Context Interview Series: Davidson Manaloto and Craig Atkinson of wings+horns
wings+horns has long been a Context shop favorite. The great cuts and comfortable fabrics make wings+horns one of the most versatile and dependable brands in the store. We had the pleasure of interviewing the brand's founder, Craig, and it's head designer, Davidson, to give you further insight into the company.
Context: Craig, you spent several years working in Japan as a designer before you founded wings+horns. What makes the Japanese unique in their philosophy and construction of menswear?
Craig: I think the Japanese are very good at taking something good and making it great. I used to deal vintage clothing in Japan and when all of the "good stuff" was becoming very rare and hard to find I started to produce replicas for them. There never seemed to be any compromise of quality or details. Everything they do is extremely well researched and thought through very carefully.
Context: How does this influence the creative process at wings+horns?
Craig: My personal creative process has always been fabric first. We design and develop a lot of our own fabrics working closely with yarn and fabric mills. I feel that if you don't have an authentic, quality fabric as the foundation it doesn't matter how good the design is.
Context: How closely do you two work together when it comes to creating a collection?
Craig: Davidson and I work together very closely on the collection. I spend most of my time designing fabrics and creatively directing the brand while Dave is very hands on design.
Davidson: As Craig said, we do work closely with each other with our own roles. I think there is a great balance and with this different view and eye we can create a better product.
Context: Do you two design with a particular consumer in mind? If so, what lifestyle do you picture him having?
Craig: We would like to think that our customer is a man who appreciates and has a discerning eye for quality, detail, fit and design.
Davidson: At the end of the day we are still making clothes we like and would wear, hopefully our consumer feels the same way.
Context: How important was the idea of comfort when you conceptualized this season's collection?
Davidson: Like I said we definitely design things we like to wear and see ourselves wearing so comfort is always important. I think you will get a lot more wear out of a garment if you feel comfortable in it.
Context: We here at Context are very closely-knit with the Madison community. The culture of the city and the relationships we have with local customers directly shapes who we are as individuals and as a business. How does the city of Vancouver influence wings+horns as a brand?
Craig: Here at CYC Design Corporation we have a team of close to 60 staff now inclusive of our factory. We make our products locally so the support we receive from Vancouverites is extremely important to our brand and our business.
Davidson: If you didn't know this yet Vancouver has been voted top 10 worst dressed cities in the world. I think this is due to the fact that a lot of people would choose comfort over everything else. In wings+horns case we love comfort but understand you can still be stylish and still wear great clothing.
Context: As a small, independently-owned business, we are very in tune with our customers' wants. What benefits does partnering with small stores like Context have for your brand?
Craig: It's great to work with smaller more independent stores because they can give feedback very quickly. We ultimately want to bring the best products to the market and working with passionate people like Ryan and Sam really helps achieve that. Thanks again to the team at Context for their constant support.
We here at Context have little aversion to spice; the hotter the better! Both this week's plate and drink of the week contain plenty of heat. The over-sized Michelada cocktail is made with beer, lime juice, and coated with chile piquin. To compliment these flavors we ordered a plate of chorizo nachos and sauteed jalapenos. Salut!
Fortunately for us, the weather in Madison has been mild so far this winter. However, on days when snow and wind depress your mood, there's nothing like an early cocktail and filling lunch to revive your spirits. Today, a coffee-infused cocktail and a rich reuben sandwich provided a temporary reprise from the storm outside. Cheers!