Little Sister New York Presents: "A Closed Feeling," A Number (N)ine Archive Sale
Little Sister New York Presents: "A Closed Feeling," A Number (N)ine Archive Sale
- Words Grailed Team
- Date March 02, 2018
Little Sister New York is an experimental menswear conglomerate composed of Julian Fetterman and Scott Santiago, who you probably better know as Grailed’s curation manager. Combined, the two have over 15 years of buying and selling experience with brands from around the world, building a robust archive in the process. In the duo’s debut sale with Grailed, they offer over 99 items by Takahiro Miyashita’s Number (N)ine.
The sale, named after Miyashita’s final collection with Number (N)ine, "A Closed Feeling," encompasses an extensive collection of clothing by the designer curated by two fans who deeply understand and appreciate Miyashita’s body of work. Sticking with the mantra of letting go, the sale pays tribute to the legendary designer’s finale. To coincide with Grailed’s continued mission to educate fashion enthusiasts everywhere, we sat down with the Little Sister pair to discover how they got into fashion, how they found each other and how they’re digging deeper into the mind of Miyashita to uncover the meanings and references behind some of the designer’s most iconic items.
Let’s start with the obvious question, especially since you’re two guys in your early twenties, where does the name “Little Sister” come from?”
Julian Fetterman: When first talking about this idea, the name was something that we were spending a lot of time contemplating.
Scott Santiago: I was at a talk about science, nature, and theism when an excerpt by G.K. Chesterton was recited. He said, “Nature is a sister, and even a younger sister: a little, dancing sister, to be laughed at as well as loved." In saying so, Chesterton believed that there was no such thing as “mother nature,” because nature is something that continues to grow with us which we also should take care of, without authority over us, as if it were a sibling. This is exactly how we view Little Sister New York. The overarching goal with this platform is to add value to everything we put forward by continuing to work on the brand, educate those who are interested in the brand, while at the same time disallowing the brand itself to confide us to a limit in terms of what we can release. We want it to be an outlet in which we, as well as all of our friends, can utilize in order to push out our own ideas.
How did each of you guys respectively become such fans of fashion in general?
JF: For me, it all goes back to elementary school when I discovered my local skate shop in Detroit. The brands they were carrying peaked my interest enough to start looking online for clothes that I knew I couldn't get at any stores in my area. As I learned more about menswear and discovered new designers through middle school and high school, I began collecting the kind of pieces that struck me as special, rare or valuable.
SS: As a kid growing up in New York City, I was exposed to the constantly changing fashion environment in downtown Manhattan at a pretty young age. Around, like, 2007, everything was Nike SB and that era of streetwear culture, so I naturally began researching what was surrounding me. Since I was too young to afford any of that stuff on my own, the best I could do was to somewhat aimlessly Google clothing until I finally stumbled upon invaluable discussion platforms like Styleforum. I would say that’s where my surface level interest evolved into a full-blown passion.
So we’ve got a skater from Detroit and a streetwear kid from NYC. How do two kids like that end up connecting? Was it through those web 1.0 forums?
JF: Actually, about, two years ago, I met Scott after I bought a pair of Undercover pants from him on Grailed. We quickly realized we were into the same brands and equally passionate about menswear. It only took a few times hanging out for me to realize the only thing Scott is more passionate about than clothes is making fun of my bald head.
SS: What he said [laughs]. My boy ‘noodle head.’
JF: I mean, it’s just easy to deal with.
We already know Scott works here with us at Grailed managing our curation, but tell us more about what you do, Julian.
What prompts two friends who love clothing to put their money where their mouth is and launch an ambitious archive project?
JF: We’ve had the idea of bringing our collections together for a while and just decided it was finally time to get serious and make it happen.
SS: It just made sense for us to finally do something productive with the collections we’ve built over the years rather than just keeping them to ourselves. It’s our creative outlet where we can experiment with the things each of us are passionate about such as design, photography and styling.
So not everything you guys plan on working on are going to be these massive archive releases?
JF: For installments like this Number (N)ine sale, we want them to be as big and impactful as possible, obviously, but we also plan on rolling out single items for sale as well as producing all different types of projects.
SS: Anything from editorials that we or our friends shoot, to designing and releasing in-house product is on the table. That’s the beauty of doing your own thing, right? You can do whatever you happen to be feeling.
Speaking of which, the editorial aspects of this Number (N)ine sale are super interesting. They’re almost two sides of the sale coin: one lookbook with shawls and suspenders, the other with Jordans and camouflage pants. What’s the rationale behind such a strong division between lookbooks?
JF: We thought it was important to show the brand in two different lights. The first one you mentioned is directly inspired by the source material of Miyashita’s runway shows, while the other is a more modern, relaxed take on his classic pieces. With both, we’re trying to show a bit of history and how the brand can fit into a variety of different styles.
SS: I think that when designing, Miyashita had the unique foresight that many designers lacked at the time, and still do. Ultimately, there’s no inherit limit within which you can wear clothing. These particular garments are designed for personal experimentation and we tried to convey that as best as we possibly could.
Is that freedom why you guys obsess over Number (N)ine particularly? What inspires you guys personally about this old, defunct label?
SS: I’ve always seen Miyashita as designer who frames his collections as a traveller. Whether it’s Tokyo, Portland, Seattle, or New York City, he can expertly extract specific subcultures that he has personally experienced. It’s fairly explicit when you really dig into his collections. He’s the kind of designer, similar to, say, Jun Takahashi, where if you take the time to really analyze and research his designs, you learn more about the designer themself and what their personal interests may be. It’s as if their collections are personal diaries in that respect.
JF: Number (N)ine is an objectively essential piece of menswear history. Similar to what Scott said, I feel like I’ve been opened up to a whole new world of music and clothing through Miyashita’s designs. His work has stuck with me and continues to inspire me creatively across the board. Like all the best kind of fashion, it’s more than just clothing.
What specific Number (N)ine collections stand out to you guys personally?
SS: When I was first going through Number (N)ine, season by season, I noticed there was a gap between A/W 2002 and A/W 2003. At first I just assumed this gap was simply a result of information lost in translation between Japanese and American forums, but as I continued to research I found a deeper understanding. Anyone who closely follows Miyashita’s career knows that he has been in and out of the hospital due to medical complications over the years. His A/W 2003 collection, entitled ‘Touch Me I’m Sick,’ is not only possibly a Mudhoney and Charles Peterson reference, but a personal message of sorts as he was literally in the hospital dealing with personal mental health issues. Ever since, I’ve found a new respect for the designer because of the way in which he layers additional meaning to everything he does.
JF: For me, it’s all about music. I’ve played the guitar since I was a little kid and music has always been an influence of mine in anything I do that’s creative, but especially clothing and style. Everyone that’s familiar with Number (N)ine knows that Kurt Cobain was one of Miyashita’s biggest inspirations, though that’s not what necessarily got me into the brand. Specifically, that would be Number (N)ine’s A/W 2007 collection, ‘Love, God, Murder,’ named after the 2000 Johnny Cash box set. My dad was a huge Johnny Cash fan and would play his live album, At Folsom Prison all the time when I was younger. That initial personal connection I felt to A/W 07 is something I hadn’t experienced with clothing up until that point.
Takahiro Miyashita and Number (N)ine aside, who or what else inspires you guys?
JF: As far as fashion goes, I care most about materials and construction, so, personally, visvim, Margiela, Carol Christian Poell and Undercover make up the bulk of my favorite parts of my wardrobe. I’ve come to realize that the pieces that I keep around for the longest are the ones that I can get joy from just by looking at. Outside of clothing, I’m passionate about studying business and discovering new music.
SS: If I had to pick two fashion labels that have influenced me most, it would be Vivienne Westwood and Maison Martin Margiela. Both are easily two of the most underappreciated and overwhelmingly referenced labels, the well where many of our favorite brands have found direct inspiration. We also can’t overlook Helmut Lang’s original intimate simplicity that, while often replicated, has yet to be duplicated and probably never will.
I’ve also always had a passion for photography. I wound up in a film photography class four years ago and it wound up becoming my favorite medium to express myself. Developing your own work and seeing it in a physical medium is pure magic.
What’s next for Little Sister?
JF: We hope to keep releasing sales with Grailed, and to offer a different kind of perspective on the items we think are special. We’re using our Instagram as our main platform to communicate with our audience.
SS: This wound up becoming one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever done and it leaves me wanting to do so much more. If anyone out there is interested in contributing to Little Sister in any way we’d love to hear from you. Let us know!
Film Photography: Scott Santiago
Model #1: John Daily
Digital Photography: Christopher Fenimore
Model #2: Bloody Osiris
Product photography: Max Hanuschak
Product styling: Meghan Hancock