Set out with a desire to create expertly constructed and functional pieces, Marcus Wainwright (who had no background in fashion design) established rag & bone in 2002. The London-meets-New York brand quickly became known for melding classic tailoring with an edgy yet understated urban aesthetic.
We visited Wainwright in his NYC studio to get a behind the scenes look at the Fall 2019 collection and learn about the brand’s quest to create the perfect jean.
To start, tell us about rag & bone and how you’ve seen it evolve since 2002.
Everyone thinks that we started as a jean brand, which isn’t really technically true. Yes, one of the first things we ever made was a pair of jeans, but we launched our first line, a menswear line in 2004. We launched womenswear in 2007 with a full line of ready-to-wear that had four or five pairs of jeans in it.
Among other things, rag & bone is known for its denim. On your quest to make the perfect jeans, what have you learned?
Back then, we had a particular philosophy when it came to jeans, which wasn’t really commercially viable: they had no stretch, they couldn’t be laundered, nothing. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about what our woman wants and how she shops for jeans. We recently relaunched our denim with a brand-new fit architecture—making it incredibly easy to find a style you love.
Describe the Brand in One Sentence:
It’s a brand that loves to clash—mixing masculine and feminine, uptown with downtown, hard and soft.
What’s the must-rent piece of the fall 2019 collection?
Our denim is genuinely good at the moment. We’ve worked, for many years, to perfect the fit of the five-pocket jean.
LEFT: BEDFORD SKINNY, CENTER: DIRDRE TANK DRESS, RIGHT: MUSTARD ATLAS BELT BAG
LEFT: YELLOW TABITHA DRESS, CENTER: SUPER HIGH RISE ARMY SHORTS, RIGHT: ATLAS SHOULDER BAG
What was the inspiration behind the Fall 2019 collection?
We have a few things that we always reference: the functionality of military clothing, the structure of British tailoring, and classic American craftsmanship.
Now, let’s get personal. What does your typical morning routine look like?
I wake up and make myself a cup of tea every single morning – I can’t really do a day without starting with a cup of tea. Then I get my children breakfast, which is pretty painful (I have to wake up my middle son like, four times) and then I take them to school. Afterwards, I go to work.
How do you get into the creative zone?
I find that I am most creative when I’m in fittings, working directly with the clothes. I do really need peace and quiet though, which I don’t really find in the office. I like sketching in hotel rooms or airplanes, wherever I can.
What’s inspiring you right now?
All sorts of random things—what I see people wearing on the street, my travels to Japan, and most things English. I miss England maybe a little bit.
What’s your go-to work outfit?
A classic work outfit – I pretty much wear jeans and t-shirts. I have a lot of trainers (I’ve got a big trainer problem) so my fashion expression comes from my shoes most of the time.
The favorite part of your day is…
I don’t necessarily have a specific favorite part of the day. I mean I love hanging out with my family. I think there’s a sort of small window in the morning which is quite enjoyable before it gets too hectic and everyone’s late for school.
When the day is over, how do you unwind?
A cold beer at five thirty.