Colin Meredith’s streetwear experience helps Arc’teryx evolve

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In the midst of another torrential downpour in Vancouver, Canada, Colin Meredith welcomes me to his apartment. Even from inside, the rain is almost louder than the Young Thug track coming from his speakers. His living space – which he describes as his “all-in-one bedroom, dining room, kitchen and work studio” – is stocked with enough handmade Gore-Tex outerwear and jackets Arc’teryx to keep an entire sports team dry. .

At just 27 years old, Meredith has amassed an impressive resume. Prior to joining the Arc’teryx team as a menswear designer in early 2021, he worked as an assistant for Justin Saunders, a apparel designer for CYC, completed internships at Noah NYC and WANT Les Essentiels, has designed for Dime and Louis Vuitton, and created a variety of unique pieces, often working with recycled and repurposed materials.

“It’s important to me that things always have that practical side. I think for sure I grew up. My dad is a designer,” he explains, citing his dad as a major influence in his work, and perhaps the inspiration behind articles like backpacks made from Arc’teryx jackets returned under warranty, and one jacket made from a Canadian military sleeping bag. “He really instilled this mindset of like ‘there’s no need to go in the trash’ and ‘we can probably find something to do with it’. I think a lot of my stuff comes from that state. I was dragging home some super weird stuff that was otherwise at the end of its life cycle, and I was just like, ‘OK, how can we do something fun with this?’ »

Although Meredith admits he was picky about what he wore even as a kid, he credits much of his early style inspiration to being an avid skateboarder as a teenager. “I was going to the skatepark at every opportunity. I was a full-fledged park rat,” he says. your style.”

Knowing at an early age that he was interested in fashion, he got his first job in the American Apparel warehouse. Later, Meredith was hired as a sales clerk at Still Life, a boutique down the street when he was still 16. “All of a sudden I was selling other things, like Brixton, and all the brands of jeans we had and stuff. Being in touch with fashion stuff like, smaller, cooler,” he says about his job. “I would spend all my salary there. I was always obsessed with gear and wanted all the shit. He mentions that he admires clothes from brands like Engineered Garments and Our Legacy at the Victoria’s Four Horsemen Shop, but he never could afford that kind of clothing as a teenager.

Instead, he decided to make his own. This passion for making clothes will finally lead him to move to Montreal at the age of 17. the Dime boys were there, and I was like…this is the coolest place in the world. Although Meredith didn’t finish fashion school, he stayed in Montreal until 2019.

In an industry where it’s often hard to stand out, Meredith stresses how important it was for him to get hands-on experience no matter how many emails he might have had to send. “Eventually they got back to me,” he says, explaining the story of his internship at Noah. With the little money he had, he took the train to New York, where he crashed on his uncle’s couch. “I think spending all this time in New York, I gained confidence and understood a lot of bullshit. I was the cool kid that everyone liked, but I was just packing boxes and sweeping the floors and doing random bullshit like running their warehouse sale, and whatever the interns did. Gaining valuable skills,” Meredith said. Without U.S. citizenship or a work visa, Meredith couldn’t get a job at Noah after After his internship ended, he returned to Canada to complete a one-year technical program at a college in Montreal to become more attractive to employers.

It was Meredith’s do-it-yourself attitude and perseverance that helped him get to where he is today. “If you want to do something interesting in the long run, you have to be more willing than the people next to you,” he says, explaining that he often felt like he had no other choice and if he wanted to turn his passion into a profession, he had to put everything into it. “I think it was a big achievement for me. You don’t gain much by sitting around and wishing you were doing something else. Rather than being discouraged after leaving fashion school, he attracted Justin Saunders’ attention and offered to work for him for free. Years later, this connection would eventually lead him to fly to Paris to work with Saunders and Virgil Abloh, designing a piece for the Louis Vuitton Spring 2020 pre-collection.

Meredith likens the impressive list of men’s brands he’s worked with to a “sort of personal clothing school” that has helped him gain valuable knowledge and skills from everything he’s done so far. here. “Learning from the old Arc’teryx guys – hanging out with the guys who’ve been there for 20 years – and asking them why they made certain design decisions has been huge,” he explains. “I learned so much, it’s crazy. I look forward to trying to put this knowledge into the product down the line. Currently working on the new System_A line, Meredith is the youngest designer on the Arc’teryx team. “That was obviously one of my goals when I was here working for Arc,” he admits. Things are clearly going well for him.

As for me, not so much. I will soon have to return to the Vancouver climate, still wearing my soaked pants, shoes and windbreaker. “Raise your Gorp,” he said encouragingly, and he laughed.

Here, Meredith talks more about her journey as a young designer, the current popularity of Arc’teryx, and the importance of just making things.

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