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  • Arnaud Faeh of OAMC    

11/05/15 Arnaud Faeh of OAMC

Words by Carla Villanueva

The past few years have seen an oversaturation in street wear across the menswear arena. It’s as if countless labels have elbowed onto the same avenue, the pavement scattered with kindred lookbooks and marketing stances. Amid the noise of same-sounding individualism and a market waist-deep in oversized t- shirts, a brand like OAMC speaks in clear, distinguishable volumes as a modern menswear label.

Previously the creative director of Carhartt, OAMC co-founder Arnaud Faeh has core craftsmanship at his side, more so the strong heartbeat of friend and business partner Luke Meier, formerly of Supreme NYC.

Just two years into the project and the pair have already made waves with a refreshing point of view on menswear. Think a kid who grew up skating and smoking on the boardwalk, who’s now decided to take life a little more seriously, albeit without losing his edge. And yes, that might even involve owning a suit and rocking it to work.

With self-possession, discernment, and an eye trained on contemporary culture, Faeh espouses his customer’s needs. One can see that the 28-year-old is his label: a man on the cusp of something great, who knows what he wants and just how to get it.

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OAMC has often been referred to as a more “mature” version of street wear. When did you realize that the market was ready to tread on the middle ground of youth culture and mature tailoring?

I think you cannot really call what we do “street wear” because the term has a wrong connotation right now —people simplify it into statement t-shirts, logos, etc., when in fact street wear is everything on the streets. In that sense, “street wear” is a term that is limiting for us because we see OAMC as a modern menswear brand. As Luke always says, what is not street wear today, apart from suits? When we started this, Luke and I wanted something for ourselves that we could not find, something really high quality, with the cultural references that we were into.

What are these cultural references?

Well, there’s youth culture, for one. Today we can do a graphic t-shirt with the same credibility as our suits because it’s our culture and we know exactly how to do it. With our suits being made by the best tailors in Italy as an example, I think we are one of the only brands that can do these two completely different things at the same high level, and that’s really fresh to me.

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Can you talk about what inspired your latest collection (F/W2015)?

Well, we wanted to do an alpine inspired collection this season and we looked at the Himalayas, especially two things: the dualism between evolution, like the whole theory of Darwin on how plants and animals have to evolve to survive, and on the other side, spirituality and how in the mountains these two things co-exist together in a very harmonious way.

Do you see OAMC focusing more on casual wear or moving toward more formal designs in the future?

We are just looking to do what we think is right, what’s cool to us. Our attention to detail and manufacturing sets us apart. It’s part of our brand philosophy to continuously make something modern but also has to serve a utility, not just decoration. Quality, style, good taste, relevance, and modernity are important, but we support those ideas with the details, the process, and the materials.

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With your designing and tailoring happening predominantly in Europe, how does your Asian customer factor into your design and production process?

What is interesting to me is that the Asian customer is pickier than any other customer. So the fact that OAMC actually works well in Asia is very important because it means they acknowledge quality, they recognize the value.

Design-wise Luke takes care of the creative side, and he creates what he wants to wear and therefore what I want to wear. Of course I give my input but the collection is his body of work and he puts an incredible amount of time and detail and reasoning about why we have to do this, and how to make it more modern, more relevant, and I think people see the result. Our products are very well considered, everything with the OAMC name on it is thought out from A to Z. It’s the same process used by people we respect: artists, musicians, whomever is as maniac as us in trying to create what we want.

Where do you see OAMC headed in the next five years?

Today, if you go to colette in Paris or Selfridges in London, we are hanging next to brands like Valentino, Comme and Lanvin and it’s so incredible for us, we are very proud of what we achieved so far. In the next years we’ll try to establish ourselves as the new modern menswear brand.