PARIS — Personal expression is the raison d’être of Artica Arbox, a unisex, progressive ready-to-wear brand launching on Sept. 28 here.
“I love fashion and everything it can stand for, but I came to a point in my life where I suddenly found I couldn’t really identify with many of the current brands,” said Irene Roth, founder and creative director of the buzzy label that boasts former Yeezy chief executive officer Cristiano Minchio at its helm.
The brand takes its name from the monikers Roth’s young sons invented for each other when playing superheroes.
Roth, who is based in Los Angeles, met Minchio, whose former roles also include chief executive officer for America at Vivienne Westwood, in January. The pair clicked, and decided to launch a fashion brand together.
The timing was perfect for Minchio, who had been working at Yeezy since 2016 and was aiming to move back to Europe. “I’ve found that in fashion, 99 percent of business is done in Europe,” he explained.
Roth heads a design team of 10 in L.A., while Minchio, who has just relocated to Verona, Italy, travels between the brand’s atelier in Florence and its showrooms in Milan and Paris.
“We’ve assembled a team of experienced designers from famous contemporary fashion brands,” said Minchio, adding that members of the design team used to work at brands including Celine, Balenciaga, Dior, Maison Margiela and Off-White. “Basically, the best people I’ve met in the 20 years I’ve worked in fashion.”
Experience is paramount to meet with Minchio’s business plan. “I wanted to be able to build a brand at a faster pace,” said the ceo, who plans to follow the women’s wear launch with accessories next season. A men’s wear line and men’s and women’s pre-collections are on the cards for the near future.
What drew him to work with Roth was the “big challenge” the project represented. “After working for two big brands — even if Yeezy is a bit of a newcomer, it’s a large operation headed by an established figure — I wanted to build something from the ground up. To try to win the race,” said Minchio, who is still close to Yeezy founder Kanye West.
A pair of transparent knit basketball shorts, a cinched-waist terry hoodie, reworked tuxedo jackets, a nylon maxidress and denim separates are part of Artica Arbox’s launch collection of revisited classics. Colors range from white and light gray to sunflower yellow, cool blue and fuchsia.
Materials are a mix of noble cloths, such as silk and cashmere, and technical fabrics. “The aim is to become timeless, and not bother about traditional luxury codes, which are all about fitting into a group,” Minchio said.
Jackets retail at 400 euros, tops are priced between 150 euros and 550 euros, knitwear between 350 euros and 800 euros and dresses between 450 euros and 1,000 euros. The brand will have its own e-shop.
A number of friends of the brand are expected to attend the label’s Paris event. “We have worked hard with a very famous architect to create something special for our first presentation,” Minchio said.