Q & A | 18Waits F/W 2012

Part of a series of posts originally published on wearethemarket.com

Daniel Torjman and William McCullough are the co-founders behind the craftmanship focused Canadian label, 18 Waits.  Canadian they may be, but don’t go putting them in the lumberjack category – Daniel and William bring a refined and detailed sensibility to traditional fabrics and tailored designs.  I was impressed by their thoughtfully assembled booth when I saw them at (capsule) New York and  they were kind enough to answer a few questions about their collection which will be at (capsule) Las Vegas later this month. Turns out Daniel and William are not only talented, but also incredibly kind, knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. – M

You guys are from Canada, tell us a little bit about what that means for your designs?

William: Everything in the collection is made here. And the fabrics we select are appropriate for where we live (heavy wools, waxed canvas, thick flannels). But that said, we don’t go for the Canadian cliche. We’re not lumberjacks and we don’t pretend to be. We have pieces that are meant for the cottage or the cabin or the tavern. And pieces that are tailored, clean and sophisticated. They aren’t mutually exclusive. I think Canada is both these things. We’re seeing more and more Canadian designers embracing a similar aesthetic or approach and we’re proud to represent.

So for this F/W 12 collection, what were your main inspirations?

Daniel: There are always so many inspirations involved when putting together a new collection.  We try to start with an overarching general theme & then go from there.  It helps make each collection unique & interesting, while still having a semblance of continuity throughout.

The theme for our Fall/Winter 2012 collection is Whiskey & Wool.  We love both.  Especially during Canadian winters.  Our favorite things during winter include being with family & friends in winter cabins, ski chalets, by the fireplace & frequenting our favorite taverns.  It’s a good time to be IN.  And if you must be out, a good balance of fine whiskey & warm wool will always do the trick.   Overall I think it’s a really strong collection.  It’s well balanced and hangs well together.  The colors, fabrics & textures are right.  You can make full, perfect looks with this collection and not one piece stands out above the rest.

Now that you say Whiskey & Wool, I can completely see it reflected in the collection. Any pieces in particular you’re excited about?

Daniel: Great question.  I’m the wrong person to ask as I’m attached to many – MOST – pieces in this collection. That said, a few pieces that I particularly love are:

The Thomson Trouser: The fit on these is perfect and it can be dressed up or down.  I wear these almost daily – whether it’s just with a t-shirt or dressed up with a tailored shirt & jacket.  They are my go-to pant.  The fabrics we chose this season are amazing.  A super muted mossy green, a washed out blue fine wale corduroy, and a nice denim. You have to see them in pictures or person.  Better yet, get yerself in a pair.

The Weekender: This is a completely new style for us.  It’s a mix between a heavy shirt & a light jacket.  It’s a waxed cotton shirt with a soft cotton flannel lining.  This is the basically our take on the quintessential lumber jacket.  This is something that everybody should have.  It’s the perfect country overcoat/shirt.  Durable, functional, yet incredibly sharp.  This, actually, may be my new favorite piece.

The Danko Hat: This is about as unique and well crafted as you will find on the market for a new hat.  It looks like its been worn for years.  Passed on to you from a generation before.  I love this hat and will wear one forever.  I don’t think it’s seasonal.  It’s always.

The Danko Hat was made in collaboration with Bitmore, correct? Can t you ell us a little more about them?

Daniel: We love Biltmore.  They were Canada’s oldest hat manufacturer and based in Guelph, Ontario.  These guys made hats during the era where every man wore a fine fashioned hat when outside.  They made their hats with the old machines and blocks they’ve been using since our grandparents were buying hats from them.  Same equipment, same techniques, same perfection.  It’s a real dying art – North American manufacturing; we need to support the skills, craftsmanship & manufacturing that happens in Canada and the U.S.!  Biltmore, as we knew it, closed its doors this past January 2012.  Unfortunately they had to sell their business.  They have since been bought and are moving to Texas.  Hopefully they will be able to maintain the integrity of their old manufacturing facility…that said, we’re optimistic as Texans are no strangers to well made hats!

Besides the above, what pieces saw success with buyers at (capsule) New York? 

Daniel: The Eastern Cardigan, (shown above). These sweaters are custom knit for us by some very talented sewers in Prince Edward Island, Canada. They use the finest British virgin wool. Each sweater is made by knitting fully-fashioned panels by hand on antique Swiss knitting looms. Sweaters are then assembled using the same yarn as the rest of the sweater. Everything is hand finished.  No cutting or sewing other than the buttons and labels. Truly old-world craftsmanship resulting in sweaters that will last a lifetime.  We use buttons fashioned from Douglas Fir trees. And once the knitting process is complete, we add elongated leather elbow patches, using the same red stitching used in many of our garments, especially our pants and knits. These were a buyer favourite at (capsule) NYC and we’re looking forward to bringing them to Vegas.


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