NYFW: FRAME combines womenswear and menswear for the first time
Since 2012, FRAME has been a go-to denim brand for off-duty models. Fast forward to 2017, and the fashion house is creating four ready-to-wear collections a year. How is the Fall/Winter 2017 presentation historic, you ask? It's the first time founders Jens Grede and Erik Torstensson decided to combine FRAME's womenswear and menswear collections -- and it worked.
The men's collection stayed largely true to the brand's roots with denim at its core, while the women's pieces strayed just far enough, with a midi-leather trench stealing the show.
I had the chance to speak with Erik Torstensson during the presentation at Robert Miller Gallery Monday, and he revealed why he and Grede thought it was the right time for the momentous venture -- and he named two big stars who he hopes to one day see in their designs.
Check out our conversation below:
Why did you both feel it was the right time to present womenswear and menswear together?
Well, we used to do presentations in New York, and we stopped for a while because we were all about denim. Now, our offering is almost 50/50 denim and ready-to-wear, so we thought it was a good time to talk about FRAME as a ready-to-wear brand and not just a denim brand -- hence the decision to make a presentation at all -- and then you add the men's [collection] to that, because men's is something fairly new for us. We'd been doing just denim before, but now it's the first time we had sort of a total look -- and it went quite nicely with the women's [collection]. We thought we could present our core, which is women's, and the boyfriend to go with it. [Menswear] is more difficult for us, because we have to do it for ourselves.
What's the dynamic like between the two of you? What distinct roles do you play in conceptualizing the designs?
Jens and myself have worked together for 19 years -- maybe. We've had many companies together, FRAME is one project and there [are] many other projects on the way. We always say he's a creative entrepreneur and I'm an entrepreneurial creative. It's very hard to say how things happen, it's just very quick and shorthand -- and most of all, we have several partners in FRAME. It's a fantastic team, everyone works very well together. Of course there's one creative direction we sort of follow all the time, [with] one foot in the '70s and one foot in where we are now. And then we just try to design clothes for the women [who] surround us.
Speaking of, if you had to pick one famous face who hasn't worn your designs yet, who would be your dream girl -- or guy?
Women, I think we've had most of them by now. I haven't [seen] a picture of Angelina Jolie in our jeans, which I would love. Or Anna Wintour, who never wears jeans. For men's, I would like Jack Nicholson to wear them. Men whose lives we want to have lived.
You [and Jens] describe your overall aesthetic as "dressed up casual." What does that mean to you?
We want to be able to make every moment chic, if that makes sense. And everything should also look effortless, which is the casual -- and I think the dressed-up is the chic part. So if you cross that together, we should be able to travel with our woman from morning to night -- if it's professional or leisure, whatever it is. That is sort of the challenge. We actually like making clothes that people like to wear. FRAME only exists because we looked at the women who surround us, and this is what people wear. They don't wear so much of the other stuff. It's really great for the 1 percent of the people, but FRAME is jeans and black and navy and denim -- that's what we want to do and what we love doing.
What would you say is a no-no to wear with denim?
I think you can wear anything with denim! I must believe that, because I want to sell a lot of denim. There [are] a few things in the world -- like denim, maybe Converse All-Stars and Ray-Ban -- that transcend anything. You can wear Ray-Bans to a tuxedo party, you can wear Converse [with] a suit and you can wear denim with anything. So it's iconic, right?
See both of the collections in the gallery above.