The legendary fashion writer Tim Blanks described Patrik Ervell’s first menswear collection as “skinhead from the future.” It was 2005, Ervell was 26 and “future skinhead” wasn’t as distasteful a notion as it seems in 2017. But Blanks was enamored—he would write mostly glowing reviews of nearly all Ervell’s formative collections—and so to were customers, buyers and bloggers. The militaristic nods and futurist references the writer noted, along with an uncanny knack for seeing the potential in unexpected fabrics, would come to be pillars of the Ervell ethos as he vaulted, almost immediately, to indie icon status. He has hardly wavered in the decade since.

Patrik Ervell’s pathway to fashion was not the typical story of a successful designer. He did not attend a prestigious design school. He never apprenticed under a prominent designer at a storied fashion house. Born in London to Swedish parents, Ervell’s story is perfectly American.

Ervell came of age in the bay area of California. His interest in fashion first piqued in high school when he discovered the mid-late ‘90s work of Helmut Lang, “bought every issue of The Face and listened to British alt rock bands Suede, Pulp and Blur. The Brit pop influence is front and center, if a bit refined, in the designer’s first collection.

“If we’re talking periods,” Ervell told Dry Clean Only in July. “I think Prada in the mid to late-’90s was very special.”

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