Tastemaker Collective, a niche Los Angeles-based label, is the latest buzzworthy entry in the realm of streetwear-inspired, high-end goods. With a playbook cribbed from today’s social media-savvy fashion champs, the start-up is off to an auspicious start.
Comprised of cofounder and design director Jamel Bullock, cofounder and art director Ryan Winston and chief executive officer and head of digital marketing Nikko Wambach, the collective was born when Bullock — then a design student in Dallas — met Winston at the South by Southwest festival five years ago. Winston was one of Wambach’s University of Arizona pals.
The trio wanted to start a fashion line, but instead of creating a launch collection, or even a capsule, they started with a single item: a baseball hat emblazoned with “Dad.” Kylie Jenner was one of the first people seen wearing it, on a 2016 episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
That led to a second “drop,” a Windbreaker printed with the phrase “I’m sad today but I’ll be happy tmrw” that Kendall Jenner took a liking to and Anderson Paak wore in Mac Miller’s “Dang” video.
The third item, a T-shirt printed with Virgil Abloh’s face, also drew attention for its $800 price tag, à la Supreme and Vetements.
So far, the pieces have found their way into GR8 in Tokyo and H.Lorenzo in L.A. — Bullock met the GR8 buyer at Rick Owen’s L.A. furniture launch party — and also sell on the brand’s web site.
On Aug. 23, Tastemaker Collective will unveil its first proper capsule collection for fall 2018 dubbed Collection 4. The collection of unisex “staples” comprises an asymmetric leather trenchcoat lined with silk charmeuse printed with the phrase “Internet is where the heart is”; a leather belt and silk scarf bearing the same phrase; a French terry jumpsuit, and a black silk chiffon scarf printed with green digital-looking letters that on closer inspection are more of-the-moment phrases and names. There’s also a range of logo leather goods including a tote, crossbody bag, laptop case and wallet. Prices will range from $250 to $6,000. All items are handmade in L.A.
While they’re all photogenic fellows – Winston even stepped in as the model for the Collection 2 windbreaker – they prefer to stay behind the camera to create a Margiela-like mystique.
While the team is already at work on Collection 5, which will be basics such as logoless T-shirts and pants, they felt it was important to present covetable, and recognizable, luxury items first.
“We also want to give people what they want, at accessible prices,” Bullock said of the logo wallet and forthcoming T-shirts. Eventually, his goal is to add tailored suiting to the line, and to update the silk chiffon scarf each season with new names and phrases.
“The stores who pick us up might see their names printed on the scarf the next season,” Bullock laughed.