We’re not going to lie, 2020’s been wild for us - so it’s a relief to be able to get back into something resembling a swing of things and releasing things for Fall. And we are beyond excited to announce this collaboration with our friends at 18 East. It celebrates what we have in common while expressing our individual perspectives, and also in a very real way, their friendship and trust that’s helping us to get through this year.
As you may know, 18 East is a New York-based brand founded by Antonio Ciongoli. They released their first collection in the fall of 2018 and immediately caught our attention by the way they showcased artisanal craft through soulful clothes that reflect Antonio’s personality and perspective - influences that started to appear in his last seasons as creative director of Eidos.
We first met Antonio through a mutual friend and would find ourselves stopping by their Elizabeth Street studio as we searched for a space of our own late in 2019. By the time we confirmed we’d be setting up shop a couple blocks up the street from them, we had found we had a lot in common. Upon signing our New York flagship lease, we invited various friends in our new neighborhood to work with us on different collaboration projects to celebrate our store opening. We asked Antonio if he'd be down and were thrilled when he agreed.
We had been thinking of doing our take on a German military liner from our archives for a while, but hadn’t yet figured out how to get it off the ground. After talking to Antonio, he thought his partners in India could do a great job. We also share an appreciation for military garments - not only the utility of their design, but also the way they’ve been given new meaning by counter cultures. We’ve each incorporated surplus-inspired pieces into our respective lines and this seemed like a great way to continue that practice.
The liner that inspired us is made out of a nylon quilted fabric, extending a European practice that is thought to have gone back as far as the 12th century, when the Crusaders would wear a quilted garment underneath their armor. As it happens, 18 East has been incorporating a quilting method called kantha into some of their pieces. If you’re not familiar with it, kantha is a traditional method from the Eastern part of the Indian subcontinent. At the risk of oversimplifying it, you might think of it as a loose cousin to the Japanese sashiko embroidery technique, using hand-stitching to make a sturdy, dense fabric out of thinner layers.
The 18 East kantha is really special - we’ll let Antonio explain why:
“We wove the cotton face and back separately on handlooms, and then hand-stitched them together with a much thicker cotton thread in an alternating triangle pattern that we thought was reminiscent of mountains. What's interesting about this is that yarns are hidden in between the triangles in the “negative space” section of each side, which create lightly padded sections of fill, like a lightweight down jacket.”
The hand-stitching also creates a tension in the fabric that causes a vertical ripple in those negative spaces, which adds a ton of character to the fabric and contrasts beautifully with the horizontal running stitches in a natural dynamic that we can’t help but relate to wabi-sabi. We kept the distinctive chest pocket from the traditional German liner and added some small utility-oriented details such as a two way zip and hand pockets. But mostly, we let the fabric speak for itself. To subtly emphasize its unique texture, 18 East sent the finished cloth to their friends at Bagru Textiles to overdye it: one lot in indigo, and the other in a natural iron dye to give it a black cast that we call “black indigo.”
We’re really proud of how the jacket turned out and grateful for the friendship that it represents. Our journey towards production in India is something that we’ll talk about more in the weeks ahead, but it all started with an introduction that Antonio made. It’s been a bright spot in a tough year, and we’re excited about how our new partners will be able to help us expand what we’re able to make, alongside the clothes you already know and love from our long-standing relationship with Sky Blue. If you’ve seen the shirt we made with Cody Hudson, you’ll know exactly the high quality our new partners are capable of. And simply put, there’s nowhere else in the world we could have made this jacket.
For this, we credit Antonio and his team. We've been doing this for awhile and it's rare for people in our industry to volunteer to share production connections, much less with with people they had only met a few months before. It was a move that felt really neighborly, like we were part of something together now. We can’t thank them enough and we hope you like what we’ve created as much as we do. And beyond this collaboration, we’re looking forward to working with him to help support our surrounding community during these difficult times and beyond.
The 18 East for 3sixteen Kantha Liner retails for $375 and will be available exclusively via our NY Flagship store beginning on Friday, September 18th in limited quantities. Our aim is to roll this release out safely and fairly, so please note the following guidelines:
- A NY in-store appointment will be required to make a purchase.
- Customers who attempt to make multiple appointments will have all time slots canceled.
- Appointments can be made via our online booking tool.
- We will not be able to accommodate walk-ins unless we have an empty time slot.
- In fairness to all, we will limit purchases to one jacket per customer.
- Phone orders cannot be accommodated.
3sixteen New York
190 Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10012