Welcome to our new series, Men At Work. SaksPOV will take you behind-the-scenes at the offices, ateliers, and workspaces of the most stylish gentlemen in the menswear industry. First up is Luis Fernandez the President and Creative Director of NUMBER:Lab. The brand recently moved into the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s (CFDA) Fashion Incubator floor in the Garment District, as part of a two-year program established to cultivate design talent in New York City.
“With Number:Lab, Luis is creating something that no one else in the men’s market is doing right now: mixing technical active-sport fabrics with superb men’s tailoring. It’s a simple, yet brilliant concept. And that makes it very exciting for me to be working with Number:Lab, as both a retailer and as a mentor in conjunction with the CFDA Incubator program,” notes Eric Jennings, Saks Fifth Avenue vice president and men’s fashion director
SaksPOV: How would you describe your workspace?
Luis Fernandez: Minimalist but functional.
SaksPOV: What is essential for a good work environment?
L.F.: 1) Good storage to keep the mess tucked away and out of sight. 2) Lots of pin-up space and imagery to keep the eyes inspired and the mind always moving.
SaksPOV: Tell us about being apart of the 2.0 class of CFDA’s Fashion Incubator program.
L.F.: It’s an amazing opportunity. This space and sharing a floor with all the other designers is kind of invaluable. Someone just came by and asked if I had a template for a tech pack. If I have a question, I can go over to another designer and ask. From sheer community and sharing, it’s amazing. There are seminars and the mentorship program, which is extremely valuable. We definitely have the dream team of advisors.
SaksPOV: Tell us about your Spring/Summer collection.
L.F.: I borrowed from both the French Riviera in the 1930s and contemporary skater style to craft a collection of graphic, athletic-inspired menswear that was marked by collaged stripes, inventive use of performance fabric, and high-contrast color.
SaksPOV: Do you have a favorite?
L.F.: The soft raglan zip-up hoodie jacket is made primarily out of cotton, making it cool and breathable for a nice spring day; and the perfect light jacket to travel in. I just wore it on a flight from Miami to New York – the only issue I had was the fact that I still had to take it off at the security check.
SaksPOV: Whose work has been inspiring you lately?
L.F.: A house that Le Corbusier did, the Villa Savoye, and the idea of the Renaissance man living in it. There’s ramp that traverses the whole house and a spiral staircase. It’s a juxtaposition of speed and leisure.
SaksPOV: How does your background as an architect influence the way you design?
L.F.: It’s the way of thinking. I come from a school where there is this very strong concept of form and function. And those two are always married. It’s not just about creating something pretty or about just creating something purely functional. There always has to be that marriage…I always try to find out the ergonomics. How is a guy trying to reach into his pocket and what is he putting into it? Instead of a coin pocket, maybe it’s a pocket that fits an iPhone.
SaksPOV: Speaking of technology are you on Pinterest? We’re pinning.
L.F.: I’m obsessed with it. It’s such a great place to organize, find, everything. I’ve created a board, the NUMBER:Lab man. I try to do this everyday to wrap my head around the things, the objects, and the space that the Number:Lab man would be inspired by.
SaksPOV: How are you going to spend Father’s Day?
L.F.: Hopefully we’ll be at the beach with my son, Finn. He’s 2 ½ and such an explorative little kid. Even though that’s more work for us, I love that he is always trying to figure things out. Through that exploring we get to learn as well. He brings a new perspective. Just from his vantage point that he can see things that we can’t. Every now and then I’ll try to duck down and look at things from a different angle.