A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou and Justin Saunders of JJJJound celebrated the launch of their new collection, A.P.C. Interaction Number 4, with a conversation led by Def Jam’s Gabe Tesoriero at the A.P.C. Mercer Street store in New York.
The duo was candid and open about their shared admiration. “First of all, I must say I was pretty jealous of Justin’s work because the work he does was the work I was doing before this store existed, which was taking a piece of fleece or gaberdine and studying it like a mad scientist,” said Touitou.
Saunders and his team studied the sweatshirt for two years and went through thousands of yards of fleece to better understand the purpose of the garment. “At the end of the day, I don’t think anyone in the world knows what they’re doing at some level, and so we just wanted to at least research and understand and just back track,” he said, “and it would just basically start from scratch and build up from there.”
Saunders added, “I don’t know how long a human can talk about sweaters until it gets weird,” to which Touitou quickly replied, “Well, we can continue about sweaters all night long.” Though the audience laughed, he seemed very earnest in his response.
A.P.C. Interaction Number 4 includes gray and navy sweatshirts with a JJJJound graphic on the chest, and a black hoodie with the same graphic over the heart, as well as T-shirts, tracksuit bottoms, bags, and accessories such as a notebook and pens, a key ring and a scented candle. The signature A.P.C. petit standard jeans in light wash and raw Japanese denim round out the collection.
“The interaction was a complex thing, because knowing the process, there’s nothing to fix so that’s where the [A.P.C. Interaction Number 4 white T-shirt] graphic came about. ‘If it ain’t broke, fit it,'” said Saunders.
Touitou also explained the use of the word interaction instead of collaboration. “It’s not just a gimmick, the name changing,” he said. “I wasn’t too keen to use the name collaboration because there have been way too many phony collaborations.” He painted the picture of two chief executive officers meeting to do business on a golf course and that leading to two sales managers meeting and eventually teams exchanging computer files and never meeting to collaborate.
The second reason was a reference to French history, when the “French people did collaborate with the Nazis, and I didn’t want to use that too much. I wanted to get rid of that name,” he said.
The first A.P.C. interaction was with Kid Cudi who, like Saunders, met Touitou through Kanye West. The next were with Suzanne Koller and Brain Dead. Touitou explained his selection saying, “I felt the need to unite with people that I feel some friendship and some common political and aesthetical view. I’m trying to form a group of people to be able to resist this very competitive world.”
On the topic of the coming A.P.C. café and how the concept was born, Touitou said, “There was no inspiration. There was a guy making excellent coffee in Paris. He was actually there doing the catering for the event we did with Kanye when Kanye did his presentation for 50 people. I was impressed by that, and then he came to me and said, ‘Jean you have a brand, I’m very good at sourcing coffee and I can do a café for you.’ We’re starting a pop-up café and we’ll see how it goes, but I don’t know about the economic model of a café. To be very precise, how many cups of coffee you have to sell for the rent. We’ll see how it goes, but I really enjoyed designing the packaging and drinking my coffee every morning.”