06. case study
CL PRIVATE LABEL
Worked directly with the owner on all creative and operational services for Cary Lane’s menswear private label Cary Lascala from 2012 - 2017. From design, manufacturing, wholesale distribution, e-commerce, to promotions.
Role: Art Director, Designer, Photographer
Owner Cary LaScala
Photographer Jasmin Van T
Assistant Andrew Zhou
Models courtesy of Scout
San Francisco retail chain Cary Lane’s menswear private label is named after the owner, Cary LaScala. The label is crafted more closely to European styles and standards, with a simplistic design, slim fit and fine tailoring. The label includes 100% cotton button downs, pants, and leather belts. All of the items are designed and handmade locally in San Francisco to support local businesses that help stimulate the economy of our community.
A few logo styles were developed to differentiate the regular seasonal items versus the limited production specialty items within the label. With the owner being a drummer, I tried to personalize the logo by incorporating that into the design. I went monochromatic to associate with the store’s branding. We did a signature shirt with the band Weezer where I designed a print that included their logo on the fabric and labels.
Established a style guide which included use of the logo, specific typefaces, and design elements. Opted for a combination of scripts and serif fonts to project a classic, sleek, but also vintage vibe. Printed out heavy weight black matte business cards, mailers (with cardboard craft paper), signage for in-store/ traveling sales, spec sheets, and packaging for mail orders.
As fabric sourcing is an integral part of making the label, we spared no expense to find the best 100% cotton styles. We traveled to Las Vegas to attend Sourcing at Magic, went to companies LA, and also local distributers in the Bay Area. After choosing our favorite fabric samples, I would create a color story from the swatches to form the collection for the upcoming season. Then place orders based on the cost of fabric and trend forecasting.
After the patterns are cut, drive them in the company van to the sewers and clothing samples made per style. At this point we would see what changes needed to be adjusted if any with the fit, thread, buttons, etc before mass production. Even though the fabric is already pre-shrunk, to ensure the best customer experience, we bring each shirt to an industrial laundromat to pre wash the entire line once over to reduce 2% shrinkage.
At least a month before the new collection goes public, a photoshoot is organized to be used for the website and lookbooks. I scout locations, find models, hire a photographer (for a few seasons, I just did them myself), production assistants/ interns/ stylists, etc. After the shoot is completed, I chose the photos to use as a set, edit them in Lightroom and Photoshop, and put them in a specific order for them to convey a visually appealing story.
When the collections launch and become available in stores, they’re merchandised in a section dedicated to the line and in a specific order on the racks to have an appealing flow. This flow is the same at all the locations carrying the line for cohesion. If the shirts are folded, there is a specific way they need to be laid out and board folded. The more popular styles are used on most of the store mannequins and front window displays.
Using Squarespace, I built the website for the private label that included online shopping, information about the brand, and a gallery of current/ past season collections. I taught the owner and select staffers on how to upkeep the site remotely. (Disclaimer- the site in it’s current form has since been slightly changed since I left in 2017 with new images. )
I set up an online newsletter for the private label and would oversee the designs used for email marketing. I constructed templates for the designers and interns to use which followed the style guide. The private label would rarely have sales to promote as it was priced very affordable to begin with, so most of the marketing emails pertained to announcements from the label in regards to the upcoming season.
The owner and I have connections in the music industry with his background as a musician and mine working in television; we would utilize this to provide the private label to artists. Some of the musicians who promoted the line included Dave Grohl (Nirvana/ Foo Fighters), Beck Hansen (Beck), and Rivers Cuomo (Weezer).