Rep Your Hood — Le Collektor Introduces Zip-Up Sweatshirts Featuring Interchangeable Hoods
A cozy but chic zip-up hoodie is as essential to a city gal’s closet as a leather biker jacket, a flossy pair of sneakers, and some skinny jeans. In fact, those of us who hail from the hip-hop generation consider a hoodie to be the urban equivalent of a polo shirt in a preppy suburban wardrobe — it’s just as important a fashion staple and just as versatile. But, sometimes, a plain black, navy, or gray hoodie feels a bit unexciting. Sometimes, a girl needs a hoodie with a bit more flavor. And that’s where Le Collektor comes in. This new brand applies the concept of wearable art to the laid-back streetwear staple by offering interchangeable hoods with intricate prints designed by noted graffiti writers, stencil artists, illustrators, painters, and graphic designers. Still in its nascent stages, the brand made its debut on Kickstarter this week, unveiling its sample run and hoping to create enough buzz and build enough enthusiasm to raise the funds necessary to put in a full-fledged production order. If you like the concept, then, you can make a donation (ranging from $1 to $500) via Kickstarter and become an instrumental part of the brand’s development.
How would it all work, you ask? Well, customers would first buy one of Le Collektor’s premium jackets (check out the photos of those below), which are made of a custom-knit fleece comprised of 75% cotton and 25% polyester. Available in basic navy blue or a heather gray, each jacket features a zip-up front and a zipper right along the collar that allows you to detach the built-in hood. You can then swap that hood out for one of the brand’s “art hoods,” which feature designs custom-made by hand-picked artists. Each Le Collektor hoodie retails for $95 and is available in men’s sizes S, M, L, and XL (women are welcome to wear the hoodies too, and they can refer to the size chart on Kickstarter for exact dimensions). And, thanks to the ribbed size panels, the fit isn’t overly baggy or dumpy. Another plus: each jacket incorporates such tech-minded features as a hidden iPhone pocket and a headphone port.
If you want to wear your sweatshirt without a hood, you can do so happily since its ribbed bomber collar is stylish enough to be rocked solo. But, if you want to help your favorite artist acquire “all city” status, you can rock his hood design. The inagural collection, then, includes Art Hoods by Nick Gazin, EWOK, Sonni, Drury Brennan, Joseph Meloy, and Chris Uphues, all created via a sublimated printing technique that allows each print to be as saturated in color as the artists’ original work. Each Art Hood would retail for $55 and could be zipped onto any Le Collektor hoodie, so you can constantly recreate your favorite sweatshirt.
Pictured above are some of the Collektor Art Hood designs in the debut collection. The Joseph Meloy Art Hood, shown at top, features bright abstract shapes like chevron-striped rectangles, overlapping circles, squiggly shapes, and caricature-esque creatures that are pieced together to create a kinetic montage that feels like an urban rendition of ancient hieroglyphics. The Chris Uphues Art Hood, shown second from top, features the designer’s trademark “happy hearts” print, which began as street art motifs that Uphues wheat pasted onto walls in New York and Chicago and which later appeared on totes, wallets, tees, and more. If you’re familiar with Parisian boutique Colette, you might recall seeing these hearts on memory card holders, apple boxes for camera stands, and reflectors — all part of last year’s SELBZ x Chris Uphues limited edition collection of camera accessories.
The Nicholas Gazin Art Hood, meanwhile, features portrait style illustrations of different faces, many of them peculiar. On the inner part of the hood, then, you’ll find a vintage-feeling sketch of a man with a handlebar mustache; one of an older man’s face, retro, square, oversize glasses covering his face; one of a chubby-cheeked baby girl; another of a whiskered cat; and so forth. Each of the faces has a different background color — from green to light blue and red — and some of them overlap to create a collage-like feel. The outer portion of the hood, meanwhile, features splashes of yellow color meant to resemble blonde hair.
Want a hood that will make you reminisce about your childhood? Then check out the Sonni piece shown fourth above, which features joyful, light-hearted depictions of turntables, boom boxes, clef symbols, musical notes, iPods, and headphone-wearing characters — all of these floating around atop a navy blue backdrop and featuring the red, yellow, white, and blue colors we associate with children’s toys, pre-school play rooms, and so forth.
The Ewok hood, shown last above, brings mural art to life by recreating an aerosol-painted piece on a brick wall, so that you can even see the shadowy outlines of the bricks incorporated into the surreal and vibrant design.
And, of course, these hoods are only the beginning. Once Le Collektor raises the funding it needs, you can expect to see work from more artists, different color ways for the jackets, and more.
Dig the idea? Then go to Kickstarter.com and make these hood dreams come true!