"I'm 27 now, and my story takes place about 10 years ago," says Andreas Aresti, founder and creative director of womenswear label Lourdes New York. At 17, the burgeoning creative entered the fashion game with an innate knack for sewing (thanks to his mother, Lourdes, who his brand is named after today), which came in handy for his first major endeavor: spearheading Gyspy Sport's first-ever ready-to-wear collection alongside Creative Director Rio Uribe.
"Working with Rio was truly my beginning in fashion design, if you want to call it that," he tells PAPER over Zoom. "At the time, Gyspy Sport was a brand that was only making hats, nothing else, and Rio approached me and asked, 'Do you think we can expand into ready-to-wear?' That was the first place where I really was able to create things."
"Working with Nicola, I learned the most because it allowed me to be involved with all of the aspects of fashion, not just designing, but styling and art directing and all of those things," Aresti says. "I think working with Nicola and understanding how to style and how to work with marketing and advertising has allowed me to always be aware of newer technology and how to implement new things today."
Now, on top of working on the relaunch of Hood By Air with Shayne Oliver, Aresti is busy honing the sustainable, functional aesthetic of his own brand Lourdes. Earlier this year, the multi-hyphenate debuted his first collection — a line inspired by a trip his mother took with his Greek-Cypriot father early in their relationship, dubbed "Niagara Falls" — during February's Paris Fashion Week in a campsite-reminiscent gallery, where flickering holographic screens showcased the brand's tourist-inspired t-shirts and statement, multi-pocket jeans.
"I'm hoping that through Lourdes, we can not only make great designs that impact sustainability, but also give people opportunities," he says of his goals with the brand. "That's a place where I'm kind of starting to design from. I'm thinking, Who can we get involved with for this season and how can we grow together? My goal is that the brand can be a platform for whoever, whatever. I don't really see the brand lasting like 40 years, 50 years. I don't want it to, either."
A brand rooted in collaboration and the present moment, Lourdes is Aresti's vessel for social commentary and outside-the-box expression. Recently, Aresti dropped his second Lourdes capsule, titled "Divine Intervention," which presents a metaphorical interpretation of the COVID-19 pandemic's detrimental effects on society, specifically with a signature deer print.
"The starting point for this collection was the realization that we were being completely swallowed up by the reality we were living," he explains. "We were all frozen in time, for months. I started thinking, more and more, about divine intervention, and what that represents metaphorically in these moments filled with trials and tribulations. The image of a muted fawn came up in my mind, which is why one of the collection's signatures is a deer print."
Within the range, 10-pocket, deer-print jeans complement a sharply constructed denim jacket in the same pattern, while an asymmetrical half-brown, half-deer-print puffer arrives as a stand-alone statement. Elsewhere, a fawn-embossed kitten heel elevates a pair of dual-tone, straight-legged pants, which of course remain in theme with deer-like influences, as well.
Behind the Scenes
Photo: Rosario Rex di Salvo
"The fawn represents two concepts," he continues. "The first, is that it's a creature that symbolizes innocence. It's always being hunted, always on the run. Its skin is gorgeous, and in some cruel way only championed when it's propped on a wall. The second, is this idea of pure stillness. When a hunter is hunting, the breath slows down. Concentration is entirely focused on the target. And so it hit me, that today in 2020, the hunter has become the hunted."