KROST NEW YORK

(courtesy of KROST NEW YORK)

 

Words: Chaunielle Brown | Images: Jay Blum

A movement triggered from catastrophic echoes, a tragic repetition of a far too frequent headline, “School Shooting.” Parkland, Florida, February 14, 2018 tore at us all once again, and out of the broken, fallen and destructively destroyed rose a connected championed community, marching out of the madness, together, to march for our lives. In the desperately needed togetherness, a channeled understanding and respect for life came a stapled support, unwavering and bold. KROST NEW YORK found its place, tying in an ever burning determination to provide support for all; strangers pledged in a common belief, support for your friends, those past and present and those you have yet to meet. Together, as we march for lives, we march and vow to support. An inspired placement and nod to the transformational sixties and its engraved grit for fight, freedom and justice, support and love for all, we are bound together in a firmly rooted cornerstone. Rising to the surface we find a brand bonded in brotherhood with a gifted emboldened Pantone Autumn Glory Orange, unified, transitional no matter gender or preference. Founder Samuel Krost and Designer and Creative Director Scott Camaran lead us in a movement to be proudly worn. 

This First Semester, we found ourselves introduced and taken on an emergence of transcendent truth, #Support Your Friends. A camaraderie of banded souls, striving for principled authenticity, artistic and social change, KROST NEW YORK is lined with a school housed remembrance, outfitted by lockers, fresh fancied custom turfed golden green grass, varsity tracks and iridescent labels to remind us we are all the colors of the world, friends bound together in support.                                                                                                                                                         

(courtesy of KROST NEW YORK)

 

Following their well tailored motivational opening, we caught up with the two for some good loved chatter.

Tell me something about KROST that hasn’t been recorded or put down for all to read. 

SK: I think I got emotional yesterday for the first time on Instagram. For me personally, this entire concept started right after, unfortunately the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. It kind of really hit a certain chord in me. I was determined to get involved with the youth. I think it was a week later, that March for Our Lives was put together and just watching the youth come together and supporting one other, whether they knew each other or not, they were supporting each other based on having the same beliefs. At that time I was determined to become involved in it, but at the same time, I wanted to pursue my passion and started to think about how I can combine the two. So this idea of Support Your Friends was created, and it has been a personal slogan for a long time. 

What Scott and I both will tell you, is that this brand wants to be known first for its message – for its story and for the community that we build around support your friends and and for us just being such fashion lovers, we are using apparel and accessories at the very beginning to try and tell that story. 

And that doesn’t go to take away from the attention to detail that we put into this clothing. We did not go to a warehouse and buy 500 t-shirts and write support your friends on them. We went through, 10 to 12 rounds of samples, really making sure that our fits and fabrics were of the utmost luxury and understanding where the fashion space is moving and were able to provide a luxury product, because we’re not wholesaling the brand right now. So we’re hitting good margins but were providing a luxury brand at one of the most accessible price points in the entire market right now. And that’s the exact feedback we’ve been getting about our price points, about our fits, about our fabrics, and of course the message finally is starting to come out. I think with trying to launch this company, there was so much that was happening that you know we were kinda just putting a fashion brand out there, but now the story is finally getting out there with the help of people like you and the press. With the backstory of how this actually happened.

And with March for Our Lives being the exact inspiration behind the brand, we wanted to take that and use it as the inspiration of how we were going to design this collection. And if we look when the last time something like this happened, we really just took it from the 1960s, which was the epitome of a decade when youth came together to forge a better today. Now whether it was about the sexual revolution, or whether it was anti-war, or anti-poverty, that was a decade that was filled with riots, protests, different movements, but what we take from there is it was the youth coming together to support one another. So that’s what we used as the inspiration behind the brand. And then we kind of took on the first collection and said hey let’s do this based on our modern take on the collegiate, university, varsity elements of the 1960s. That’s how we came to the aesthetic of our first collection. For us, this is called First Semester and Second Semester is really going to come down to what’s important in society, what’s currently happening and what needs more awareness, that needs more support, that needs a community to be built to bring people together to help actual create tangible change. Instead of just saying things, we want to show that through action. 

 

Were there roadblocks to this journey? 

SC: I don’t think Sam and I are quitters. We know how to divide and conquer.

SK: I think we both wear, I don’t want to use the word multiple, because it’s more than multiple, but we wear A LOT of different hats right now. I didn’t want to tiptoe our way into this. We wanted to come out and let people know we’re here. And I wanted to do it the right way. With that being said, like I said before, this wasn’t “Let’s go into a warehouse and buy 500 t-shirts.” We put a serious investment into this company in creating from scratch our patterns. And every time our pattern was wrong we had to go and pay to redo it and redo it and redo it. And we had to start from scratch and every dollar put in, before we raised money, I don’t want to say, went into the garbage, but technically it did. It was an educational experience and technically as a startup there’s going to be mistakes along the way. But we do know that we don’t allow mistakes to happen twice. There were so many roadblocks, so many days that were harder than others. To be honest, I had to make sure our product got to this pop-up for the opening. When I say everything came down to the last minute…EVERYTHING came down to the last minute.

We know our systems now, we have our patterns. We’ve developed them. So we’re hoping and praying that based on an incredible seven, eight month educational experience, that we know how to do this the right way moving forward. And we have an incredibly huge team. A digital marketing team. We’re a digitally focused brand that wants to continuously have physical retail concept stores. The vision for the future is bring other brands into our retail to make those experiential retail spaces and falling into this idea of “Support Your Friends;” bring other brands in that follow our message, that help us broaden that message. Anyone or anything, any vehicle that we could create, whether that’s through video, photography, art, other apparel, whatever it may be, that’s the future for the brand. Getting into those spaces to help us push this message. 

How did you two meet?

SC: Sam and I knew each other for about a year before we started the company. Back when I was working at ACNE STUDIOS, he was my client. I think it was last December when I met his mom, they were shopping for the holidays. I was helping him shop for his Aspen trip. His mom had mentioned to me, “Sammy, you’ve always wanted to have a clothing line.” And I said, “You know, I’m a designer. and then I showed them my designs on my phone and pretty much after a bit, we finally got together to talk about it, talk about some ideas and concepts and next thing you know, eight months later, we’re launching our concept retail space in Soho. 

 

Why Autumn Glory Orange?

SC: It’s the color of friendship. The thing about orange in general is it’s a mixture between yellow and red. When you google the meanings behind colors, friendship is one of the names that pops up as the definition for it. But also Autumn Glory, I think, what it was, was kind of random. Sam in his apartment had a coffee table book that was orange, similar orange to the one we chose for the collection and THEN (laughter) we googled it and then it all ended up working out. 

Will there be other colors introduced?

SC: We want to develop these accent colors. For next season we have a couple Pantones in mind. If you look at our tags and our stickers, they’re iridescent so the iridescent we kind of want to touch upon every color, every person, it’s supposed to show that lack of conformity to one thing. I think what’s so cool about iridescent is that it changes color depending on what angle you look at it. So I think that’s how I perceived the design aspect to each collection. It’s really the same message at a different angle. So I think we represent a new color Pantone every time there’s a new season, but still maintain that same thread, that same message cohesively throughout the brand. 

(left, Samuel Krost)

What is next for KROST, any special collections, community relations?

SK: We’re working on a capsule collection special for March for Our Lives, where proceeds will be donated directly back to March for Our Lives. I think one thing that’s super interesting is we’re continuously trying to find unique angles to make this brand different and to stand out. And with that I’ve been working with a developer integrating a platform onto our website. Our vision is to white label it and pass it through the entire non-profit sector. Unfortunately in the non-profit space, it’s also one of the most corrupt spaces. As a brand you say “I’m donating this.” You don’t believe it anymore, it doesn’t really sound credible anymore. I’m trying to think, how am I going to not just be another brand that says, “Hey we partner with March for Our Lives and we’re giving them money” so we’re creating a block chain software, where basically if you buy a hoodie for $100 Chaunielle and I donate 10% of that, that $10 that you bought that hoodie on November 16 goes into an escrow account, when March for Our Lives wants to take that $10, what happens is we basically own this digital ledger that keeps track of all the donations and when March For Our Lives goes into that escrow account and takes your $10, Chaunielle is going to get a message, an email, a notification, that says, “Hey it’s Jan 1, March for Our Lives just took the $10 that you donated, based on the sweatshirt you bought on November 16 for $100, that we got $10 from, oh and also, we’re using this $10 to buy Tommy a box of cereal.

(courtesy of KROST NEW YORK)

So basically were bringing credibility back into the non-profit space, that money is not being released until the organization actually needs it and for the brand, we’re reengaging with our consumers and giving you the ability to feel good about what you just did. We’re bringing transparency and we’re bringing credibility. And most importantly we are making our customers feel good about that they did. And again it’s about putting this product on, that you were able to buy because it’s an accessible price point and now you’re wearing a brand thats bigger than the clothing, our goal is to make you feel like you’re part of the community when you were something from the brand. 

Also for Second Semester, we’re going to be tackling other issues that stem from the same concepts, of community and unity but also this idea of loving yourself. Because in the past year, we all know how much suicide has affected the world. Young people, successful people, people who have the facade of living a happy life and non-problematic lifestyles and are still suffering and still don’t know how to love themselves. So i think that’s one message, when designing I have in mind for next season. We’re all about designing with purpose. Because I really think it’s important to do that.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PART?

SK: For example if you look at our campaign video, there’s a side by side in the campaign where we have a few of our models, one on the shoulders of another, you know, peaceful protest celebrating and then there’s a side by side of the EXACT, identical replica video that was shot in 1960s in black and white and it’s just like, this is exactly what we envisioned and like Scott said, to see it, to just come to life, I still haven’t been able to sit down and like, give ourselves a pat on the back and I don’t think I ever will, because I’m difficult to be satisfied. I think we can always do better. And I think that’s what’s going to keep us alive. Scott and I both have that same drive. Definitely just seeing this come to live when we met in a Le Pain on Grand Street and literally sketched out on a napkin, and now we’re sitting in our first concept retail store with our product hanging, with our team around us and it’s just a blessing. It’s been our dream. All my friends and family know I’ve always dreamt about having a brand. Scott’s the most talented person, across the board. From design to photography to film, whatever needs to be done, Scott can get that done. I think we’re an incredible team that we divide and conquer. And we are getting to live our dream. That’s something we’ll never take for granted and always look at as a blessing. And if we’re able to create some real change and put a positive message out there, that’s the just going to be the absolute cherry on top. 

(courtesy of KROST NEW YORK)

WHAT IS YOUR FAULT?

SK: Patience, becoming good leaders. Making sure we’re doing everything by the books. Having patience with people. Having patience with each other. Scott and I have screamed at each other along the way, but just knowing that it’s in good faith and it’s all love. 

SC: Ya, Sam is my brother. Our moms were literally hanging out at the opening. I think patience and I hate the word, “expectations and being realistic.” But along those lines just understanding who we are and where we are and what we’re doing. I know I have HUGE expectations. When I say, I want what I want, I mean it. Sam and I are both stubborn which is why I think we were able to get to where we are. We’re so set in our ways and know what we want that we actually have to get it. But I think it’s just working with other people to understand. We’re also working with people who are professionals and have done this before and we have to come from their perspective and understand what it takes for them to do their job. I think gaining that sort of perception will help and that’s just a startup fault: expectations. 

(courtesy of KROST NEW YORK)

KROST NEW YORK concept retail pop-up store in Soho at 357 CANAL STREET will tentatively be open till November 26th 2018 and “hopefully if everything goes well, we’ll have it till the end of the year.”

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