Meet Simon Spurr: Designer of Quality Men’s Wear
Simon Spurr and his SPURR Friends
Londoner-turned-New Yorker, Simon Spurr, started men’s clothing brand SPURR three years ago. Spurr, former designer for Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren’s esteemed Black and Purple labels, has created a high-end brand which is a fast rising star. With timeless design, and notably durable materials, it’s no wonder SPURR can regularly be found on the pages on GQ.
Simon Spurr and SPURR alike have a strong relationship with Los Angeles. “LA is becoming a very, very important city for me and my company,” Spurr said in a recent chat with LAist. Aside from being found locally at popular retailers Barney’s, Confederacy and American Rag, SPURR’s denim is manufactured here as well. “The denim’s made in one of the better factories in LA. They do a beautiful product.”
LAist recently had a chance to chat with Simon about SPURR, LA style and what the LA guy can do to dress a little better.
LAist: What is SPURR?
Simon Spurr: Some people have said that we produce classics with a twist, or classics with an edge. But really, we produce quality men’s wear. There’s a sensibility to it that’s young and modern and more contemporary. There’s an expression in the fit. The denim’s made in LA. The rest of the collection’s Italian-made with English, Italian and Japanese fabric.
We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re not trying to be an ultra kind of conceptual brand. I would like people to compare us to a more understated Dior, or a more price-competitive Burberry.
How’s your relationship with Los Angeles?
I like LA. It’s very different from New York. It’s a little slower. I think the quality of life is a little higher. The climate contributes considerably to that.
I’ve really kind of gotten to know LA a little more over the least ten years, since I first came. One of the first times I came was when I was with Calvin Klein and I used to come out and do vintage research. I would stay at the Mondrian on Sunset. I guess when you’re staying at a boutique hotel like that it draws a certain crowd, that kind of more glamour side of LA. Now I see more facets of LA. It’s not just Hollywood-driven.
What is LA to SPURR?
In New York it’s very "got to go, got to go." It’s like a race. In LA you can take time, you can relax, you can let your mind breathe. You might be more open to certain things, or seeing things. It allows your brain to kind of free up, and to allow different types of thoughts to enter and pass. I think that’s creative. LA can be a very creative environment. It’s a comfortable environment to wander and to shop.
How do you find LA’s vintage shopping?
The vintage shopping in LA is much cheaper than anywhere else, with the exception of somewhere like Berlin. There’s some great vintage finds in LA, you just have to look and dig. That’s what I like doing. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, getting in there, getting to the bottom of the pile and really kind of sorting through -- finding the needle in the haystack, so to speak.
What’s a great LA vintage spot?
The Rose Bowl [Flea Market.] I always live there.
What do you think is LA fashion?
It’s definitely a little more carefree, it’s a little more of a relaxed style. There are so many influences in LA from the mountains to the beach and the climate. Being what it is lends itself to kind of slightly less structured pieces, a bit more of a kind of comfortable, looser silhouette -- I’m not saying baggy. LA style for me used to be kind of washed, faded, ripped jeans. I think there’s a shift, guys are getting a little sharper in LA right now.
How is the LA guy improving?
The LA guy is becoming more aware of himself, and dressing accordingly. Once a skater, always a skater, but at the same time, to wear the baggy pants when you’re like 35, 40 -- you have to evolve.
Do you have any tips for the LA guy?
Men tend to buy one or two sizes too big. Buy some more sizes. The way you wear things is so important. That comes down to the size. If you have a pair of jeans, a stripped shirt, and an oversized sportcoat, then it’s going to look old fashioned. But if it fits you perfectly, all of a sudden you look like an edgy, kind of downtown, hip guy. You can still wear that in a hot climate.
What is fashion vs. style?
For me there’s a big difference between fashion and style. Fashion is normally set by trends, tastemakers, and what magazines say is in fashion. Style is something more timeless and inherent with each person. I prefer the guys who have more style to them. It might not be my style, but it’s their style and they feel comfortable wearing it. It allows them to operate on a higher plane because they feel good about themselves.
Who are some of the best dressed men in Hollywood?
Brad Pitt. I know that he’s getting a lot of clothes from Tom Ford, and I like Tom Ford a lot. Josh Brolin. Naturally he’s somewhat quite the cowboy. He’s got the cowboy boots, the jeans, the shirts, and yet he demonstrates a lot of range, like his acting. He can dress up, and do it in a young way.
How is the economy effecting SPURR?
I don’t want this economy to be the way it is, of course, but I honestly think the economy is helping us. People, through the lack of money, are questioning what they’re buying. They want to spend the money on something that’ll last. I think men in particular are shifting towards quality.
What SPURR offers is a designer aesthetic that’ll wear well and will last you a lifetime. You’ll be happy with it. Then a year later, you buy your second pair of years, or your second shirt. Then over like three years, four years, you’ve got a kind of a good selection of SPURR in your wardrobe.
SPURR launched as a denim-only brand. Why was that?
I personally couldn’t find the definitive jean. I’d always been wearing old Helmut Lang or APC. And I love those brands, but I couldn’t find a product out there that satisfied my needs. With my friend Judd, we started SPURR. We started the company with American denim made in the USA. We quickly moved into other product categories past denim. I didn’t want to be another denim brand. There’s so many denim brands out there.
Where in LA can your denim be found today?
We’re in with the denim at American Rag on LaBrea. We’ve only got a little in the shop. In that particular store, they had bought a small selection a jeans a while ago, and it’s taken some time for the LA community to find us in there. Historically the denim in LA has been more kind of wash-driven, whiskers and fading and things like that, so it’s taking a little while to embrace the rigid denim and the pima cotton -- soft denim.
Who wears SPURR?
Keanu Reeves, Tom Cruise, Zac Efron, Will Smith. Cameron Silver, that owns Decades, he’s a friend and he never wears denim. The only denim that he wears is SPURR denim. He’s in with like all the tastemakers and when they see him wear the denim they’re like “oh wow, I never see you in Denim, what denim is it?”
Unfortunately, the industry requires a certain amount of get-your-stuff-on-celebrities. Big Hollywood names help drive sales. The public worldwide is very effected by what products celebrities are wearing. It’s been effective for the brand, in making people aware of what we are. I’m also very conscious of the fact I’m a small brand.
What’s next for SPURR?
Once the men’s wear is running smoothly then I’ll start women’s wear. It’s definitely on the cards. We’re in this for a long time. I believe in organic growth. I don’t want to run before I can walk. Three years ago we were just twelve pairs of jeans hanging on the rack. It’s growing quickly.
Photos by Gavin Bond / used with permission
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