Founded in 2003 by Holly Harnsongkram, Wil Whitney, Devon Turnbull, and Isa Saalabi, Nom de Guerre was created to bring the collective experiences of its founders to a heightened level. The brand has attained cult-like status, thanks to its cutting edge design, great quality, anti-marketing marketing, and one of the coolest locations for a flagship boutique. NDG's SS09 collection is called “Storm and Stress” and brings together historical references and mythology. The end result is a “subculture of boys who are untainted by the weight of reality that might prove adverse to idealism; and are instead, driven to extremes of character by a sense of hyper-idealism”. With its cult following and constant press coverage, Nom de Guerre continues to make clothes are are suitable for the every-day man. I've got an interview with the team after the jump. (Yale Breslin)
Who are you and what roles do you each play in the formation and creation of Nom de Guerre?
Nom de Guerre is a creative collective that formed in 2003, with its roots in downtown New York; and founded by Holly Harnsongkram, Wil Whitney, Devon Turnbull, and Isa Saalabi.
Where did the 4 of you meet?
We all met by working and living in New York.
What was the original concept behind the formulation of Nom de Guerre?
The concept was to create a byproduct from our combined backgrounds and influences to obtain a new, yet composite representation of our collective experience.
Working in a group, where did you find your inspiration for the SS09 collection?
The “Storm and Stress” collection is an amalgamation of a range of influences resulting in the creation of an ideal expression of youth. Corresponding to Sturm und Drang, the Spring Summer 2009 collection, combines history and myth in a free expression of extremes albeit, within the parameters of military ideologies and references. The result is a mythic subculture of boys who are untainted by the weight of reality that might prove adverse to idealism; and are instead, driven to extremes of character by a sense of hyper-idealism.
It has been stated that Nom de Guerre often represents an alias or a form of hidden identity. What traits (both present and hidden) do you feel are associated with SS09?
In the same way that a nom de guerre functions to preserve the safety of the group while simultaneously bestowing a sense of solidarity, the immense strength of the group is examined in the Spring / Summer 2009 collection. The source of inspiration was distilled from various subcultures that exhibited extreme fearlessness against all odds to a level of hyper-heroism. Individually, these boys were inexperienced and ill equipped, however, as a group the strength borne out of their overzealousness was a formidable threat.
There is a very serious and uniform tone associated with your creations. How would you each define your personal style? Do you find your personal style is reflective of the garments you create?
Our personal style is ever present in the collection; our approach from the outset has been to create clothes that we would want to wear ourselves. Additionally, what draws us to study uniforms is our interest in what it is that cross culturally informs the design choices of uniforms. In the Spring / Summer 2009 collection, we wanted to distil these lines and ideas that we perceived separated uniforms from civilian clothing to construct a civilian uniform.
How would you describe the progression from your first collection to where you are today?
Our first collection focused on basics and forming the foundation of the collection. From there, we built the collection as an elaboration on those core ideas.
What brands are currently on your radar?
Our collaborations are on our radar; as these brands have an identity that we appreciate, and through the process of collaboration, the product becomes another facet of our original precept – to form a composite product from our collective experience. These brands are Oliver Peoples, Adidas, Tricker’s, Mackintosh, Converse, Buzz Rickson and Russell Moccasin Company.
Nom de Guerre has come to be a defining aspect of New York culture. What impact does the city of New York have on your collections?
From the founding of Nom de Guerre, our objective has been to create pieces that suit our lifestyle in New York. The collection takes its basic inspiration from an ongoing examination of utilitarian design.