The best part of my job is meeting people, and of those, the creative souls stand apart. There is a trait I’ve picked up on across all of the most gifted types. Although they’re immersed in the arts, they don’t consume them the same way as, let’s say, a layman. They aren’t entertained, but challenged, losing themselves in the thoughtful reverie of, “I want to do this,” which unfurls into “I can do this better.” Even if they have no prior knowledge of the medium, the ego pushes forward. This is also inspiring to watch.
“I’m just saying if there’s nothing out there that I like, I’m just going to make something that I like…”
I remember feeling this way, and still do. It’s cold narcissism, but it’s also the artist’s role. The world can always be prettier or uglier; whichever, there is room for correction. To the creator, there is always margin for his or her interpretation. This bravado is amplified in the youth, who only see systems to upset and large canvases to paint.
I have been shadowing the designer Reese Cooper for the last few months. I was with him the day he turned 20 (yes, 20). I watched his hands prepare the materials for his Spring collection. At the start of the new year, he would show this assortment in Paris during Men’s Fashion Week. There’d already been a curiosity welling around Reese’s work in fashion’s higher tier. This was to be his debut.
“This is the first time I’ve actually tried to do something full—and it’s terrifying.”
He catches himself and resets.
“No, it’s cool. I’m very excited for it. It’s a full collection. It’s under my name so there’s no... I guess the word I’m looking for is there’s no way to pretend it’s not—
“The real thing?” I interject.
“Like, you’re not playing anymore.”
To the creator, there is always margin for his or her interpretation. This bravado is amplified in the youth, who only see systems to upset and large canvases to paint.
I first met Reese through our mutual friend Tom Winslade. Before I checked his social stats, he carried himself in a way in which I just knew he had to be influential on some level. Maybe if Reese had stayed in his birthplace of Jacksonville, Florida, life would have been different. He has that look—that depending on where you grow up, can be celebrated or fucked with. He is gawky and white, his hair blanched and rumpled. If there was a Back to the Future prequel, he could play a young Doc Brown. But, he moved to Atlanta, and then London (well, the village of Cobham to be exact), which is home when Reese isn’t in Los Angeles. So, I wonder aloud why this collection is called “Lone Pine.”
“It’s like Americana mountain towns, but in a modern way. It’s just how I would see it in a sense.” Later that week, he shoots his lookbook in the local mountains with friends. Between the dense trees and fog rolling off the lake, the line emotes a rustic dialect that is unmistakably big country. “It’s my opinion on all that classic Americana stuff. ‘Lone Pine’ is the name I chose because metaphorically as well as literally, it’s like small town, small-minded, almost escaping to the woods from city life. I feel like I’ve always wanted to escape to the forest, in the sense, but I can’t literally do that because I have to pay rent [laughs]. But, yeah. It’s almost like building a uniform for escape. It’s how I picture a small town I can see myself in.”