photo: Ashley Sky Walker
STORY: DIAMOND DIXON
The Elizabeth, NJ native has been non-stop in the fashion industry since 2005 with an innovative high-end menswear line along with a street wear line known for its vibrant and conceptual designs. He also recently collaborated with liquor brand Crown Royal Black where he designed a series of luxury bags for their 2011 marketing campaign.
Up next is the Panty Raiders. The Panty Raiders project was first introduced in his 2007 collection, Wood Valley High.
Although Panty Raiders was not a success back then, Wood decided to re-launch it in last year’s Spring ‘11 collection, Because We Feel Like It, which is described as “all about being care-free, fun, wild, and having an rebellious lifestyle.” It was a hit. Brian admits, “When we first released Panty Raiders, it was looked at a little odd and now it is embraced by women and embraced by a lot of people…it did very well.” Brian says that he is aiming for Panty Raiders to be a movement and with every release there will be a good message behind it. Brian’s never been one to leave the ladies hanging; he collaborated with Silivio Liu in 2010, a women’s evening wear house, doing double duty as designer and creative director.
With such a resume, you would think Brian was blessed with perpetual swag, but the designer admits that he was definitely not a trendsetter back in high school. “I think if you see Brian Wood now you see a trendsetter,” Wood affirms. When asked what advice he would give to those looking to discover their own personal style, he encourages, “be yourself,” and promising that “it comes to you over time.” He continues “style comes through yourself, when you know who you are as a person you will find your style.”
Wood finally found his style while attending Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York where he learned everything he knows about the fashion industry and credits the college in paving the road to success. “I went into Pratt knowing nothing, nothing about fashion, nothing about the industry, nothing about anything,” he insists. But by graduation he had a number of new talents under his belt including creative thinking and most importantly — the idea of designing clothes that people want. Knowledge is power according to Brian and “If you want to get into this industry, go for it, but do it the smart way. Get educated, go to school, if you don’t go to school, take classes, if you don’t take classes, intern somewhere!”
Brian’s talent doesn’t stop at designing garments and attractive t-shirt designs. He artist also has his sights set on film. “Filming is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” he says. He’s already done a few film projects including a horror short and would like to direct music videos in the future
For now though, Brian has his eye on the fashion prize and is navigating the best way to it. With any career there are challenges and obstacles to get through and Brian admits that financing has definitely been a challenge. “I am a self-financed company in a tough industry with a lot of competition,” Wood says. For what Brian lacks in capital he has made up for it with a loyal team which includes David Milliman and brand manager Joseph Hayes. “It’s all about the connection you have with people,” he says
For anyone with their sights set on the fickle fashion industry, Brian has two words: determination and consistency. “You have to deliver, people think that it’s easy…consistency is a very important thing,” he insists. “Determination is having that drive and having a love for it; you have to have love for the industry….it’s tough.” When asked if he has any dark times during his career he admits, “I cannot lie I have had definitely had dark times. I am a semi-dark person. If you look into my collection you can definitely see that”.
Nevertheless, the future looks bright for Mr.Wood; it’s all love for the thriving designer. “Know about the business and once you get that feel for it and if you love it go for it. It’s about believing in yourself and being educated.”
January 26th 7-11PM
7665 Melrose, Los Angeles