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How did Lite year start?
For years, we had talked about partnering and working together though we both had other responsibilities at the time. The fall of 2019 timing felt right and we both had a pretty clear vision of how we wanted to work together so that’s how and when Lite Year started. We were both living on opposite sides of the country, so the intention was to continue working remotely between LA and NYC. The pandemic obviously changed some things but we’ve been able to adjust and are fortunate to have made it to this point.
Where did you two meet?
We met in 2010 in NYC and worked together for a few years at an agency. We’re both total opposites and have different approaches to the way we work but have always had a mutual respect and understanding for one another. Having that history working together allowed us to build the trust and confidence to become business partners.
Where do you take inspiration from for the collections?
Nostalgic references from our past, colors and patterns that we wish we could wear ourselves and see on our friends. I think what motivates us to create is when we realize there’s an opportunity to do something people will respond to. Hopefully what we create brings positive energy into people's lives, even if it’s only a small amount. We never want to take the Lite Year brand too seriously; it’s an opportunity to take risks and be playful!
How much does your location influence the brand?
We think location is everything! We spent a major part of our lives in NYC although more recently we’ve both been living in LA. If we can’t imagine someone wearing our products in either of these cities, then we’re definitely not doing something right! Of course, there are other influences that we indirectly draw from these cities and the people around us, whether that be through the color palette or climate of the city when working on projects. We also think a lot of our travel influences who we’re creating products for... It’s a dream to know that customers in Japan or other places are loving what we make!
You also work with international brands that you feel have a connection to Lite Year, how important is a like-minded community?
Our past work responsibilities have always been about taking risks, supporting young designers and other creatives. Working together through Lite Year will hopefully allow us to continue to do that in a meaningful way. We always think about aesthetic/taste first and whether or not we’re attracted to the ethos of what that person or brand is working on. Somehow we’re drawn to certain people and then realize there is one degree of separation. It’s crazy how that always works out! Although it’s been hard over the past year, the community aspect of Lite Year is a big driver for us and thanks to social media, we’re lucky to remain connected with people from different parts of the world. Overall, we love it when people have a point of view that stands out and are willing to make it happen!
You recently collaborated with illustrator Bobby Engvall to create a capsule clothing collection, do you have further collaborations planned?
Yes, we’ve got a couple more projects in the works with a few artists releasing in a couple of weeks; it’s something we’d love to do more of! We’re a very small team so unfortunately, it can be hard to find the time to work on these collaborative projects which is a constant frustration for us as it’s something we enjoy. It is our goal to do these projects more often. We were able to do a few projects last year with artists we love working with, such as; Kevin Emerson, Elijah Anderson, Amiee Bryne and Gustavo Eandi. We’re looking forward to the second half of this year as we have some exciting projects to share.
Who are your top 5 hat wearers?
This is a hard one! Ideally, we’d love it to be for anyone that wants something special and gets what we’re about. When we’re designing something, we have certain people in mind that we know personally who we think will respond positively though that changes so much from product to product; it’s refreshing for us to think about. Seeing people in different cities or age groups connect to the product for different reasons is really rewarding.
If you had to soundtrack the latest Lite Year collection, what would be the top 5 tracks?
Wu-Tang will always be on that list! Bring Da Rukus and CREAM for sure. Sister Sledge - Thinking of You, The Spinners - I’ll be around. Chanel Tres - Top Down for LA energy and last but not least, Tito Puente - Oye Como Va for vacation vibes!
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