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Friends & Associates, the new contemporary collection by Matthew Edelstein, began with a simple idea: “I wear a uniform everyday, a T-shirt and jeans,” said Edelstein. “Why shouldn’t girls be able to do uniform dressing the same way a man can?” It’s a concept that Edelstein said has been percolating for years over the course of a long career in styling and with fashion magazines that began with his first job assisting Michel Botbol, former fashion director at W magazine, in the Nineties. “The real story is you never have time to do two full-time careers,” said Edelstein, but in January he found time to put Friends & Associates into production. He decided to launch for resort as a way to “cut through the clutter” that gluts the schedule during the spring and fall seasons.
This story first appeared in the June 6, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Aesthetically, the collection bears major ties to the concept of uniforms, whether military, athletic or labor in a fresh, inventive way. Made from lightweight Japanese cotton (all produced in New York), the separates are inspired by judo pants, pleated cheerleading skirts, sailor tops and plain, square-cut T-shirts that look like cropped ER scrubs. There are also sundresses, wrap dresses and shirtdresses. Prices range from $150 to $350 at retail. (Stores are yet unconfirmed but an e-commerce site friendshop.us is planned to launch Nov. 1.) Colors span the rainbow, with several styles bearing outsize polka dots or patch pockets done in a contrasting tone. Worn alone, they’re simple basics, but they can be layered up for a real fashion look that reflects Edelstein’s styling experience. “It’s for different people who want to interpret their own style,” said Edelstein. “I always want the collection to have some fashion influence, but it’s about style, not fashion.”