With a name like Aimé Leon Dore, one would assume a brand origin story derived from the lavish streets of France or perhaps the alleyways of London. To do so would be purely an example of the popular idiom "don't judge a book by its cover," or title, in this particular case. The burgeoning fashion and lifestyle line actually originated from The Big Apple and is helmed by Queens-born designer Teddy Santis.

Although hailing from the concrete jungle, ALD's aesthetics are minimal as possible, yet possess an immense amount of character that only New York can inspire. As a matter of fact, an iTunes link to purchase Nas' lauded debut studio album, Illmatic, is the only information provided under the brand's brief bio on their website's “about” section. You can't get any realer than that.

Unlike other notable designers, Santis did not graduate with a fashion degree from a distinguished school, but rather used the pulsating streets of New York as his style sensei. On January 2014, Teddy premiered the very first collection of his contemporary label, which consisted of 13 ready-to-wear pieces, all minimal, functional and comfortable. It included overcoats with hoodies, scarves paired with baseball hats, cable knit sweaters and sweatpants all tailored to perfection. When a lookbook drops, the collection is exclusively offered on the brand's site.

Almost all of ALD's garments are made to order in New York. "Producing in NYC was an important decision because it allowed us to ensure and control the quality of the product we want to sell to our consumer," Santis said to Esquire. "It also resonated with our brand ethos to have our garments made in the same city the brand is from." The direct to customer approach has permitted ALD to work outside of the usual seasonal calendar. Furthermore, it enables the brand to provide high quality clothing, constructed of Japanese fabrics in New York's garment district, for reasonable prices.

Santis' has already collaborated with many of the industry's top brands, such as his buddy Ronnie Fieg's KITH, Puma and Amsterdam-based sneaker company Filling Pieces. ALD launched its first Womenswear collection exactly two years after its inception this past January. Entitled "47th Street," the collection consisted of basics similar to their menswear, featuring shawl collar coats, wool pants, waffle leggings and biker jackets in female silhouettes.

The New York-based menswear line just released its very first in-house sneaker, The Q14, a few weeks ago. The shoes remain true to Teddy's NYC roots as it is named after a Queens bus route. The sneaker, inspired by the classic Nike Air Force 1, is handmade in Portugal and features Cow leather lining, gold embossed branding and a cemented rubber sole.

Teddy Santis’ brainchild will unveil a special concept shop and photo exhibit on 179 Mott Street in Nolita from November 11th through December 23rd. Titled "Class of..." the minimalist exhibit will provide a setting which compliments the narrative of growing up in NYC during the '90s. Furthermore, the public display will give consumers a peek into what has inspired Aimé Leon Dore and how it translates that inspiration into today’s culture and its very own art and design direction. The exhibit, entirely shot by NYC photographer Andrew Jacobs using medium format film, will feature 24x30" prints of objects and product that are nostalgic of an era that has inspired ALD and its vision. Alongside the exhibit, Aimé Leon Dore will be showcasing a slew of their products, including basketball graphic hoodies, crewneck sweaters and T-shirts, wool blocked track jackets, moleskin pants, logo windbreakers, Aimé satin team jackets, "Class of..." exhibit photo T-shirts, footwear and accessories. All of these items and photographs will be available for purchase.

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