Trust Will Quinn, this is “not your granddad’s suit”

Trust Will Quinn, this is “not your granddad’s suit”

Trust Will Quinn, this is “not your granddad’s suit”

In the past half decade, menswear has experienced a sartorial renaissance, a long overdue awakening that has led to the rediscovery of traditional tailoring. Grounded in the bespoke craftsmanship of Saville Row, this movement has sparked a re-education across the board. Young men are abandoning hoodies for cable knits, trainers for brogues and suits are no longer limited to business settings. Men are becoming increasingly more fashion conscious and this sentiment is recognized across the fashion industry.

As more men grow comfortable with their wardrobe, it doesnt take long to realize that mens fashion, in all its glory, has its limits. The classics can provide one with a solid foundation but heritage often runs the risk of becoming parochial. The question quickly becomes, How can a man differentiate and explore self expression, while still giving a nod to the OGs of menswear?

Enter Will Quinn, an American-born designer and founder of the mens fashion brand, Ratpack.

The tagline from last years collection says it all: not your granddads suit. While the label pays homage to the eponymous 60s group of entertainment iconoclasts – Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Humphrey Bogart – and the slim tailed suits that they wore, Quinn puts a fresh and edgy spin on the classics. This years collection boasted bold jacket linings of Americana-pop-art-turned-patterned-print and an arrangement of buttons and trims that ranged from loud to downright inflammatory.

I had the opportunity to catch up with Will earlier this month during Shanghai fashion week. We agreed to meet at his pop-up store in the crowded Xintiandi district, the epicenter of this years fashion week. After walking through the rows of crowded stalls that were inundated with buyers, bloggers and designers, I found the Ratpack display and was immediately taken by the aesthetic. Mannequins were crowned with stitched rat headdresses and the tables were littered with discarded Americana classics: fast food wrappers, cigarette butts and chewing gum foil. Amongst this graveyard of Madison Avenues greatest advertising creations stood Will. He was dressed in a nonchalantly disheveled grey suit with a wide knit tie that was held down with an oversized safety pin. He had just finished pressing a jacket and was admiring his work. The steamer lay displaced in the corner.

After exchanging pleasantries and catching up on the events of the week, I was given a tour of the collection. Will pointed out the hand drawn patterns and the intricate stitching that marked so many of his pieces. Like a proud father, he held up a jacket that was adorned with hundreds of buttons. I had stitched all of these, he said, it was a bitch. The craftsmanship didnt go unnoticed though, as Wills knack for detail is what fuels the aesthetic of the brand.

Will was cool enough to answer a blitz of questions at the end of our meeting. The results of that interview are as follows:

 

XXY: Please give us the rundown on your current position and company.

Will Quinn: I own and design for my brand, Ratpack by Will Quinn.

 

XXY: What specific things attracted you to the position?

WQ: I had a streetwear brand before – when I moved to China I stopped wearing that and had to grow up my style a bit more. So, I started getting into mens suiting and after I sold that brand, I started this one.

 

XXY: What were the biggest factors that helped you obtain your current position?

WQ: My own personal style.

 

XXY: When things are stressful in the office/studio whats your remedy?

WQ: Gin and Coca-Cola.

 

XXY: What is the most exciting project that you have worked on in the past 12 months?

WQ: Working on my new seasons showrooms.

 

XXY: How is your role changing, either within your own company or the industry itself, and what are the forces driving this change?

WQ: My brand does a lot of custom tailoring but, since the success of my most recent season, we are going to focus on the large-scale store orders. 

 

XXY: What inspires you and how do you remain creative and fresh?

WQ: Tumblr, but more seriously, its mostly the women in my life.

 

XXY: Whats the best advice youve ever had?

WQ: Lil Jon told me to get crunk!

 

XXY: What cant you start your day without?

WQ: Putting on a tie.

 

XXY: What plans do you have for the future?

WQ: Growing my brand to the US and Europe, and living in New York.

 

XXY: What advice do you have for people who are interested in pursuing your same line of work?

WQ: Be mean as fuck. If youre nice, youll never make it.

 
 

Words by Stuart Ahlum

Images courtesy of Ratpack by Will Quinn