It’s no easy feat to develop a successful clothing line—especially at a young age, but 21-year-old Reese Cooper has managed to do just that. The L.A.-based designer has been self-taught since the age of 14, when he started experimenting with printing. What followed was learning more about fabrics and patterns, which led him to design his own clothes that would become his eponymous label. Now he operates out of a factory in L.A.’s Eagle Rock neighborhood, where he also works with his mom, the head of operations and sales.
In a world of fast fashion, high-quality clothing and vintage is of great importance to Cooper. “I would never put out something that isn’t the best version of what it could be,” he says, discussing his label’s place in a luxury market. He describes his clothing as “everyday wear but done on a luxury level” in terms of the manufacturing and the materials.
In the factory, Cooper says he spends between 15 and 18 hours a day working. He is constantly surrounded by materials and creating garments. “Once you’re around fabrics and working in the factory all the time, you’re able to put the pieces together in your head,” Cooper explains, which he likens to when he barely showed his work in math class. “At this point, I can look at a piece of fabric and know exactly what I can do. When I was doing math in elementary and middle school, I was told I wasn’t good at showing my work. I’ve never been good at showing my work. I know the final product a lot of the time, and I usually have a pretty clear understanding of the direction I want to start going in. Then [I] take it from there.”
Cooper is a storyteller, and he loves to communicate through multiple media, such as photography, film, and even furniture. When it comes to his collections, he envisions and then translates his story through the act of design, then utilizes lookbooks to push the story further using powerful imagery.
His Pre-Fall collection is titled “Against the Wind.” Cooper describes this as a personal metaphor for his fight to continue growing as such a young brand in terms of business and gain the respect of the industry as a valid and competitive designer. The setting of the lookbook also speaks to the narrative of Cooper’s travels throughout California, especially in the dusty, remote areas.
The collection is clean and simple with a touch of utilitarian influence, as demonstrated by its structured cotton twill work jackets and straight-leg twill trousers. Neutral hues allow one to easily mix and match within their wardrobe, and versatility and staying power is one of Cooper’s intentions. “I’m trying to make pieces that I know I will be comfortable wearing and will hold up for all that time until I’m maybe 40,” he says. It’s this idea that shows throughout his collection: classic, luxury pieces that are totally relevant without being trend-driven.
“To be able to have something tangible that you can share with someone super easily is really exciting for me. The difference between painting, photos, or whatever it may be is that clothing is more universal. It’s just something I’ve always been drawn to,” Cooper says.
Debuting exclusively at Barneys, the men’s Pre-Fall collection “Against the Wind” is now available at Barneys New York Madison Avenue, Copley Place, and Beverly Hills locations, as well as online.