As I see it, the best designers aren’t the ones who try to reinvent the wheel, they’re the ones who keep coming up with new ways to make it interesting. It’s a feat that’s all in the details; subtle singularities that make the well-worn welcome again, without detracting from the broader qualities that made the item well-worn in the first place. It is this balance between unique and familiar, between old and new, that enables goods to transcend trends and eras. And, it is precisely this balance that makes the newly launched Baron Wells such a stand-out. Live as of last month, the label’s inaugural range is undeniably of the now in both form and fit, and yet, its appreciation of – and respect for – its roots and points of inspiration are enough to maintain its appeal long after current tastes have changed.
An eclectic and distinct mix, the company’s first collection includes 100% Italian silk ties, fitted board-shorts and an extensive range of eco-friendly cufflinks. However, it’s the tailored shirting that really steals the show. Marked by unexpected colors, unique detailing (button-down club collars, iPhone shaped chest pockets, convertible classic / cufflink cuffs), an exceptional fit and top of the line construction, BW’s shirts are some of my favorite on the market (and in my closet).
All BW goods, from the cufflinks, to the ties, to the shirts, are handcrafted in New York City. Materials are painstakingly sourced from all over the world, and only the highest-quality textiles and accoutrement are used. After all, if you’re going to make something worthy of being deemed “timeless,” you’d better well make sure that it’ll last. And they most certainly do.
Baron Wells co-founder Dominic Volini recently took some time out to answer a few questions through email. Here’s what he had to say.
Business is going very well. Considering we launched Baron Wells officially a few weeks ago, we have been getting a lot of attention lately. After spending a month in Aspen this past winter to help my friends open Tenet (emerging designer boutique), I can confidently say that people are starting to buy again. Maybe not in the volume they used to, but much better than last year. They are making smarter, more value-driven purchases – which Baron Wells offers.
How would you describe BW’s code of ethics?
I wouldn’t say we have a code of ethics – it is more like a soul and conscious. We need to be a profitable business but are conscious of our impact and the factories we choose to work with and the components that go into the collection. Whenever we can produce local, we do. Whenever we can source something more sustainable, we do. The one caveat is that we don’t let these restrictions diminish our sense of style and level of craftsmanship. If something is much easier to make in Italy or Japan, we will do that. Quality is what we seek – not cost structures.
Gotta love the Teal Cozo Nut Cufflink.
How is BW able to maintain its code of ethics while producing affordable clothing?
If you want to produce in New York or Italy and use proper materials, it costs much more. We exist because our customer realizes this quality and looks to us to adhere to it.
Why do you think bigger companies can’t (or won’t) do the same?
I think profit margin and scale. When you do large volume, pennies per piece can mean the difference between thousands and millions. Now, add $10-20 per garment to get it made in the US, and you’ve broken their (current) business model.
All BW shirts have unisex sizing, and with good reason.
Do you think BW’s code of ethics has helped to attract customers, or play any other role in the success of the company?
Yes, we are a creative emerging brand that has a voice and defined aesthetic. Our customers appreciate our sensitivity to design and details as well as our local NYC production.
Are there any specific new ways BW is currently working to increase its level of social responsibility? If yes, what are they?
Since we are new to the marketplace, we don’t have any new developments as of now. We will continue to keep ourselves in check and always are on the lookout for quality, progressive and unique sustainable components.
On a personal level, do you think the growing demand for socially responsible products is a fad, or, representative of some sort of larger shift in consumer culture?
I think the baseless marketing some companies have done has devalued the message. I don’t believe it is a fad though. Younger designers in areas from furniture to fashion have socially responsible practices embedded in their creative process. I think the messaging of the truly responsible designers will be understated, yet very present in their works.
For price and purchase info, visit Baron Wells.