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For a while now I’ve been intrigued by Sergio Wonder and James Field, if not only for their names, which together create the allure of 1970’s glamour, but also for their well-cultivated style and new accessories label Sergio James. Here is an interview I did with them recently.
Please tell me a little bit about yourselves. Where did you grow up and how did the two of you meet?
James: Hi Christiane! My name is James Field and I am originally from Pennsylvania in the Pocono Mountain area. I moved to the New York area in the summer of 2007 for school. I have worked in the Fashion industry for about 6 years now, and each year I must say it gets more exciting. I met Sergio through some mutual friends about a year and a half ago, and we have been good friends ever since.
Sergio: I was born and raised in Miami Florida. Both fashion and art have always been a driving force in the way I live. It’s been an obsession of mine to be heavily involved with either party. Since starting this journey with James, all thoughts, ideas and concepts are falling into place pretty nicely.
I think one thing that drew me to the two of you is that although you seem to be seriously into fashion your approach comes across a little more light hearted and humorous. James, the first time I met you, you were with Caitlin (McMullen) and I believe you were wearing a head to toe full colored print. It made me really happy. Tell me a little bit about each of our personal styles. Where does your inspiration come from?
Sergio: Although I keep my style preppy and classic, I like to experiment with it in really big ways. Dramatic plaids, stripes, textures, and shapes are always those special details that catch my attention.
James: My personal style has gone though a bit of a reverse evolution. Sounds confusing but I have been reverting back to a more simple yet modern style that I used to wear when I was back in Pennsylvania. I just do not care for a lot of the same things that other people wear, so vintage finds, geometric patterns, and Asian influences and silhouettes hold most of my attention when it comes to my style.
Who are your favorite designers? In your opinion what makes a designer great?
James: Two of my favorite designers are Tim Hamilton & Phillip Lim. I just love the approach to menswear each of the designers brings to the industry. The European club kid sensibility of Tim Hamilton and the chic, modern urban dweller with Phillip Lim are such big inspirations to me. They both are brilliant examples of what makes a great designer, they have the ability to create a conceptual person who wears their clothing and then create the collection around that person.
Sergio: I think what makes a really great designer is the amount of thought, time and research that goes into building the entire brand concept. With that being said, Christopher Bailey, Tom Ford, Oscar de la Renta, and Karl Lagerfeld would have to be at the very top of my list of favorites.
What was your first big fashion moment? Like did you wear crazy outfits when you were kids or is there certain person or performer who you really admired?
James: I think my first big fashion moment was when I was asked to attend a fashion show during New York Fashion Week. I was so nervous, but I knew what I wore had to describe me as individual, and it worked out pretty well. One person that I really do admire not just for amazing personal style and charisma, but for being just an amazing individual is Daphne Guinness. I just think she is fearless when it comes to what she wears, and no matter what it is she still remains poised and humble, and that is why she is such a huge fashion icon.
Sergio: My moment was at my senior prom. So many people from my from my school asked me to design their dresses (and suits in some cases), so it felt incredible walking into a room full of “my croquis”.
Tell me more about the Sergio James label. Do you plan to move beyond accessories and into fashion design as well? It seems like there are a lot of possibilities for the two of you even beyond design. What are your aspirations?
James: Sergio James was not planned to be honest. After Sergio and I became roommates, we started brainstorming and soon discovered we each had some really good ideas and the concept sort of just took shape on its own. We certainly plan on growing the brand into a sleeker, and grown up concept which will include clothing for men and women and more interesting accessories.
Sergio: There’s so much that we have in store for the brand and we’re really happy that we’ve started with the detailing; accessories. Since we’re both lovers of the arts, we do plan on collaborating with most [if not all] of the great artists that we know.
Tell me about the Jo necklaces and pin. They’re pretty abstract figures and I think they can be easily adapted to the style of the wearer. When Jason (Grisell of band Bubbles) wore them he reminded me of John Lydon from Public Image Ltd. What were you thinking about when you created them?
James: I would like to start by saying how honored we were that Jason wore one of our pieces; it was a very special moment since we are such big fans!The Jo image is basically our branding image. It is a way for people to recognize what the brand is, and who we are. Also it is an abstract figure for a purpose, it could very well be a man or a woman and it should certainly encompass the person who adorns it.
What’s next for Sergio and James?
James: In the next few months we will be launching some new styles of jewelry for both men and women and also starting work on our debut clothing collection. So we are hoping the future is bright, and we will continue to work hard to reach our goals.
Sergio: The sky definitely isn’t the limit!