  This city provides endless inspiration and a fresh perspective 0n fashion, but, unfortunately, San Francisco sort of offers limited exposure and experience (in comparison to NYC, London, Paris).  We are answering these questions in New York, where we come each season to find kindred shop owners and people.  We are here, during a truly dismal time for the economy of fashion, to spread a message of humor and optimism from RosenMunns, San Francisco. Wherever we are, we try to let our clothing do the talking, and we hope it says:  We are from San Francisco. We are crazy, beautiful, on drugs, healthy, kind, standoffish, brainy, flighty, funny, punky, clubby, tranny, hippy, trippy, and we need our coffee.

Photography by Luis Mendoza for RosenMunns

Want to see RosenMunns for yourself? Find the label at San Francisco stores Anica, M.A.C (Modern Appealing Clothing) and American Rag Cie.

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