Perhaps best known for his first design endeavor, Morphine Generation, LA-based designer Erik Hart says his dream was always to do "something more tailored." Totally distinct from the printed tees and hoodies he'd become known for, his latest project, Factory by Erik Hart, showcases the designer's extraordinary self-taught tailoring and draping abilities while remaining true to his love for visual art and printed material.
"People always think the name 'Factory' is a reference to Warhol, but it's not," he says definitively. "I was interested in Factory Records out of Manchester in the UK. It wasn't just music -- it was also graphic design and art. They'd number everything they would do, so a new record from New Order would be called Factory 44, but then they'd move to a new studio or something and that would be called Factory 201."
Hart brings the same multifaceted approach to his many design projects -- and they are, indeed, dizzying in number and scope. "I really don't draw lines between the things I do, where one is fashion and one is art," he explains. "Those lines are really quite blurred. I might do a sound project and that might influence something I do for an installation for a show, or for a presentation I might create a sound-scape with a DJ in Berlin. But it all ties in. No exercise within the collection is more or less important than the other."
The "exercises" he's referring to encompass everything from the actual design of the collection to graphic art and video installations, all of which, he says, are equal in significance and relevance to the ready-to-wear. This fall, for example, Hart hopes to show Factory's Spring 2012 collection accompanied by an unusual olfactory installation. "We want to do a presentation with different scents for the room," he explains. "It's interesting, you know, because when I first thought of the name 'Factory' the first thing i thought of was a beautiful bottle with the name on it. Scent can conjure such deep emotion and experiences."
As for the garments themselves, Hart plans to continue an exploration of what he calls "soft tailoring" with future collections. "Even with draping a lot of what we've done is use a lot of constructive tailoring techniques," he explains. "I want to stay true to our core group of customers and get better and better every season." If the brand's growth in any way resembles Hart's own development, we can count on it.