What we love about designer Andrew Coimbra’s work is that he appears to be fearless; not sticking to anyone’s view of what menswear should be, going all in and defining it for himself, for his brand, on his terms. It’s so exciting to watch!
Coimbra studied Material Art & Design at Ontario College of Art & Design University and Fashion Design at George Brown College, followed by work for Pink Tartan and Philip Sparks and a perspective changing internship at Proenza Schouler in New York City. He’s been blowing our minds ever since, notably at the first ever Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.
Still somewhat of a newbie in the fashion world, he’s already established himself as a master of tailoring and a force to be reckoned with when it comes to developing custom art-inspired prints and there’s nothing we like more than someone who loves prints as much as we do here at Télio.
We had a chance to catch up with Andrew last week for an exclusive Télio Textures interview.
Do you remember the exact moment you fell in love with fashion? Or the moment you knew that you would make a career out of it?
I don’t recall the exact moment I fell in love with fashion; I think it had always just been a part of my life in the way of helping my mom pick outfits growing up, and that sort of thing.
I knew that I wanted to make a career out of it when I was 14 or so, sketching designs and my friends would swoon over them – I really enjoyed the idea of people liking and thinking of my designs as wearable.
Where do you get inspiration from?
Most of my inspiration comes from art (both modern and classic), culture and current events. I often see a lot of parallels between things that happen, and I like to expand on that as much as possible, in a way that engages with people and their personal style.
Are there any films, albums or books that you keep going back to as sources of inspiration?
“Decay“ by Nathan Troi Anderson. “Canadian Poetry 1920-1960“ collected by Brian Trehearne.
I’m also drawn to artworks by The Group of Seven, Géricault, Monet, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, and Jack Vanzet.
Do you have a celebrity fashion muse? If so, who, why and what would you love to see him/her in?
I deeply admire Andre 3000 and Iris Apfel. Neither particularly represents the ethos of my brand, but I think their fearlessness and passion in maintaining a personal aesthetic is admirable and worth paying attention to. Also, Andre 3000 would look killer in my clothes (just saying).
What’s something that you’ve learned about yourself through your work?
I learned that I have no boundaries and that anything I want is accessible if I put my effort behind it. It’s been really challenging but empowering, when things go my way.
It’s also worth saying that I’ve learned that I have friends and family who are endless sources of support and enthusiasm – a lot of what I do is possible because of their input and aid.
Tell us the story behind your favourite garment you’ve made.
In school an assignment was to create a lined dress, and the focus was lining. I designed this super cool dress with Pamela that crossed over and had chic layers, and my teacher loved it until I was less than 2 weeks away from the project being due when we realized lining it would be impossible… So I had to whip up a new design, and that was my favourite garment because it was created out of chaos, in a stressful timeline, and when I had it finished, on a fit model and I heard her say, “I feel expensive!” I knew it was worth it.
How would you define your personal style versus the style of your brand?
My personal style is actually very similar to my brand. I think my main rule when designing for my brand is that if I wouldn’t wear it, it isn’t right for the collection.
If you could work with only one type of fabric for the rest of your life, what would that be?
I really like tencel. I like the weight, the texture, and how it can look relaxed or expensive, depending on the style and application.
Any plans for womenswear?
What are some current trends you’re obsessed with? Trends you feel should disappear immediately?
I’m obsessed with the trend of mixing patterns/prints/textures. It’s not a particularly new trend, but it’s had a strong, beautiful evolution.
I need Crocs to stop being a thing – like, yesterday.
What are your thoughts on fast fashion? Designer collaborations (à la H&M and Target)?
I think they’re really good. I hate the idea of giving more power to big-box brands, and fast-fashion, but it definitely allows consumers accessibility to luxury brands. More importantly, though, H&M hosts a really great design competition annually that encourages new designers, and stimulates that talent market. I think that’s worth applauding.
If you could collaborate with a major commercial brand/fashion house, which would it be and why?
I would love to work with a footwear brand. I love shoes. I have like, 40 pairs.
Do you have a piece of advice for anyone thinking of going into fashion design?
Know your demographic.
Where can we purchase your merchandise?
My online store just launched! You can check it out and buy two of everything at www.andrewcoimbra.com.
What’s coming up for you in 2015? Anything we should be looking out for?
I can’t wait to share the Fall 2015 campaign with the world, which includes a video component that was created by a friend of mine based in LA who has worked with Kendrick Lamar.
I’m also deep into Spring 2016 development, which will be showing later in the year – it’s a project I’m really excited about because I’ve decided to collaborate with a Toronto-based portrait photographer and an Atlanta-based painter. So far, I’m in love with what’s happening.
Congrats to Andrew on all his success, we can’t wait to see what his future holds!