Interview with Adam G. of Druthers
We recently did a collab with the premium accessories brand Druthers. We have been big fans of their made in Japan socks and beanies and thought what a great way to celebrate the cooler months by partnering up with them. Once you pull back the curtain on the operation you find a group of passionate designers. We sent Adam Gianotti a few questions to answer so you can learn more about the brand, their mission and some shared wisdom he has gathered over the years working in the fashion industry. Enjoy.
How did Druthers get it’s start?
Druthers started with a group of friends all working in the fashion industry. I was tired of working for big fashion brands and felt the need to be a part of something more thoughtful. Some of the issues I was having at the time revolved around quality and sustainability. So when I joined Druthers, there was a clear opportunity for me to refocus our efforts on local manufacturing and sustainable yarns and fabrics. I started off by using some fabrics I brought home from Japan and having a factory here in the NY garment district make them into boxer shorts. From there I took over the business and expanded our product assortment into socks, tees, beanies, sweaters, etc. All with a focus on great factory partnerships, brand partnerships, (Salt. Pilgrim, Bodega, Ace Hotel, etc.), and of course sustainable products.
Where do you draw inspiration from for Druthers line of products?
Mainly everyday life and the things I'm into as a person. I don't really follow the industry, so a lot of my ideas are inspired by interior design, art, and architecture.
Sustainability plays a big part in your product, what has been the most challenging and rewarding aspect of this approach?
I'd say the rewarding part is knowing that you are pushing a bad industry, (environmentally), in a better direction. The challenges are finding the fabrics to make the designs you want. It's not always easy or cost effective to mill fabrics that you're looking for sustainably. When I first started developing socks and beanies, years ago, its was tough to find organic cottons and good sustainable yarns. Today it's different as we continue to push the supply chain, more and more innovations have been happening and as demand grows, so does the supply. Theres now a lot of people and companies doing some great things for sustainability in the fashion and textile industry. Another challenge is cost. Our products aren't inexpensive at all, thats mainly because the cost of fabric, yarns, and labor are much higher for us than most brands. We work with great factories in Portugal, France, Italy, Japan, and the U.S.A., they pay their workers well! Doing things the right way isn't cheap. Druthers feels strongly that well made durable products are a key to being sustainable, not just having organic and recycled yarns or packaging.
Where do you see Druthers going in the future in terms of product offerings?
My background is in apparel design and production / product development for the last 25+ years, so as we see fit, Ill be adding more cut and sew pieces to the assortment.
What brands or people are you most excited about at the moment?
Mostly hyped on artists. Love what the guys we work with are doing. I've been working with and learning from Andrin the Carpenter, an amazing Swiss furniture designer and builder. Jean Jullien and Seb Gorey are two of my personal favorite painters from our era. Also, I always follow what Kimou Meyer AKA Grotesk is doing. His artwork is great and he heads up some amazing projects for Nike. Lastly, If I had to pick a clothing brand, Pilgrim Surf + Supply, hands down. Chris Gentile is a great person, artist, designer and curator. It shows in the brand and stores he owns.
If you could share some of your wisdom with a young fashion designer what would that be?
Unless you are really-really-really passionate about design, creating and developing clothing, I'd urge people to go make some real money before they give their life to this industry. And I say that because I've seen a lot of people over the years start working in this industry by default, not sure what to do, but knew they loved to dress nice or collect sneakers or whatever. You can always design on the side, curate your own living space, create a project on the side that you work on at night or during weekends; whatever. Going to school to be a fashion designer is a long, hard road with small pay checks. You really have to absolutely love draping fabric on a model form to do this... Which I do not... I was thrown into this career because of skateboarding. If I could go back, Id have done something fun and gotten paid for it. (This was fun with out the 'being paid for it' part). I've seen too many people who went to fashion design school because "they loved to shop", or something like that, only to sit in a cubical in midtown filling out PLM sheets for a production team all day. It doesn't breed the best co-working environment either. First, go be a pro athlete, then take some of that money and start a collection, haha. But all jokes aside, I'd tell people to go make money first so you aren't stressed out and broke all the time, wearing a $2000 outfit at fashion week or a trade show. I wish someone in the 90's smacked me in the head with some real advice. UNLESS, of course, you absolutely LOVE designing clothes. Then go for it cause the money doesn't matter at that point. There are a lot of great spots to work, but its not what you'd expect. I do know a lot of real runway designers, drapers, and sewers that love it. But to me thats a whole different thing than going to FIT and getting an internship in the sweater yarns department at 650 Madison...
Do you have a favorite SALT. piece. If so which one?
Don't even have to look that one up, haha. Definitely the Columbia 56, my everyday go to sunglasses!