The Making of the Mt Wilson Observatory Capsule Collection

When we first visited Mt Wilson Observatory for our AW21 show, I immediately knew we’d come back and do more with them.  It’s such a special place that happens to be very close to home.  The capsule itself is inspired by the original elevation drawings of the 100 inch telescope here & the discoveries made with it.  All printing, dyeing & construction was hand done locally in LA.  All the garments/fabrics are printed before dyeing to let the dye tint the ink and give it an “imperfect” feeling.  I believe it’s very important to give evidence of human touch & create reminders that it’s made by people, not machines.  The 100 inch telescope was hand built and carried up Mt Wilson over 100 years ago.  Technology has obviously advanced since then, but the ethos of this capsule follows how the team there first build this massive structure… create something fantastic using very simple methods by hand.  

For the Jacket, Cargos & Tote, we start with cotton herringbone fabric in white.  Cut the fabric into roughly 3 yard panels.  We then create a giant screen of the elevation drawing and print on the fabric panels with white ink.  

The fabric then cuts cut into their respective pattern pieces, placing them wherever they fit to make sure no two are alike.  The items are then sewn but left unfinished so we can go back and add the lining.  

At this stage we take the hoodies, which are already sewn, and print them laid out flat with the same screen we used for the fabric pieces.  Also white on white.  All of these items are then hand garment dyed.  The dye penetrates the white fabric but only tints the white ink, creating a tonal effect.  Items are then taken back for finishing and final details.  

The Mt Wilson Observatory Capsule Collection will be available online Friday, October 28th. In the meantime, explore a preview of the Coaches Jacket and the campaign imagery shot at the Observatory.

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