Last night, we stopped by Milk Studios to fete Everyone Must be Announced, a new photography book by Aaron Stern, which was released on Shipley & Halmos' publishing division, S&H Publishers. Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos have been a quiet force in fashion for the past several years and have gradually been adding new non-clothing products and projects to their repertoire, such as hand-illustrated re-drawings of album covers, dog collars, a fragrance, and even their own book.
After a quick chat with one of the evening's DJs, Alexa Chung--she and Aaron Stern once planned an Occupy Wall Street party together--we caught up with Sam, who filled us in on he and Jeff's newest project and how they've managed to break the mold when it comes to being fashion designers.
Fashionista: How did you end up collaborating with Aaron Stern? Sam Shipley: We were friends with Aaron and we were flipping through his blogs and he’s a photographer and he has a lot of friends who are in bands and we noticed he had shot--maybe out of boredom or out of waiting for something to happen--some scenic, non-band related photography and that sort of captivated Jeff and I because everybodys been an audience member and we thought that was a really cool concept to give focus on. No audience, no band; no band, no audience. So, I asked Aaron if he had more photographs and he had like a stockpile of photography,so we sort of curated a thing and that's how it happened.
What about Aaron's photography made you want it to be a part of your publishing company? Jeff and I have a publishing division of our brand. We’ve made like art books; this the first book we’ve done with content we didn’t generate. It’s the first book that we collaborated on...I think Jeff and I are really focused on breaking the barriers between designer and customer and really trying to focus on not doing marketing and fashion the traditional way because we didn't enter fashion design in the traditonal way and we consider oursevles...we’re customers too. We go and shop in shops as well so that’s how we like to think about our clothing collection and we figured that when we do books we want to share a similar sort of thought and I think that this book relates to that.
You guys do a lot more than just design clothes. Why is that important to you and your brand? Well, the label on our clothing says "a collection of clothing and things." That was very much intended from the beginning. We never check ourselves if we think we have a good idea--whether that be designing furniture or publishing a book. But I think that what really happened with us was we just wanted to...we just think differently and we dont feel like anyone has to conform to a specific regimen or do something a specific way because someone says you have to do it that way. And I think that doing these kind of products...I mean this is our inspiration, it's not some movie. We gather feedback and process things a little bit differently and we’ve allowed ourselves the freedom to do that.
You guys didn't show during fashion week last season. Will you this season? Or ever? If we show during fashion week it’s going to be because we want to. Because we have a great idea that works for fashion week. Until that happens, we’re not necessarily that interested in fashion week. We’d rather go straight to the people that buy our clothes. Our clothing is meant to be worn...it doesn’t transform people. Something we like to convey with our brand [is that] if you wanted to make a book, you can make a book and direct a film. If you think you can do it, there’s not thing really stopping you.
Photos: Billy Farrell Agency