By Jack O'Connor
When I began thinking about Strictly Featured's first collaborative collection I started by looking for an artist to approach. The search was primarily on Instagram, looking through accounts that Strictly Featured was following as well as accounts and posts that came suggested to us. The first Ephemeroh post I came across was a piece he pasted in Northern Liberties on 2nd and Girard (See below). The piece caught my attention but the rest of Ephemeroh's Instagram was what really got me thinking. The range of his style, persepective and imagery showed a versatility that could be applied to clothing in many ways. Once the wheels began turning it would not take long for me to act on the opportunity.
In May I reached out to Ephemeroh to see if he'd be interested in working on a collection together and was met with initial interest. After we met in June to answer a few questions we started to design The Ephemeroh Collection. Both Ephemeroh and I began coming up with preliminary concepts based off of his previous work and some pieces that he was creating. The catalog of possibilities was really diverse and for an inaugural collection it was exciting but daunting at the same time. There was so much to work with but only so much we could do for our first time out.
After presenting our first ideas we began to collaborate on designs that focused on the signature Ephemeroh piece Transitory Framework (see below). From here we focused on tops and hats all of which would include the window design in several layered forms. For the hats, we see the full design on the front. For the long sleeves, we see the window pane and curtain on the chest. For the tee shirt, we see each later broken down on the bottom row. Also featured in the collection are minimal sketches by Ephemeroh which are seen on the side of the hats and collected on the tee shirt. These all have significant meaning to Ephemeroh, so I love this one. The final thing you'll see in the Ephemeroh logo used on all the pieces.
Once we were down to the final decisions we made some changes and prepared them for production. We chose our fabrics, inks, stitches, labeling and closures; picking from swatches and approving samples. It was really interesting to see an artistic mind adapt their style to clothing. While the designs were out for production we shifted our focus toward packaging, photo shoots and a launch event. We created a video with Matt Carroll showcasing Ephemeroh as he pasted some new pieces in Fishtown (that was a really awesome day for me). The photoshoot was next. Working with my friend Jordan Stein and our two models, Ariel Burns and Elijah Ford, we did our first shoot to launch the collection with. Later we did a shoot with Matt Carroll, which is featured in the store. I learned a lot about process, timing and attention during this design process and it excites me to think back on it and how much I took away from creating our first collection.