Interview by Catarina Ramalho
Firmly rooted in Philadelphia, via New York, Joshua Lang is the creative director behind BWC Garments. In conversation, he would describe his unique way of weaving the narrative of his life with refined modern streetwear design, shared how he is intertwining fashion and music into an immersive curated experience, and let the brand’s mission to honor craftsmanship be known.
CR: What has drawn you into fashion design?
JL: Finding a way to express myself has led me to design. After dropping out of college during my second year, I was a bit lost and didn’t know what to do with all the energy I had inside. I stumbled across Photoshop one day and started messing around with simple ideas. I posted some of the designs on Facebook and ended up getting a great reaction to it. I fell in love with that feeling. I did graphic and pocket t-shirts for the first year and realized that I wanted to take this further. That’s when BWC Garments launched.
CR: When did you launch BWC Garments?
JL: Launched in 2015. Built With Craft came from developing our mission statement. Being very hands-on with our manufacturer, and provide our audience with a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on to make a piece of clothing. I don’t want it to be just clothing. I want this to be a whole experience for people, a feeling. We want our people to feel just as connected to this process as we are.
CR: How would you describe your creative process? Do you start with concept or visuals first?
JL: I design from the inside out. The material is the first step in the process. That and color. I don’t know what I want to create until I’m at the fabric warehouse. Feeling and touching the material gives me a sense of direction. After that, I try to land on a color scheme, which is the tricky part. The concept comes next, which is usually a scenario.
CR: Previous collections have seen slogans like ‘Chasing things that don’t exist’, ‘When leaders meet phones go to sleep’. Is there a specific topic that you were focusing on for the new collection?
JL: I take what I’m feeling at the time that I’m designing, and I make the collection. I love quotes. The last collection was called Growing Pains because that’s what I was going through at the time.
The new collection is called ‘A better place is hard to find’. I’ve been through shit. I’m still going through it, but it’s just like, fuck it. You have to get through it. It’s about being comfortable with not being comfortable where you are. You’re here for a reason; Nothing is better than where we are right now.
CR: Parallel to fashion, I know that you’re developing a musical side of the brand. Would you like to expand on what you’re trying to curate?
JL: Music is everything for the soul. I decided that I wanted to start creating my events and parties with our specific type of music, and hopefully, bring something new to the city. You wouldn’t come for a sounds event to hear Future. Not that I don’t like that type of music, but that’s not the vibe. In Philadelphia, you can go to any party around here, and you hear the same music everywhere. BWC sounds is a particular sound based on funk, jazz, disco, soulful house and future beats.
What I found out is that people don’t know that they like this type of music up until they are in that atmosphere and they are enjoying themselves. That’s how I felt about it, and that’s what we’re about. We’re going to have mixes coming out every month, and taking events to a new level.
CR: I know that last year you collaborated with visual artist Distortedd, and you also had a pop-up exhibition at Art Basel. Is this something that you’re going to keep on building this year?
JL: Yes, Collaborating with artist and brands who match our mission is one of our main goals for this year. Reaching different markets in this day in age is important. I feel as though you can’t just be in one lane; your brand has to be very diverse and speak to different types of people.
For Art Basel, we teamed up with Distortedd who is a very talented visual artist. We collaborated on a T-shirt, Long sleeve, and crewneck. The pop up was hosted at a popular taco restaurant in the heart of Miami called Coyo Taco. We had about 800 people throughout the day.
CR: What other plans you have for the brand this year? Have you considered taking it internationally?
JL: We have pretty much all the 12 months booked to do something. We’re going to be in New York next month. We’re launching a three-piece-signature capsule with Street Dreams Magazine, and we’ll be dropping it during New York for Fashion Week. We’ll be celebrating our third anniversary in March – and that is going to be a big one. We’re also doing a bunch of other things in Philly this year. We’re curating experiences with local brands. Whether that’s a restaurant or a boutique, the point is to everyone talking about BWC in the city from your corporate 9-5er to your pizza delivery guy. We want to build a community around it. International growth is definitely in the works as well. Asia, Toronto, and London are on the map.
Photography by Joshua Lang