Andrew Coimbra, currently living in Toronto, Canada, began his career in Fashion Design by studying Material Art & Design at the Ontario College of Art & Design University before moving onto The School of Fashion Studies at George Brown College. Experience working with prominent Canadian designers Pink Tartan and Philip Sparks proved to be a solid base for his enriching internship with internationally renowned label Proenza Schouler, in New York City. Andrew defines his aesthetic as cool, refined ease. Strengthened by inspiration drawn from contemporary art and youth culture, combined with an emphasis on tailoring and a focus on fine fabrics, his work offers a new approach to the world of menswear.
1.What is your brand and when did it launch?
My brand is Andrew Coimbra, and it launched officially August 2014 at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week’s EMDA (Emerging Menswear Designer Awards).
2. How would you describe your brand?
Cool, refined ease.
3. What inspires you the most in your designs?
I really like to watch the way people wear clothing, and try to figure out why they make the choices they make. I definitely like to work with classic pieces, as those are typically what people are drawn to, and I like to integrate a taste of art, culture, or social politics in the mix – not too much, but just enough.
4. When did you first realize your passion in the design field?
I first realized design was the path for me when I was around 13 or so. I grew up with my grandparents, and my grandmother did a lot of home sewing, and she really encouraged me when I showed an interest.
5. How would you describe your experiences in designing for men
Designing for men is really interesting, because you constantly have to acknowledge a fine balancing act between wanting to be different and distinguishable, but also not too out there as to scare off the potential of interest. Socially, it’s intriguing to hear people express their interest in wanting to explore different, “new”, things, but then end up reverting and being too shy to step outside of the box. I like that interchange; it’s a fun challenge.
6. Who would the Andrew Coimbra guy be?
The Andrew Coimbra guy would be someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously, but knows his limits. He is cool, collected, and informed.
7. What are the biggest benefits and challenges you face as a menswear designer in Toronto?
Some of the benefits of being a menswear designer based in Toronto would be the ability to create a great network of friends who are creative and passionate about their careers, and interesting in helping each other go forward.
A challenge would easily be that the access to a broad variety of fabrics, trimmings, and notions, is not really an option. You’re reduced to whatever is available in a small selection of shops, and that can really make you feel like your creativity is stifled.
8. Is there a signature look or style that forms your collection?
The most consistent thing across my collections is the fusion of contemporary art and youth culture, combined with an emphasis on tailoring and a focus on fine fabrics.
9. What are your personal menswear wardrobe essentials?
I love a good pair of jeans, and I have probably a million jackets – all kinds! I think layering is fun, and avoiding it is a mistake almost always.
10. What advice would you give to up and coming menswear designers?
I think it’s very important to know what you want, and what your brand represents, and to not be distracted by opinions. Absorb them, consider them, but you don’t necessarily have to abide by them.
11. How does your brand differentiate from other brands in the market?
I think that arguably a lot of menswear is very much the same, and I don’t think the brand is particularly an exception, but I would like to think that the focus I put on creating graphic patterns and a play with texture and proportions is considerable enough to help solidify a firm identity for Andrew Coimbra, as a label.
12. What can we expect to see from you TOM* collection?
For the Fall 2015 collection, I really wanted to expand on the success of the print I created for the Spring 2015 collection, and so you can expect to see more prints, plus a fun distribution of proportions and use of layering. Luxury wool suiting, wax coated wool, neoprenes, and leather help give another dimension to the layers and texture of the collection.
13. Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?
I like the idea of having a broad reach internationally via online platforms, and within 5 years it would be great to have a couple of notable retailers offering Andrew Coimbra for consumers to enjoy.
14. Where is your brand available?
Currently Andrew Coimbra is poised to be available for online purchase only via www.andrewcoimbra.com, but at the moment the site is undergoing a revamp in preparation for the Fall 2015 collection showing.
Photography: Mckenzie James | Models: David Kubas (Elmer Olsen) & Nathanael (Ciotti) | Grooming : Lauren Fisher