The New Blue Collar is a clothing brand redefining the working class. Sports influenced the duo behind it is reworking workwear while staying true to their athletic backgrounds, inherently applying their creative takes to what is known as streetwear.
The casual line is a combination of founders, Alex Ewings and Felix Llanos’ upbringing in their respective hometowns of Queens, NY, and Tulsa, OK.
As former athletes, it’s no wonder why they gravitate toward basketball. Fashion styling is at an all-time high amongst NBA players and it is transcending to the street style level.
Alex and Felix have a unique approach to fashion – measured with a sweat equity sense of style. Minimalism is not only in the design it’s how The New Blue Collar is evolving into a staple.
Recently we had a chance to sit down with the up-and-coming brand. Here’s what they had to say.
Where are you from?
(FL) Felix Llanos: Queens, NY.
(AE) Alex Ewings: Born in TX, Raised in Tulsa, OK.
What’s the connection to sports?
FL x AE: We both played sports growing up and through college.
We always try to find ways to pay homage to influential sports figures that we admired growing up, but we also want people to know that our brand isn’t just sports.
How did the idea for your brand come about?
FL x AE: We knew we wanted to create a brand that was centered around apparel.
We also wanted the freedom to incorporate our ideas, influences, inspirations, and aspirations into content, collaborations, projects, and experiences.
What is the reason behind the name?
FL x AE: We take workwear-like pieces and add refinement to them or a sense of luxury.
We are from two totally different environments
What is blue-collar to you?
FL x AE: Tough, persistent, hard-working.
How did the PCNYC collab happen?
FL x AE: Earlier this year the idea of incorporating jerseys into the Players Club NYC runs came about. Because of what the club means to us on a personal level, this was a no brainer.
Toney came to us with an amazing vision and trusted us to bring that vision to life. Big shoutout to him for believing in our creative abilities.
Who are some other brands you would like to work with in the future?
AE: Carhartt, Fear of God, Noah, and Nike.
FL: Aime Leon Dore, KITH, New York Sunshine.
AE: Being brought up in the south and Midwest, everyone had something Carhartt in their wardrobe. It’s one of those brands that will never go out of style.
I love Jerry Lorenzo’s design principles and what his brand stands for and I absolutely love Noah’s initiative to give back to the environment while also giving us great products and apparel. Nike is Nike.
It has such a rich history and has forever inspired me, sports aside. Probably my favorite of the four brands I listed because of their storytelling alone.
They have this ability to create content that resonates with their audience while also addressing their needs. They sell benefits. Not products.
FL: Seeing what Teddy has done with Aime Leon Dore is truly amazing. From their first capsule with Puma to their latest drop with New Balance.
The brand’s consistency is probably what stands out to me the most. Ronnie, also a Queens native is just someone who has outworked many establishments I’ve seen come and go over the last couple of years.
The way he’s partnered with brands that best fit and stayed true to his roots is what I admire most. John and the team over at New York Sunshine give that balance between art, experiences, and fashion.
I love how they draw influence from all things New York and I’m excited to see what else they have in store.
Why limit the first collection?
FL x AE: We felt it was just right. Our goal isn’t too over saturate the market. Our goal is to provide staples. Our most recent drop consisted of seven pieces total, but we felt that was appropriate given the season and what we’re offering in terms of product.
Some drops may only consist of one thing. Some drops might be three things, but those one or three things are going to be thoughtful and something you can hold on to forever.
What got you into fashion?
AE: My dad. He was always dressed nice and since I was a representation of him, he always made sure I dressed well.
I’ve also always loved how fashion allows one to express themselves. I take a more uniform approach, but a lot of people dress how they feel internally and that’s pretty cool to me.
FL: Growing up in New York City, fashion was around me 24/7. What I loved most growing up in a big city, is that everyone had their own style. Dressed however they wanted. Styled themselves any way they desired. The creativity was amazing to see and I’m fortunate to be a part of that environment.
What is the next step or future plans for the brand?
FL x AE: We’re currently preparing for the first drop from our SS ‘20 collection followed by a few non-apparel related projects, which we will announce soon.
We would like to collaborate with more brands we feel align with ours. Those brands don’t necessarily have to be in the fashion industry. 2020 is going to be an exciting year for us and we can’t wait to show everyone what we have in store.
How do you define your style?
AE: Multifunctional/Uniform. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate simplicity. I like to look nice, yet comfortable. Never overdressed, but also never underdressed.
FL: Whatever looks good. I can wear our multifunctional shorts and uniform tee from our Drop 1 collection, I can wear a three-piece suit, or I can wear a hooded sweatshirt with my trench coat. It’s all about flexibility and confidence.
Alex and Felix have been true to themselves throughout their sartorial journey as collaborators and designers.
Creating a lane for The New Blue Collar, their vision is inspired by competitiveness and comradery. This team has the determination and patience, creating a lifestyle around refined workwear for fashion’s hard workers.
Look out for this Q&A on PAGE magazine.