Every year a new brand becomes the face of the streetwear industry, with the recipe for success being: print a logo on a t-shirt and sell it for a reasonable price (if you consider $60 for a t-shirt reasonable). It sounds pretty simple. Last year Gosha Rubchinskiy blew up across the internet and now his collections are some of the most sought after among streetwear and high fashion fans alike. But brands that create a massive amount of hype is no new thing to the fashion world. Before Gosha it was Palace, and Supreme has been doing it for years. The achilles heal for these brands, however, is the question of whether the price is representative of the quality. For designers Jarrod Blasé and Marcel Consiglio, they don’t pay attention to what everyone else is doing and took a different approach when starting their own brand, Years of Mercí (translated to Years of Thanks), in February of this year. Focusing on quality and individuality, the young designers look to bridge the gap between streetwear and high fashion by delivering handcrafted garments sourced in the US.
Close friends since high school, Blasé and Consiglio come from a small town in the peninsula of Cape Cod. According to Blasé they went their separate ways for college but the two have been bouncing business ideas off of each other for years. Now they have made them a reality with Years of Mercí. Consiglio has a background in accounting and acts as the business mind of the collaboration, where as Blasé, who attends Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, works with the clothes and has an eye for design.
“Jarrod was at Fashion Institute of Technology sewing shirts and he showed me one of his pieces and I loved it. We came up with some new ideas and we thought it could be something revolutionary,” said Consiglio. “We both have a similar vision and I’ve never felt more in tune with someone than I have with him [Jarrod].”
Coming from “The Cape,” an area which is known for having a preppy style of bright colored collared shirts, shorts, and boat shoes, you might think that their brand would be in competition with Vineyard Vines or Sperry Topsider. However their hometown roots of sailing and beach life don’t define their style as a brand that is heavily influenced by hip-hop, skate culture, and the architecture of New York City. With their pieces in earthy color tones, the Years of Mercí first collection, which launched on July 15th, features four unique garments: a drop front tee with nylon straps dangling symmetrically from each side slit, a bandana with Years of Mercí branding, a cropped tee with large 12” side slits, and a layering tank top with a drop tail and side slits. With their first collection already showing innovative designs, the ambitious designers are ready to lead the fashion industry into what they believe is the next evolution of style.
“There’s two ways to brand a company. It’s either with a logo or an aesthetic and we are going for how the clothes look on your body, how you can put an outfit together with the garments, we are going for more of an aesthetic feel,” said Consiglio.
By designing their clothing purely on aesthetic appeal, it allows the duo to try new things that customers haven't seen before with other brands. Already in their first collection they achieved this with their “Cult-T,” which features a drop front instead of the typical drop tail. The drop front adds an extra element to layering, meant to give balance to the drop tail look. Again with the “Creed Crop Tee” the large 12” side slits is an interesting piece that adds a nice flair to the unique layering piece. Pushing the boundaries of fashion and doing something groundbreaking is an essential part of the Years of Mercí brand.
“I don't want to create something other people have been creating, I want to create through my own image and what I want to wear. Why not do something different?” Consiglio said.
But beyond the uniqueness of the clothing that Years of Mercí produce (each respective piece is handcrafted in LA by one garment worker), the brand aims for their customers to find individuality amongst the trendy crowd. The brand believes that their clothing is a tool for someone to help detail their self expression.
“Everyday when you wake up you choose the skin that you wear. The clothes you dress in, that’s how you choose to present yourself to the world. If you present yourself in nice clothes you will be judged differently. It’s the same as if you wear a suit everyday, people will look at you a certain way. It gives you a persona and a way to represent who you are,” Blasé said.
Customers of Years of Mercí can connect with the clothing, viewing it from their own perspective. Within the clothing you can see the influences that play a major role for the designers in their process of sketching and developing the clothes. After months of inspirations and searching for the right fabrics, Consiglio and Blasé incorporate their surroundings of living in NYC into each garment.
“Hip hop, skate, and my surroundings inspire me. I look at a building and figure out a way to put that to paper and then to a garment. I look at the colors of trees and ask, how can I put that into a garment? I don't like taking ideas from other garments, mostly it’s the world that surrounds me,” said Blasé.
After releasing the first collection with just four pieces, Blasé and Consiglio already have their sights on the second collection. Looking to push even more boundaries aesthetically, they hope the Years of Mercí brand will take off with the success of their first release this summer. With an estimated release of October or November of 2016, more unique pieces are on the way. As for the future of the brand, the designers from Cape Cod simply want to be the best in the business.
“We want to be one of the highest brands in the industry for our niche. When we have a location we want to have people waiting outside to buy our products,” said Consiglio confidently. “We want people to really love what we are creating.”
The young designers from Cape Cod are hungry to revolutionize how clothes are perceived and worn in the fashion industry. For Blasé and Consiglio, fashion means everything to them and they simply want to share their passion with their brand Years of Mercí. For them, fashion is artwork draped across the human body.
Visit yearsofmerci.com to find out more.