• UO Studio Visits: Lewis Scott

    This week, designer and streetwear entrepreneur Lewis Scott will be at ComplexCon at UO’s One-of-a-Kind Booth, creating custom-made pieces that you can’t find anywhere else. Scott creates unique garments cut and sewn from blends of cotton and hemp in his Los Angeles workshop. His personal clothing line, “Clothes America” launched with the A/W 2016 collection. He is a founding member of the multidisciplinary artist network, Real Ideal. 

    You can find Lewis at UO's One-of-a-Kind Booth at ComplexCon, November 5th and 6th. Stop by the UO shopping experience at ComplexCon for exclusive early access to our latest Nautica + UO collection and our Urban Outfitters One-of-a-Kind booth for exclusive, custom-made pieces. 

    Can you tell us about yourself and your background? 
    I was born and raised in New York City. I moved to Redlands, California to attend the University of Redlands where I enrolled in the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies for two years. That’s where I met some very important people in my life, including Benji Stein and Zach “Baph” Lindh. You can find both of them on Instagram and or Soundcloud, forrealideal and Baph (apeonadot) respectively. We are the founders of Real Ideal. I attended university for two years, dropped out, then attended classes at LATTC in downtown LA.

    In addition to launching your own line, Clothes America, you recently helped co-found the artist collective Real Ideal. Can you tell us about Real Ideal? How did the idea come about? 
    Real Ideal is a multi-genre content label that was conceptualized with the help of many people but the core people were Benji, Baph and I. The Internet is here, the world is more connected than ever. We are the last generation to have been kids while the internet was first starting up and then to be adults with its proliferation bringing us instant access to a lot of information. 

    And so, when Baph, Benji, and I got to together, we philosophized on this great shift in connectivity and what it would mean for the future. I mean it’s truly profound, the way the world is turning. Growing up in our generation, we can’t trust regular jobs to be our life. We wanted to ‘put a stamp on it’, so to speak, so as to show you. However, it’s not like Real Ideal represents the whole paradigm shift, but it’s just another drop in the wave if you feel me.

    When did you first get into clothing and style? 
    When I was a kid I always pushed myself to look different somehow. That probably reflected in my style. But I didn’t start thinking about clothes and fashion in depth until the founding of Real Ideal.

    Are there any style icons that you’ve looked to for inspiration over the years? 
    I’m not so much interested in style as I am design. I’m influenced by styles I see in the streets, in the style of the music I listen to, and by my friends’ styles. There isn’t one source of inspiration besides, like, myself. I’m constantly appreciating other fashion designers work though. The new wave of fashion is incredible, it’s a great time to be alive.

    When did you first start creating your own clothing? Can you tell us about the first garment you ever made? 
    May of my freshman year of college. I had attended screen printing class. I had practiced a little sewing, in the custom design shop. I got a sewing machine and had purchased my first fabric, some really nice, soft Hawaiian cotton lightweight jersey knit. I dropped a tab. I was convinced I could just make this garment, just think it through. I took apart a shirt placed it on the the cotton cut it, elongated it little bit, sewed it together, and puts some dangly pieces on the side seam so it had this little tail. It was actually kinda lit, you could never wash it because it would fall apart, but I had made my own shirt.

    Can you walk us through the process of creating a new piece? 
    First you get inspired. Sometimes it’s external inspiration or internal inspiration. Sometimes its your favorite pieces you want to recreate, or sometimes its a color you had a dream about. Then you start with an intention. Intention is the only thing holding a piece together, it’s the only thing that holds silhouette with utility, with graphic, with color, with material… intention is the glue of all these elements. Then it’s perfection. Just make it perfect as quick as possible as soon as possible.

    What’s the hardest part about working with clothing? How do you overcome this? 
    Clothes are easy. there is a lot of jargon and know-how that just takes time and practice, but clothes are easy, it’s me that I have to overcome. You have to know what you want and not let yourself get in the way of yourself.

    You work a lot with hemp. What do you like about the material? 
    Mmmmm I love hemp. I don’t know what’s not to like about hemp. First and foremost, hemp makes a great product, and as the industrialization of hemp in the country continues, it’s only going to become a better product. My hemp-cotton fleece is so warm and protective, it’s hand might not be as fluffy as 100%, but it drapes differently and just feels like it’s actually there. It’s hard to explain. It’s an experience more people should enjoy. I don’t know, I just love wiping my face on hemp, it’s so satisfying. Hemp is also great agriculturally, it actually enriches the ground with nitrogen and grows faster than other weeds, so it weeds the soil. As a rotational crop, it’s amazing. It requires no pesticides and has been shown to actually increase the yield of the other rotated crop and reduce usage of pesticides. 

    Its history in the United States of America and the U.S.’s influence around the world cannot be ignored. The U.S. loved hemp until prohibition and then it was like this deadly sin. In actuality, hemp was a competitor to tree farming, industrial metal producers, of course cotton, and chemical companies. They couldn’t use bleach on hemp because hemp doesn’t respond to bleach, only cotton does. Apparently they weren’t trying to compete, so they all got together and conspired against hemp producers and the general public by demonizing it by associating it with smokable cannabis (hemp is a cannabis plant, but it cannot be smoked). When I use hemp I’m accessing this history.

    Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to streetwear and design? 
    I think mostly just the consumer market. It’s always this fight to be the front of the wave, but at the end of the day, the wave is only as fun as the people make it. An individualist sense of style is hard to find sometimes, or as often as I’d expect. I have respect for people who have their own style and see it through even if it’s only for a little bit.

    What will you be making for us at ComplexCon? 
    You’ll get to choose two garments with the same cut but different colors. I cut them in half and sew them up.

    Any words of advice for someone just starting out? 

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