Is Heron Preston the new Off-White?
Heron Preston is whizzing along in fashion’s fast lane, staking its claim as one of today’s most directional labels, a mix of streetwear, workwear and couture. It was launched in early 2017 by the eponymous US designer and by the New Guards Group. In two years, it has reached a revenue of €25 million, and is distributed via its own e-shop and some 200 multibrand retailers worldwide.
The label will feature on the Paris Men’s Fashion Week calendar next January, and has recently reached another major milestone, opening in Hong Kong its first monobrand store. It is located at 55 Paterson Street in the Causeway Bay district, just a stone’s throw from the Off-White and Palm Angels stores, two other labels in NGG’s stable. The Italian fashion group, founded in Milan by Claudio Antonioli, Davide De Giglio and Marcelo Burlon, also owns the Marcelo Burlon County of Milan, Palm Unravel Project, Alanui and A_Plan_Application labels.
Heron Preston recently launched another project, a collaboration with Carhartt WIP (Work In Progress), the European licensee and distributor of the US benchmark streetwear label. For the US designer, DJ and eclectic artist it means going back to his roots, since he started out by making stylised sketches of the most iconic Carhartt WIP jackets on his own website.
“I became a Carhartt fan when I arrived in New York in 2004. I noticed that [Carhartt] wasn’t worn by factory workers only, it was a label that transcended cultures. In my opinion, it is one of the first apparel labels that is authentic as opposed to fashionable, endorsed by street culture (...), one I have identified with for nearly two decades,” said Heron Preston in a press release.
The 18-model Heron Preston x Carhartt collection is available at selected retailers and on the label’s website. It features classic workwear items like t-shirts, gilets, multi-pocket jackets, trousers with knee patches, bum bags and a crystal-decorated hat, at prices ranging from $249 to $958. The garments feature some of Heron Preston’s hallmark traits, with camo fabrics and day-glo orange the dominant colour, and they look worked-in, splattered with paint smears, the sign of a manual labourer’s hard graft.
“Heron is a friend of Virgil Abloh. We liked him and had the idea of launching Heron Preston, owned by NGG. It is one of the group’s fastest growing brands, with Off-White and Palm Angels. We have great belief in him and in his potential,” Claudio Antonioli, one of NGG’s founders and directors, told FashionNetwork.com.
“Heron Preston does a street wardrobe that eschews streetwear’s former volumes. A collaboration with Nike will soon be dropped in Paris. With him, we are virtually following the same route we did with Off-White,” added Antonioli.
San Francisco-born Preston, 35, who now divides his time between Milan and New York, has come a long way. He moved to New York aged 20, in 2003 he designed a set of recycled t-shirts he silkscreen-printed independently, then studied at the Parsons School of Design, which he left in 2008 with a diploma in his pocket. His early days in New York inspired him to publish an album of photo portraits of New Yorkers that was snapped up by Nike, which then hired Preston as digital producer.
At Nike he met Virgil Abloh, and with him and other emerging designers he founded the Been Trill collective label. One thing led to another, and he became the Creative Director for Kanye West. In 2016, Preston became a fully fledged fashion designer by launching the UNIFORM collection, created in a collaboration with the New York City Department of Sanitation, with which he explored the issues of recycling and sustainability, producing a series of uniforms recycled from those of the city’s street sweepers. Then came more collaborations, with Nasa, Off-White, Nike and now Carhartt.
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