FIT Menswear graduates Auston Bjorkman and Freddy Dico are the powerhouse designers behind the high fashion menswear label Sir New York, a sleek and modern line that The New Gay blog hailed as “a great antidote to citified male attire that tends to drift toward banality.” Sir New York has been creating quite a buzz in the fashion industry and their most recent collections have certainly caught dapperQ’s attention. After reading more about Auston (pictured in the photo immediately below) in the trans male quarterly Original Plumbing, I invited him to share some of his thoughts on fashion with our dapperQ community.
dapperQ: How did you get into fashion design?
Auston: It started with my own frustrations of being a small person not being
able to fit into standard men’s off-the-rack sizing. I started
altering things to get a better fit for myself. I am an avid thrifter
and vintage shopper, and I sort of just taught myself how to sew in
order to wear all my great finds. I then started working for Mr. S
Leather in San Francisco, making latex
and leather. Eventually I started making things for myself and
friends. I realized I needed to learn how to actually make patterns to
execute my designs. So, I started taking classes in San Francisco, but
found that when you study fashion, you only learn women’s wear. I did some
research and found out that FIT [Fashion Institute of Technology] here
in New York City has one of the only Menswear Design programs in the
country. So, I moved here to study, and did my internships with ThomBrowne and Loden Dager.
dapperQ: Can you tell me a bit about the history and evolution of Sir New York?
Auston: I went to FIT, where I met Freddy, my design/business partner. He and I both had previously started our own labels, but realized that we wanted to study menswear and deepen our knowledge specifically in menswear. He is a very androgynous guy who often wears women’s clothes and has a deeper appreciation for clothing and identity as well.
dapperQ: Can you describe Sir New York style?
Auston: We call it athleticism with a hint of provocation. We very much want it to be relatable and accessible by playing with sportswear that can be either dressed up or down. We also play with texture through layering and using mesh to create new patterns and prints while keeping the palate simple, clean and sophisticated. My [business] partner Freddy and I both design from a stand point of menswear for all genders, because everyone wears “men’s” clothing.
dapperQ: Do you have any muses? Fashion icons?
Auston: [Laughs]. Not really. For this last season we took our influences from archery and race car driving. We try to combine a masculine sport with an elegant one, to get a kind of nerdy, yet tough masculinity; a sort of understatedness, yet, with a little bit of sexy.
dapperQ: Do you feel that being trans influences your designs?
Auston: No. Not my designs, per se. But they way I feel about clothing perhaps. And fit.
dapperQ: Can you elaborate?
Auston: Well, designing comes from just being a creative, visual person. I am inspired by color, texture, light, shadow, design etc.; things all people are inspired by. But, I do have a deeper personal understanding of how clothing is a huge part of identity and how something fits, or hangs, or clings a certain way can make a person feel.
dapperQ: You mentioned fit. Many of our readers face challenges with finding clothes that fit. Do you have any recommendations?
Auston: Well, I am a stickler for fit!! If you find something you really love but it’s too big, please spend a few extra dollars and take it to your local tailor. Getting things taken in or shortened really doesn’t cost as much as you might think. You will thank yourself. There is no better feeling than to actually have clothes you love that fit you well.
dapperQ: How does one transgress masculine fashion well?
Auston: Have fun with clothes, play dress up, try new things and never mind if its in the women’s or men’s section no matter your gender or identity. If you like it, that is what matters. Any good wardrobe has your basics classic pieces and your fun, “signature,” more playful pieces. Try mixing and matching prints and patterns, stripes and checks. Sometimes the best combos are things you think might not really go with one another. When your eye has texture, color, prints or stripes, it’s much more fun and interesting to look at. It can be really subtle changes or a mix of bold and exciting. Make it your own. Have fun.
dapperQ: How has your own personal style evolved?
Auston: In exactly this manner: having fun and trying lots of looks. Just not being afraid of clothes nor what people think.
dapperQ: Do you see fashion as being political? If so, how?
Auston: It can be and has been in so many cases, and throughout time. Fashion makes statements based on current events, situations, etc.
dapperQ: Enough business. You’re HOT! Where can our readers find you hanging out during your leisure time?
Auston: [Laughs]. Aww thank you. Well, as you can imagine, I work a lot. It’s tough to start your own company. I also work at JOE coffee on Waverly and Gay Street in the West Village. And, when I need to go out and blow off steam I like to go to Greenhouse/Vandam on Sunday’s to dance.
dapperQ: Well, I was going to offer to buy you a coffee as a token of dapperQ’s appreciation of your time. But, I assume you get enough coffee! Is there anything you’d like to share with me or our readers in closing?
Auston: We all have a place in fashion. It’s not just for the rich or elite or skinny or fashionistas. Everyone deserves to look and feel good in their skin and in their clothes.
To purchase Sir New York apparel, shop their website or visit International Playground, which will be carrying the Sir New York Spring 2011 collection:
13 Stanton Street
New York, NY 10002
Sir New York is also firing up their fundraising efforts to help bring in resources for production. Please help support Sir New York by donating at their Kickstarter link.
And, don’t forget to check out the amazing images on Auston’s blog!
Photos courtesy Sir New York