To celebrate the launch of our leather eau de parfum, we sat down with some of the most notable leather aficionados in New York City to discuss what it is about this material that makes it so unique, both in terms of design and our personal experience with it. First up is Jeff Johnson, founder of outerwear brand the arrivals, which combines performance-driven innovation with fashion-forward design to create products that are both functional and luxurious.
Tell us about a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start The Arrivals.
I was working in Amsterdam as an architect and was constantly on the hunt for design-focused outerwear that could stand up to their winters. What I found along the way was that fashion and performance were divided – you either have a great looking product that doesn’t stand up to the cold, or boring outerwear that does nothing but shield you from the elements. When we started The Arrivals, we set out to create a product that masters both.
Your brand is pretty well known for leather jackets. How do you go about reinventing such a quintessential item and making it unique?
We look to create outerwear that feels current, but has an element of timelessness. A leather jacket is already such a closet staple so we approached it from the lens of – how do we make the best leather jacket on the market? We honed in on the material composition and design details to produce pieces that will stand the test of time from both an aesthetic and durability perspective.
What do you consider the most important elements of designing your outerwear?
We’re driven by function first. We spend a lot of time thinking through material innovation and technical performance to produce a product that is purposeful while maintaining a high level of style and attention to detail. Very early on we found that our customer responded well to a carefully edited collection – there is intention behind each and every piece we release.
What do you think of when you smell our leather fragrance?
I've always been fascinated by the idea that an invisible medium such as scent can evoke a sense of time, place and mood. For me, malin+goetz's leather fragrance is both familiar and complex, with a clean yet smoky finish.
You guys are also based in New York. In what ways has the city inspired your brand?
New York as a city and culture is both sophisticated and gritty. This polished rawness is something that inspired us when conceiving The Arrivals and continues to fuel our design and creative process today.
What are some of your favorite neighborhood haunts around the city?
We’re continuing to expand our product offerings as we dive deeper into shearling and down silhouettes alongside some new categories. We recently launched eyewear which is brand new for us and we've been thrilled by the response so far. Our customer feedback guides a lot of how we approach designing for the next season or collection – we’ve built an incredible community this way. We plan to continue to lean into our community to drive the brand forward and deliver innovative, functional product with exceptional quality.
By Hallie Liang
Want more leather? Read our interview with KOIO founders Chris Wichert + Johannes Quodt here.