Wonderland.

WORSTOK

Mohair meets monsters: introducing the young LA-based menswear brand started by a Saint Laurent muse and his design partner.

Worstok brand red jumper

All clothing WORSTOK SS20

Worstok brand red jumper
All clothing WORSTOK SS20

Japanese mohair sweaters emblazoned with kitsch monster graphics. Jacquard knit graphics on panelled corduroy blazers. One look at the sleek menswear garments from LA-based menswear brand Worstok, and there is no doubt that the young minds behind it – David Friend and Rudy Grazziani – are certainly having a lot of fun.

Co-founders Friend – a Saint Laurent muse who grew up on a rural Arabian horse farm – and Grazziani – a Los Angeles-based designer, hailed from a Colombian family of seamstresses, have been making waves since the brand’s debut back in 2018, gaining instant notoriety due to the pair’s electric synergy.

We caught up with designer Rudy Grazziani below and talked about early influences, and A$AP Rocky…

Worstok brand hoodies
Worstok brand t-shirts
Worstok brand hoodies
All clothing WORSTOK SS20
Worstok brand t-shirts

How did you and David meet?
David and I met at a New Years party  a few years ago. He was wearing a nice mohair sweater and some face glitter. I was really into it. I think he commented on my coat which I had made. We talked about clothes a good portion of the night.

What was the initial concept and planned aesthetic for the brand?
Initially we wanted something with a lot of character and back story. We wanted to use the brand to build a world. Grunge meets glamour. We like things to be beautiful but not perfect. We like distress.

You both come from such different backgrounds – why do you think this works so well? What do you each bring to the brand?
David worked in high fashion and was exposed to the inner workings of YSL. He was also raised on a horse farm in Florida with a large family, so theres a lot of variety in experience just there. I’m from Echo Park and was raised in an apartment above my grandmother’s clothing factory. I then had formal training in art and design at ArtCenter College of Design. Although the settings of our upbringings were different in style I think they have a lot of similarities as well. Both of our backgrounds are somewhat unusual and far from fashion, yet we both ended up on this boat. We agree on a lot and even when we don’t when we meet in the middle the idea is still very interesting.

You’re both so young but people are really sitting up and taking notice of the brand – what do you think is the biggest benefit of this youthful mindset?
I love that people appreciate the brand for what it is and in some cases without reference to either of us. We want the brand to speak for itself and to have its own character and voice. Neither of us are afraid to take risks and I think it shows in some of our design choices. We like to have fun.

What kind of people wear Worstok?
Anyone who cares to stand out wears Worstok. Kids wear Worstok. Adults wear Worstok. Artists wear Worstok. Freaks and creatures wear Worstok. Although the garments have a lot of personality, they can be reinterpreted in a variety of ways by the wearer. 

Worstok brand shaggy cardigan
Worstok brand t-shirts
Worstok brand black trousers
Worstok brand shaggy cardigan
All clothing WORSTOK SS20
Worstok brand t-shirts
Worstok brand black trousers

What does the name mean?
Worstok is a world. The meaning is always changing. Maybe it’s a secret.

Where do you get your biggest inspirations from?
Worstok draws its inspiration from art. We are constantly looking at things whether it exists in fashion or film or paintings. We are also constantly making things and working on a variety of projects. When I was in school I studied drawing and painting but then wound up taking classes in photography, film, and eventually product design. I think the more avenues of creativity you expose yourself to the better informed any project or work of art will be. I think in many ways our everyday lives inspire us as well. I think we’d like what we do with Worstok to be a reflection of who we are in tandem with our inspirations and ideas.

You’ve said before you don’t just want to look at stuff that looks cool, but you also want it to tell a story – would you mind talking a bit about this?
I think with a lot of what we do we think of the full picture. We don’t necessarily make garments independent of each other. We tend to create a storyline that plays throughout each collection. For example the first two collections were heavily influenced by our childhoods. And then we had a collection inspired by creatures, and so the way we tell these stories is through the fabrics, the shapes, the graphics, the colours, the sets we make, and ultimately the content. We let the underlying narrative guide the design process as opposed to remaking a popular design trend. 

Tell me about this season’s offering – where did you get the inspiration from?
This season we provided an interpretation on elevated schoolwear. We have silk button-ups with drawings all over them, loose knit rope sweaters, crow-like black hairy cardigans, punky sports nylon jackets, patchworked multi fabric coats, and fun t-shirts with Worstok all-Star soccer team graphics. This season was titled Montessori.

Who would you love to see wear the brand?
We’ve been getting support from different spheres. Recently there’s been a lot of support coming through on social media from people who are buying our products and making their own content and we are excited to see that grow. In the music world, there are people we have been excited to see wearing and supporting Worstok, including A$AP Rocky and more recently Anderson .Paak. I’d also love to see Jack White, Thom York, or Julian Casablancas (who was my teenage idol) in Worstok. But I think if I saw a photo of Rei Kawakubo in Worstok I would freak out.

Worstok brand shirting
Worstok brand knits
Worstok brand shirting
All clothing WORSTOK SS20
Worstok brand knits
Worstok brand jumpers
Worstok brand coats
Worstok brand jumpers
All clothing WORSTOK SS20
Worstok brand coats
Photography
Daria Kobayashi Ritch
Designer
Rudy Grazziani
Models
Louis Marzin & Sparkish @ Next
WORSTOK

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