16 July 2007

panda head interviews...

ryan ryskamp, maseh zarif, and matt corrado are the three owners/designers of aplomb clothing, a DC-based apparel company that, since its inception, has sought to 'throw out [the] boundaries' of the typical 'indie, urban, or skate' company, and focus on producing designs that appeal not only to each of the partners' individual styles but are distinctly in, of, and representative of DC. like what you see? aplomb tees are available at kickballers and at their online store.

do you, maseh, and matt have similar styles? to what extent are they reflected in your line?
All three of us have pretty different styles actually. This sets us apart from other companies today because we effectively mesh all three tastes into one design and construction.
what was the catalyst that made you all decide to go ahead full force with aplomb?
I would say it was when I asked Matt and Maseh to be partners in the company. After those two came on everything seemed to flow, one person would make leeway on something and it would completely inspire the other two to push forward as well.
what are your individual strengths, and how does the design process typically work for you guys?
Individually it's a pretty simple breakdown. Maseh is getting his MBA from Georgetown now and handles our financials and promotions. Matt is a RISD graduate and handles our design work. I seem to be a renaissance man these days haha...I act as a liaison between Maseh and Matt. I have my hand in everything, some things deeper than others. We like to collectively come up with design ideas as well as tackle business issues.
what's your all-time favorite aplomb design?
Well naturally our favorite designs are the ones that are coming out in the Fall! But if I had to pick one of those I would say our "K Street" design. We did a piece about the Madame from K street that catered prostitutes to high-ranking officials and politicians...the design is sick and it is thought provoking; we try to strive for just that with all of our designs.
what are style/design inspirations for the three of you?
Mas spends a lot of time in the posh clubs of DC and his style definitely reflects that. He listens to house music and brings a high-fashion element to the table. Matt produces a number of hip-hop artists in the area but also skateboards. His style is pretty broad, which we need because he transforms all of our ideas into fresh designs. I have always been into the rock and punk scenes and still love snowboarding and skateboarding.
We all bring our own elements to the table but agree that it is important to keep our designs socially conscious and thought provoking (that's probably a product of growing up in DC).
are there any advantages to being a clothing/design company in DC?
Each of us have received criticism for starting a clothing company in DC but [those people] obviously haven't thought about the advantages. DC has a style that hasn't really been reflected in a brand before. Which can be good and bad but in our case we are going develop that style and accurately represent it. Now we could have gone out to California or up to New York but we would have been a dime a dozen, more people might listen there but then you are still doing what everyone else has done. Coming out of DC we are original and we appeal to multiple markets... we feel those doubts we received will actually be the reasons we succeed.
where do you all like to shop in and around DC?
There are a number of skateboard shops in DC and Northern VA that I personally like to hit up. Major is alright but honestly I think Kickballers is the baddest store in DC right now. It completely represents DC's style just like we are attempting to.
what are your thoughts on DC style, in general?
Recently at the DC Stock Exchange trade show this guy came up to me. He was from San Diego and remarked how much he liked our stuff because it seemed to cross all the boundaries as to having an urban, skate, or whatever brand. He worked at this bar in Dupont and said that he loved DC because he saw everyone getting along. Punk kids hanging out with hip-hop kids, people with tattoos talking to lawyers in suits. Apparently San Diego is the same "spikey haired guy with a girl with fake boobs on his arm," haha. But I was really taken aback by that because it's one thing to say your clothes mesh styles and rep DC correctly... but it's [on] a completely different level to hear it from a customer that you've never met.
anything you're not usually asked about aplomb that you want people to know?
We are a creative company coming out of DC and if you are like us we have a hill to climb...together. Our market is big enough for all of us to thrive and to thrive we must work together and build each other up. Once the DC market gets too small for all of us...then we move on to the rest of the Nation! Also, the website is up, the online store is up, our stuff is in Kickballers in Gtown and YES all three of us are for hire to bring your wildest fantasies to life!

interview: morgan. photos from aplombclothing.com; picture 2 features shoes from get dizzy. visit aplomb at their website or at the aplomb clothing myspace page.


Anonymous Deyv said...

Great interview. I never knew about these guys, till I visited your site and am looking forward to checking them out and watching them grow in the DC Met.

5:29 PM  

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