Guess Darren Romanelli

Darren Romanelli’s latest collaboration with Guess features an L.A. story with holiday vibes.

“I grew up in L.A. in the Eighties so Guess was a big part of my youth. I think there [were] a few years in the mid-Eighties where I would wear Guess every day with my Jordans,” Romanelli said, adding the shirts’ exclusive sell at Fred Segal also made sense for a similar reason given the retailer’s Los Angeles roots.

Romanelli, who also goes by DRx or Dr. Romanelli, is the founder of Los Angeles marketing firm StreetVirus and Pancake Epidemic, a cultural exchange of sorts aimed at bringing together creatives to talk ideas in a private space.

A mutual friend made the introduction between the L.A. denim company and Romanelli and from there the designer poured through the Guess archives. A collaboration between the two released earlier this year focused on cactus prints sold exclusively at the Cactus Store pop-up in New York.

“They had a bunch of incredible desert moments from the early Eighties,” Romanelli said by way of explaining the basis for the capsule.

Romanelli said he’s also experimenting with doing a mash-up of around 10 different prints from the Guess archives for another shirt style.

The upcoming capsule includes three styles retailing for $100 and is to be sold exclusively at Pancake Epidemic’s space in the new Fred Segal opening later this month in West Hollywood.

“It felt similar to how I approach Pancake Epidemic,” Romanelli said of the thinking behind opening a space within the retailer. “It really creates a destination for people to break bread, exchange ideas.”

The idea for Pancake Epidemic was born about five years ago following the birth of Romanelli’s second daughter. Travel was the source of much of his inspiration to run the agency, but a growing family made it a bit more difficult to get out.

“You’re only as creative as you are inspired,” Romanelli said.

Pancake Epidemic’s original outpost takes up space above the International House of Pancakes in Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile district.

“It’s a safe haven for creatives and brands to get together, have coffee,” Romanelli said. “It’s to keep, at least from my perspective, a space that inspires me every day and inspires a portion of this creative community in L.A. that’s somewhat segregated.”

Pancake Epidemic also counts four locations in South Korea, but Romanelli doesn’t see any significant expansion of the concept’s physical presence.

“We’re a small operation so we can only take on so much and I feel like we really want to knock this out of the park at Fred Segal,” he said.

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