"One belongs to New York instantly... one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years." -Tom Wolfe
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Knowlita began as a side-project; an exercise in creativity designed to help me build a community for myself in New York. The brand borrows its name from the downtown neighborhood Nolita, where I've always been the most inspired... by the energy of the people and the spirit of their hustle.
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Our first release was a print series that celebrated downtown neighborhoods by boldly displaying the streets that comprised them. Next came graphic tees, an effort to further help refine Knowlita's point of view; deciding what it stood for while simultaneously discovering what might compel people to wear something on his or her chest. That "what" became the most important element of our evolution thus far: everything produced had to reflect something authentic back onto the person who owns it; in whatever form that might take, from a tote bag to T-shirt to a cigarette case or a pair of pants.
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Knowlita has always strived to make products that allow its customer to communicate who they are without any complications, an ethos most pointedly accomplished with the release of our Facade Series in 2014, a group of prints with simple illustrations of iconic downtown New York restaurants like Cafe Gitane and Jack's Wife Freda. This collection was created for people who cherish the experience of life; the moments with friends at the places they love. They are subjective, of course, based on my individual perspective, which happened to be (fortuitously) shared by many others. In an era of over-stimulation, the ad nauseum of Instagram, and never not knowing the answer to a question, my general philosophy is that the sentiment of a product matters more than ever.
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And now we're here: July 9th, 2015. After two years of contemplating our identity, Knowlita has become what I'd always wanted it to be: a clothing company masquerading as a lifestyle brand. Today we release our first proper cut/sew collection, titled Now or Never, which was produced by hand in a tiny studio in downtown Los Angeles.
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Six months ago, my parter LJ Breton and I didn't know asses from elbows when it came to producing a piece of clothing from scratch. With the help of our designer Rachel Chiu, and an exceptionally talented team in L.A., we've learned enough to confidently put this Summer/Autumn '15 collection out into the world. Each piece is a custom cut; all fabrics, buttons, and drawstrings (and their tips) were 100% sourced by us; and it was designed for both sexes, inclusion being the primary focus from the jump.
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The pieces I'm most proud of are the Ceremony Joggers and the Solstice Raglan Shirt, which are both made from 100% French Linen, sourced from a family-run mill in Southern California. Linen is one of the most absorbent and breathable fabrics around -- perfect for summertime in sticky New York -- but it's rarely been tailored to fit like your favorite denim jeans or chambray button-up. These were: fit was the essence, followed closely by aesthetics and functionality. They'll each keep you cool and comfortable during the day, while transitioning seamlessly into after-hour activities without sacrificing any style points.
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Our Ceremony Joggers allow you to avoid wearing shorts in the city, a personal no-go zone for me, and serve as an ideal alternative to attempting (foolishly) to survive in raw denim when it's humid as fuck out there. The Solstice Raglan is so-named for its trans-seasonal status: it can be worn solo in the summer or layered once fall starts to creep in. Unlike traditional button-up shirts, these don't have wrist-buttons. Instead they're cuffed, like a hoodie, meaning no more rolling up floppy sleeves: just tug up and they'll stay put all day long.
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This collection is called Now or Never because we find ourselves at the end of one journey and the beginning of a new and (what feels like) pressing one. It wasn't enough for us, creatively, to continue churning out NYC-centric graphics on various objects. Making clothes has pushed us to be better and more thoughtful in each aspect of our business, while retaining our founding principals: integrity, choice, and the reflection of object onto self.
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Ride with us.
-Quincy