Despite the 84 million viewers who tuned in to the most watched political debate between the so-called two evils, Samsara showcased sustainability and the internal struggle between the light side and dark side throughout its Spring/Summer 2017 show No Body No Mind at Soterik in Downtown L.A.
Wide leg culottes, big teeth zippers and conscientious cutouts dominated the high-end sportswear brand’s runway with neutral tones and eco-friendly materials such as hemp and organic cotton. Street-casted and agency models with hair and makeup by Luxelab and Chic Studios performed on the runway.
The creative director-cum-model Tarpley Brooks Jones went through a complete transformation on stage as the lead character trapped in a never ending cycle between opposing forces, attaining moksha.
Samsara also showcased its SS17 collection at Berlin Fashion Week and Fashion Week Mexico.
In terms of breaking away from the cycle of fast fashion and run-of-the-mill ramps, here’s what 27-year-old Jones has to say about his brainchild Samsara.
KG: How would you say your style has evolved since you started Samsara in 2015?
TBJ: My first styles were inspired by cool subcultures existing on the internet. This meant very extreme color and maximum design on sublimated items that paid homage to ideas such as seapunk and vaporwave. I was into this at the time, but really, it was just serving as my introduction to design. Once I found how to create the garments in my head that I wanted in real life, I slowly progressed into much higher creations that I had always wanted to make.
Now I am working towards the goal that has always been there, which was to create high fashion with the streetwear flavor.
KG: Do you often dream of your designs, concepts or inspirations?
TBJ: I am a completely visual person. This is how I work. I see what I want in my head then work with someone to create the vision. I have no technical fashion background, so at the beginning, this seemed limiting. Luckily, I found people who were amazing at construction, but lacked the vision to create forward-thinking garments. There, the marriage was met as I now work with different people to achieve my vision. I work digitally to create the garments I want, and we then turn the vision into reality.
KG: No Body No Mind debuted in DTLA d during the first presidential debate. What is Samsara’s political stance for the upcoming November election?
TBJ: At this point, any comment only further perpetuates the problem. Like George Carlin said, “If you think there’s a solution, you’re a part of the problem.”
KG: What has been the most challenging aspect of driving a ethical and eco-friendly clothing line?
TBJ: Prices are more expensive for sure, but that was to be expected. But anything must be done to stop fast fashion and the ruining of our planet just for clothes.
KG: Is the name Samara derived from the Buddhist term? How would you compare your clothing line with your philosophy of life?
TBJ: Yes. Samsara means the cycle of life and death which is what everyone is in here in life. The goal is to become enlightened and break free of this cycle and reach Satori. My clothing is all meant to spread awareness and hopefully be another step in an oath towards this awakening. Buddhist ideas are my world. However, I do not believe in organized religion. The clothes I make, and really the overall vision and message of the brand, is to spread this awareness through creative ways that still maintain high fashion. [It’s] a very difficult challenge, but one in which I know the ending.
KG: In terms of the whole fashion industry, do you keep up with trends? What can you forecast for next year?
TBJ: Trends come and go each week now, as it is not just a seasonal thing. But I will guess [the trends] will be: huge couture bags, natural makeup, the ’80s, lip rings and more and more jeans manipulated in different ways.
KG: How has DTLA impacted your design process and production?
TBJ: I am in DTLA all the time, whether it be for meetings, friends, hanging out and catching vibes or trying to find inspiration. I love it because it just has so much potential. I still believe it is slowly progressing to its eventuality, which is a thriving arts community that also stays commercially driven. [It’s] Silver Lake meets Mid-City with big buildings.
KG: If you can any be person or animal in Samsara, who would you choose and what would be the garment of choice?
TBJ: I am and also will be a lion. My garment of choice will always be some amazing jeans, which could be interpreted in many ways. But certainly jeans and a very comfy, progressively constructed hoodie over top with some stunning Yohji Yamamoto shoes.
KG: Would you consider DTLA your home?
TBJ: DTLA is my home away from home. And probably the future home to Samsara Studios.
KG: What can we expect for AW17?
TBJ: I don’t want to give away much, but [there will be] vegan leather for sure. I am about to work with it and manipulate it in some very cool ways.
KG: Are there any trends you feel should not be reborn?
TBJ: Honestly, trends bore me. I do not like to get caught up in them. I like to set them, to be perfectly honest.
For more info., visit: www.samsara-collections.myshopify.com.