TAKE A SEAT: Viewers of the long-running TV show “Hoarders” may be dismayed by the obsessive collecting habits of the people featured on the documentary. If they knew that the pathology could yield an interesting collaboration like the one created by men’s clothing label Longjourney and furniture designer Stephen Kenn, then they might encourage more of it.
“We buy tons of leather jackets,” said Alonzo Ester, who designs Los Angeles-based Longjourney with Alex Carapetian. “Our motto is to save everything.”
Patches of black leather and suede were stitched together as covers of cushions set on dark parachute cords and leather straps buckled to blackened steel armchairs. For the olive green sofa stretching almost nine feet long, Ester, Carapetian and Kenn cut up old sweatshirts and canvas, then garment-dyed, waxed or turned them inside out before slipping them over the seats and backs resting on polished black nickel.
The motifs of patchwork and mixed materials run through the sportswear produced by Longjourney, which started in 2012 and made its first shipment to stores such as Maxfield’s, Barneys New York, Webster and Matches two years later. Indeed, it introduced that particular treatment for the sweatshirt sofa in its fall 2015 collection.
It’s also not the first time that Ester and Kenn have crossed paths. Kenn used to run a denim line called Iron Army, which Ester had carried a decade ago in his boutique named Hollywood Trading Co. The two reunited last year at a party at JF Chen, which will be selling the pieces along with the collaborators. More importantly, Ester and Carapetian were impressed by Kenn’s five-year-old furniture design business.
“We were interested in getting chairs for ourselves,” Carapetian said.
Costing almost double the price of Kenn’s main line and made in Los Angeles, the sofa retails for $11,000 and the armchair goes for $5,500. The pieces will be unveiled to the public on April 21 as part of a performance at JF Chen with dancers from Ate9 clad in Longjourney’s clothes.
Kenn’s past as a denim designer eased the process for undertaking a fashion-based collaboration, not only with Longjourney, but also with Simon Miller, whom he had helped to create an indigo canvas sofa on a copper frame four years ago. He likes the meeting of the minds. “At the end of it,” he said, “you grow as a person and a designer.”