Canadian culture is starting to be felt around the world. From the likes of Drake and The Weeknd to fashion brands/influencers such as Ssense, Canada Goose, Winnie Harlow, and Sid Neigum. Canada is no longer just known for Maple Syrup, Canadian Bacon, and Labatt Blue.
One of the people who are at the forefront of pushing the culture forward is Andrew Coimbra with his namesake label Andrew Coimbra. After cutting his trade as an intern for Proenza Schouler where he learned that the art of organization and attention to details are the fabric of growing a business. Andrew started his lifestyle and ready-to-wear brand in 2015. With a strong focus on simple yet powerful design, in revisiting classic staples, it is driven by conveying an aesthetic that is unique in its vision and realization.
The goal of the brand plays into the duality of the modern person: exploring both the classic and the contemporary, and the more street and relaxed self. We’ve been featuring Andrew for quite some time having shared with you several of his collections dating back to last fall (peep them here). Meanwhile, his spring 2019 collection is one of our favorites of the season as it explores the carefree spirit of summer in the city; lightweight, loose, and bubbling with cheeky spontaneity. It draws inspiration from contemporary artists Jean-François Lauda, Keith Coventry, and John Zabawa and fuses the textures, color palettes, and intentions with moods derived from urban spaces like bodegas and city parks.
While in Toronto a few weeks ago we sat down with Andrew to give you an inside look into who he is as a designer, his inspirations, and how he is trying to help further develop the fashion culture of Canada.
HFL: Who is Andrew Coimbra?
Andrew: I’m creative, I’m social, I like helping brands build. I don’t see competition, not because I think I’m better than anyone but because I don’t see why my brand can’t sit next to someone else’s brand and we both do well.
HFL: What made you decide to start your own line rather than going the traditional design route of being at a fashion house?
Andrew: Well it’s really hard getting access to the States. I actually was offered four jobs in the US, but they all pulled back due to the Visa process. It’s tough, but then I got back to Canada and did design for Canada Goose for three years. After a while, it was like what am I going to do now? I wanted to do something that I had more control over because LOL I hate following people’s rules.
HFL: How has the urbanscape and multiculturalism of Toronto impacted your design aesthetic?
Andrew: I live in the suburbs now, but I grew up downtown near Chinatown, and there were murals everywhere and graffiti everywhere and seeing things like that impact how you see life. As it becomes part of your everyday life and you don’t look at buildings or sidewalks or walls as what they are. You look at them as canvases, and that impacts your design and how I see shapes.
HFL: I love your pieces because they’re very on-trend having a relaxed, more distressed fit. Is that something you enjoy, or would you ever go back to a more tailored fit?
Andrew: I think I always lean more towards a relaxed fit, but I can always try to work in something more tailored to it as you need that tailored fit underneath something looser and more relaxed. So they work together really well.
HFL: Your 2019 collection is inspired by contemporary art. How did that vision come about?
Andrew: The actual inspiration for the collection is this idea of work and play balance. As I was going through it, I realized a lot of the stuff that influences play is art-based. A lot of the creative juices that you have from everything of Architecture to parties are all inspired by art. I realized looking at graffiti and things that make urban spaces less sterile; I started to open my mind.
I began looking at shapes and color palettes, and everything had a cool rhythm to it.
HFL: You have designed both Menswear and Womenswear collections. However, your Spring 2019 collection feels more unisex. What led to that?
Andrew: I started designing Menswear and shortly after my first or second collection, a lot of stylists began putting my clothes on female models. So, as I started going through and making collections I thought well why don’t I make things that can be worn by both bodies equally.
Then I got accepted into this design competition called Toronto Fashion Incubator New Labels Design Competition. Which was great, but they were a lot more womenswear driven, so I ended up having to make a lot more womenswear, such as dresses and gowns. I loved the challenge of it, and it forced me to make proper womenswear. Which is why you see the capsule in the greater collection.
HFL: What is the feeling you want someone to have when trying on your Spring 2019 collection?
Andrew: I want people to feel like they are at 113 degrees Fahrenheit and they are sweating and going to the corner store to get a pop.
HFL: Who are some of the designers that you look up to?
Andrew: Raf Simons, I like him as a brand and as a Creative Director. Ann Demeulemeester, she has a cool vibe, and I love the whole Scandinavian thing.I love 3.1 Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang. While I don’t love their designs, I love what they have become regarding a lifestyle brand, and that’s what I want to be.
HFL: How do you go about crafting yourself as a lifestyle brand rather than just a clothing line?
Andrew: When I design stuff, I like to think of it, as not my collection. I build it so that it all works together, but I want people to think of the pieces they can incorporate into their own personal style. As no two people are going to wear a jacket the same and that’s what clothing should be. It should be here, this is my style, and if you get into it, then you make it your style.
HFL: Finish this sentence. Style is…
Written by: @its_what_ev