Founded in 2017, U.P.W.W. (Utility Pro Work Wear) is an extension of Utility Pro, a New York-based construction and security hi-vis garment production company. But the brand, led by creative director and photographer-artist Alessandro Simonetti, is not just neon yellow vests and orange jumpsuits. U.P.W.W. bridges work garments and streetwear, and is one of the most authentic brands doing it today. “A tight link with our ‘mother brand,’ Utility Pro, allows us to access textile research, production skills, and workwear know-how,” says Simonetti. “Some brands take inspiration from workwear; we are in the office next to the archive, pulling design lines off of actual workwear, using the fabric R&D, and turning it into interesting street garments.”
After cutting her teeth at brands like Calvin Klein and The Gap, where she held pattern making and design stints, Recho Omondi launched her own eponymous label in 2013. “I was working in the industry as a designer and feeling that everything was boring,” she says. “I wanted a different perspective.”
Omondi is a women’s line for now, but Recho has released a few graphic and hand-stitched shirts, hoodies, and customizable crewneck sweaters. She says she wants to do a men’s line eventually, but needs support to bring her vision into fruition. “I’d love to,” she says. “But I need y’all to buy what I’m selling currently if you want that to happen.” So go ahead, support Omondi. Trust us, it’s a good one.
Here’s a life lesson for you: Know what you’re good at. Artist-designer Michael Carney knew he couldn’t play the guitar, so in November 2017 he founded his own brand, Central High. But Carney is no up-and-comer. When he’s not working on Central High, he’s designing graphics for Marc Jacobs.
Central High is a graphic-driven brand heavily informed by Carney’s fascination with American counterculture of the past, present, and future. For Fall/Winter 2018, Carney designed tees and a corduroy hat inspired by the psychedelic underground of the mid-to-late 20th century and the students, dropouts, and radicalized youth who influenced the movement.