By Rabia Khan
It’s not often that you come across a brand that not only draws inspiration from a certain time period, but reinvents the lifestyle of it. Cue Jordan Wiseley, creative director and television personality turned designer. Wiseley created Strapped, a jacket-based collection focused on the classic Americana feel that has been lost in recent years.
Despite being centered on this nostalgic perspective, each piece manages to contain modern elements to it, which establishes a confidence and fearless nature to those who wear it. The collection provides staples of denim and leather, displaying beautiful washes that are rich, yet faded, a specific undertone that is difficult to replicate. Such a distinct result is attributed to Wiseley’s hard work, who spared no expense and dedicated time to cultivate the most luxe finishes. It’s all in the details: fringe, stitching, zippers, with splashes of leopard and suede. The intricacy allows for the clothing to exude a worn-in kind of quality.
Wiseley, who grew up surrounded by adrenaline sports a motorcycles, has reflections of his childhood throughout the line. The structure of each jacket (which are also unisex) carries a unique sense of a timeless and innovation. Wiseley’s work has the power to transition to many ranges of individuals: from the wardrobe of a badass New Yorker, the effortless style of a Californian to a small town ranch hand that wants to road trip through the Midwest. Riding a motorcycle, of course.
BASIC: Has fashion always been a dream of yours?
I don’t know if it was always a dream but I know that fashion has always been a big part of my life. I’m from a small town, we didn’t go far outside of Wrangler jeans, Justin boots, and flannels in middle school and high school. But I started making t-shirts and hoodies. I’d design stencils and then spray-paint the shirts. I didn’t know about screen-printing or anything but it ended up being cool. Fashion has just always been a part of my life so it only feels right that I’m still doing it.
At what point in your life would you say you became inspired to create your own brand?
The idea for Strapped has been in mind since I was in middle school. I grew up wakeboarding, motocross, surfing, skating – along with the other sports, but the adrenaline stuff was always there. I knew I wanted to build a brand around that and have a ranch that had all my toys. Not just be good at it, but be able to compete. I fully plan on racing cars and motorcycles forever. So with the brand, I always knew I’d incorporate all of that together, but I had no idea that fashion would end up being a part of that. It’s just such an integral part of us now.
That really happened because of building motorcycles. I ended up building a bike that had some custom leather work on it, so we made these custom saddlebags that went with it. The special thing about them was that they could be attached or come off and be a bag. When you parked you could throw a strap on it and walk off, you didn’t have to leave your bag or carry it in your arms. Throw it on and go. I still use the very bag I made today as my computer bag. We’ve evolved so far past that now, it was very crude.
I had no idea how to use a leather sewing machine or anything like that so I was hand punching every hole that the needles had to go through. It took like two weeks to make one bag. Now it takes like two hours. It’s just snowballed into what it is now. I first walked into a leather store and was like ‘look at all this stuff,’ and then I walked into a silk store and was like ‘whoa look at all this stuff.’ The same with denim and everywhere I walked into- new toys.
Have you always been drawn to motorcycles and classic American style?
From day one I wanted to ride things, I wanted wind in my hair. I grew up watching John Wayne movies with my dad, Clint Eastwood movies. The two main guys I followed hardcore were Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. These guys raced cars and they did cool stuff in movies. They got to play all the coolest roles, always had the slick things to say to the girl.
That’s the essence of Strapped, what McQueen embodied. Always had to a motorcycle on set, always had his toys around. That’s how I see everything that Strapped does-toys. If we’re having fun doing it, (and it helps to be good at it), but then we can just be successful and happy doing things with our friends. That’s the core of Strapped.
With design, some pieces are easier cultivated than others. From this collection, what piece was the most challenging to complete?
This is a really good question. A lot of our pieces are actually accidents. You’re striving for this thing you have in your head and then you get all these revisions back and then you go ‘hey I never even thought about this, this looks great.’ Or halfway through the process of trying to get to point A you’re already at point B. I think the hardest part, especially with us being a new brand-was finding a manufacturer and team that could handle the logistics of what we do. Because of what we do with our denim and leather. We construct it, wash it, deconstruct it, add the leather, add the silk, add the paint, and then put it all back together. We do this with bags, jackets, a lot of our pants are lined with silk. When you want that look you’ve got to do what it takes to get it. Sure you could get someone to pre-distress the denim but it doesn’t look right. I’m not going to use shitty quality materials and compete in the market we’re in. I want the best quality everything, thread, sewers. The hardest part is just the logistics of getting our designs created.
Our average client is younger just in the sense that we’re in the pop culture and music scene. Me being in the entertainment industry already…I really want to tap into that. I think our demographic is ambitious, our jackets and clothes aren’t for everybody. There are a lot of people that don’t like to step out of that traditional thing but we make all kinds. Some people aren’t ambitious enough to step into that. Our demo is brave enough to try new things. A huge aspect that people are going to grasp onto is that we make something not to last. These are made like they made classic Americana 50 years ago. By hand. Everything we make is by hand, everything we cut is by hand. One by one. Everyone who works for us and touches our garments is paid hourly and very fairly. We take pride in that. We don’t work with anybody who doesn’t run their company the same way.
Do you have a dream client you would want to dress/see in your items?
There’s so many. For one, Lil Uzi Vert. I love his style right now, he’s pushing the boundaries. This guy will wear a woman’s sheer blouse and rock it. He’s killing it. Fashion is a lawless game right now, people are free t do whatever they want. Especially with the gender fluidity. Men are getting to experiment with styles that they haven’t touched and women with things they haven’t played with yet. For another, this probably comes as no surprise, but Jared Leto. He’s been pushing his style and fashion for years. To cross paths with that guy would be pretty amazing.