Did you notice that Nique—he of the bright eyes and sparkling smile—is wearing a swimsuit from NUMBER:Lab in the “Swim Team” story in Instinct’s February issue? Yes, there are actually some clothes involved in that story! Above (in a never-been-seen-before image—just for you) is Nique in another NUMBER:Lab swimsuit from the Spring/Summer 2011 collection (it’s called the Colorbloc Bathing Trunk Short).
NUMBER:Lab officially launched in 2007 as a men’s advanced sportswear brand by Luis Fernandez (Creative Director/Designer) and Greg Lawrence (Chief Operating Officer) after previously offering only one item—a crewneck T-shirt available in five different colors and perfectly tailored from the highest-quality pima cotton. Luis (that’s him in the picture below) graduated from Cornell University in 1999 with a Bachelors degree in architecture. What does an architect know about clothing design? Luis (whose final thesis premised “the body, the city and the building as shroud”) says that he wasn’t taught to be an architect—but rather to “think” like one—and he has always pushed the boundaries of what he could create, be it buildings or clothing.
The Style Guyde likes pushing boundaries almost as much as I like pushing my luck. With only a few days to go before NUMBER:Lab’s Fall/Winter 2011 presentation as part of the shows at MAC & Milk at The Standard during New York Fashion Week, I had the nerve to ask Luis to sit down for The Style Guyde Interview. Thankfully, he said yes! Keep reading for his answers…
What is your favorite piece from your Spring/Summer 2011 collection?
The chambray unconstructed blazer and shorts [see below]...casual enough to throw on anytime, light enough to pack for any trip and sharp enough to look smart and polished.
What do you love most about designing men's wear?
It’s the perfect mixture of experimental creativity and purposeful rationalism. You can be very creative, but it also has to make sense and be functional for the male consumer. It’s a fun challenge to strike the perfect balance.
Please describe "The NUMBER:Lab Man."
He’s quality-conscious, he wants substance with style, he wants clothes that have an element of both performance and style. We say that NUMBER:Lab is “for the athletic side of the discerning man, or vice-versa, the discerning side of the athletic man.”
What are the five items every man should own?
A great pair of brown leather oxford shoes (they can be paired with just about any look)
A classic vintage watch and a fun watch (great conversation starters)
At least one crisp white dress shirt and one crisp white pima cotton T-shirt
A super-soft fleece pant (with a more tailored fit)
A clean/modern trench coat that can get you through rain and cold—and last forever
What is the biggest mistake men make when getting dressed?
Not trusting what feels comfortable and natural for themselves.
Who are your style icons?
I can’t really say a specific person or other. I’m impressed/influenced by a lot of different people every day. A colleague, a stranger walking down the street, a tourist at a coffee shop or guys at the gym.
Who or what has been your biggest influence?
My architectural training at Cornell. It reinforced that anything and everything can be a source for inspiration to create beauty while solving a problem—“form and function.” One of our first-year studio projects was to “float a brick” in a tub of water....the class turned out some pretty spectacular contraptions. Imagine the result of the following five years of crazy/stimulating projects!
If you weren't a fashion designer, what would you be?
I’d probably still be practicing as an architect—but I’m always up for tackling new stuff. Next up, I’d love to explore filmmaking/photography. And I’ve always also been fascinated by true “baristas.” Who knows, maybe that’s in the cards, too.
Let’s talk favorites:
Movie? The Graduate, Gattaca, A Single Man, anything Almodóvar—in all of these the storytelling and the photography/art direction are impeccable.
Book? The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo by Irving Stone and The Odyssey by Homer. I’m a sucker for stories about struggles and achievement.
Vacation spots? Rio de Janeiro (beautiful landscape/beaches, architecture and people...all in one place), Marrakech (historically rich and chic) and Chiang Mai, Thailand (design, history, architecture and spiritual density—plus amazing food).
What's the one extravagance you can't live without?
The “perfect” cappuccino (several times a day).
What's currently on your playlist?
What astrological sign are you?
What's next for NUMBER:Lab?
Following the Fall/Winter 2011 presentation during New York Fashion Week—a concept/retail store and continuing to expand the collection.
For more information—and to purchase NUMBER:Lab clothing—check out http://www.number-lab.com
The Style Guyde has received many interesting product pitches since this column was launched back in 2008. Some good. Some not so good. Urban Decay’s De-Slick in a Tube definitely falls into the former category. In fact, the pitch was totally brilliant!
If De-Slick helps women to banish their greasy t-zones, wouldn’t it do the same for the scalps of bald men the world over? Of course it would! De-Slick is a color-neutral, lightweight gel formulated to work on all skin tones and types. It provides unbelievable oil control and absorption action while combating your skin’s sensitive reactions to humidity, heat and cold. De-Slick also contains Veegum—a natural clay derivative that helps to tighten pores for a more youthful look (youthful = hot).
Got shine? E-mail us at
with “De-Slick” in the subject line and pitch us in 100 words or less why you need this product. The first 10 entries (with a valid e-mail, home address and telephone number) will win a .67 fl. oz. tube of Urban Decay De-Slick in a Tube—which retails for $28. Only one entry/winner per household please.
Go to http://www.urbandecay.com for more cool products from Urban Decay!