What began as a mere ambition by childhood friends David Hickman, Nick Thomas and Scott Barclay is now Idol Radec, a Los Angeles-based line focusing on tailored menswear. Born and raised in Houston and Orange County, this designing trio turns to everything from their grandparents to Mick Jagger to find inspiration for their debonair duds. By combining a South California sensibility with a New York City aesthetic, not to mention the highest quality fabrics, Idol Radec embodies a universal appeal for discerning young gentlemen. We sat down with Nick Thomas to get the scoop on upcoming collections, future endeavors, and what it means to get “Barclayed.”
How did Idol Radec come about?
Well, Dave and I grew up on Radec Street in Villa Park, and then we just pulled Idol out of thin air. I have known Dave since elementary school, and Scott is an old family friend from Houston. [Designing clothes] is something that we have always wanted to do, but none of us has a design background, though Scott did production from Jovovich-Hawk, O’Neill and RVCA. Dave’s dad was the CFO for Vans, so we used to product test all the shoes before they were mass-produced, but besides that, we don’t have fashion-heavy resumes. In August of 2006, we decided to form Idol Radec with the intent of providing wearable, well-made clothes that reflected our lifestyle. We put together a collection for Pool in Las Vegas, got a great response, but decided not to produce immediately. We went back to the drawing board to create something that we actually wanted to release.
We currently work as a collective: I handle the marketing, David handles the business operations and Scott does production. The design aspect is totally collaborative. We all have similar taste and we know what we like, though not everything we come up with makes the collection.
How would you describe the line’s overall aesthetic?
Modern Americana. We get a lot of inspirations from our families and films from the 50s and 60s. Kubrick, Godard, Antonioni; the attire they used helped to set the overall tone of the film, whether it’s a mood, color or silhouette. For instance, if we are looking to create a double-breasted blazer, we compare and contrast vintage blazers with their modern counterparts and combine the best features of both. We love old documentaries on the Rolling Stones, and by using top-of-the-line manufacturers, we are able to recreate, in a sense, some of Mick Jagger’s style. We aren’t looking to replicate different eras, but we definitely take inspiration from them.
Tell us about your current collection.
Fall and spring are called the Family Album Series. We looked at our respective family albums to see how our parents and grandparents used to dress. The clothing is very structured, and these collections definitely have a retro undertone. For fall, we have wool bomber jackets, tweed three-piece suits and cashmere cardigans, and for spring, we are debuting a tuxedo and a water-resistant khaki suit because hey, you never know where you’re going to be [or how much water will be involved].
What type of guy wears Idol Radec?
Stylish, affluent, well-spoken, and well-educated young men; overall, just someone who likes to present himself well. It is not for one specific person, we have a crossover appeal ranging from 20-45-year-olds. Our line appeals to everyone, for instance, our wovens and sweaters do well on the West Coast, while the formal pieces sell far better on the East Coast. I could wear a three-piece suit out in New York and not feel overdressed, whereas in L.A. or Orange County, I would feel like a schmuck. We sell at a wide range of retailers like American Rag, Fred Segal, Steven Alan, Bloomingdale’s and Oak New York, which really demonstrates our widespread appeal.
What does the future hold for the label?
We want to continue to do what we do best, refining our collections, making them better and better every season, and continue to define ourselves as a brand. Some accessories coming up are satchel briefcases, belts, ties, and we eventually want to expand into womenswear. Also, we want to break into the Australian market. My dad is from there, and they dress so well, so dapper. In the metropolitan areas, the people you come across, well, they really just aren’t T-shirt people.
Tell us a funny story.
For starters, I wear a mean Spiderman costume. But recently, Scott came to New York and stayed with our friend Mike. He ended up getting locked out of the apartment in the middle of the night, and subsequently slept in the hallway. From then on, we all agreed never to get Scott Barclayed again. Three weeks later I was in New York staying with Mike, who has a broken doorbell, might I add, and my phone died, leaving me no choice but to curl up in his concrete hallway. Needless to say, that was the night I got Barclayed. David has yet to be Barclayed.
Well, if it’s up to Mike’s doorbell and copious amounts of alcohol, there is still hope for you, young David.
Idol Radec is available online at Oak N.Y.C.