Tatras and Riot Hill have joined forces for a two-season collaboration, and the first collection’s military leanings made the launch fairly loaded.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Tatras founder and creative director Masanaka Sakao said he liked the prospect of connecting with younger high streetwear-minded customers. With Riot Hill’s founder Jordan Fresher, the brands cooked up down puffer jackets, Japanese-inspired Air Force vests, flight bomber jackets, denim-on-denim sets and oversize ski jackets. The cropped three-zip jacket that Bella Hadid wore to the runway show at the Palais de Tokyo has been a favorite, according to Riot Hill’s executive director Mitch Modes. Buyers from boutiques, resale operations and department stores ordered looks from the pop-up Paris showroom, he said. Notables like Travis Scott’s personal shopper, and influencers also stopped by.
The Australian-born Riot Hill has gained attention, partially due to The Weeknd, who is a lead investor for the brand (as well as Hadid’s ex-boyfriend.) When The Weeknd’s “Starboy” tour was in Perth, Australia, a few years ago, Fresher messaged “a ton of the guys on the XO team” to offer some of his clothes and they wound up wearing them on stage, Modes said. (At that point, Riot Hill was predominantly sold via Instagram.) Fresher was later flown out to Los Angeles to customize a jacket for The Weeknd to wear when headlining Coachella. “After that, it was like, ‘All right, let’s team up and put this brand where it needs to be,’” Modes said.
“Bella has always been tied in with XO, [referring to The Weeknd’s crew.] She is really good friends with a lot of the guys on the team. Obviously, she was out here during fashion week doing what she does. [Devon] Brooklyn [Charles], the ceo of Riot Hill reached out to her. She actually had been so busy that she had no idea we were doing a show,” Modes said. “Post-show, Bella has really put eyes on it from the women’s perspective. With the capabilities that Tatras has on the production level, we were able to make things that obviously are still men’s wear. But they work with girls who won’t look too tomboyish as they would if just Riot was making the clothes.”
Having just released a music video for his song “Blinding Lights,” The Weeknd is about to be back in the spotlight, Modes said, “The Weeknd’s new album is coming out sometime soon. That will be really supportive for the brand’s name. Once eyes are on him, eyes will be on Riot Hill as well.”
As for the violence connotation that the collection may conjure up for some, Modes said, “Yeah, I could see how someone could take it that way but Jordan’s whole vision with Riot Hill has sort of been like an anarchy, not so much a war, like an actual shooting-killing war. It’s more so something of a brotherhood of misfits and outsiders almost coming together like a foster home. Whether it’s a kid, who didn’t go to college or a kid who was excommunicated from his town because he dressed a certain way or was not going by the book, Riot Hill was like a home for these kinds of kids.”
Regarding the military style and the faux-bruised and blood-like makeup used for the Paris show, Modes said that was more reflective of a war within oneself rather than a war against the world. The collection’s military inspiration was meant more as a uniform for our foster home. (There was no mention of the recurring sound of sirens in the show’s soundtrack.)