Meet Up Monday: Lfant
Lfant (pronounced “elephant”) is a locally made New York-based menswear brand that very successfully aims to create vintage-inspired pieces that are wardrobe favorites from the get-go. Its current collection is called “Old Sport,” brings to mind retro athletics and includes a signature football jersey that is available every season. Founder and creative director Ryan Jackson recently gave me the low-down on the label, which has been quietly charging forward for the past 12 years and is now set to really start making some noise.
What is Lfant’s background?
Our aesthetic is our play upon classic but contemporary American made clothing for the man who is interested in many aspects of life from travel and sports to family and he needs something that is wearable during all these different circumstances of his life. Lfant was founded in 2004 when I was in college. Here we are 12 years later really just getting our feet wet and getting out there to the masses.
What is the brand’s aesthetic?
Durable, if you can put it into one word. We really put a lot of focus on the American made aspect of it. One, because of jobs and two, we can really control the quality. I don’t buy clothes on a routine basis but the clothes that I do buy I want them to stay with me in my life. So I put a lot of focus on getting the right fabrics and making sure that the fit detail is correct and that I have the right weight. When you purchase something you know that it is going to be around with you and in your life.
Who is your customer?
The international consumer base has taken on an interest in Lfant. The Japanese audience loves the whole Americana experience and we’ve also gained traction with various individuals here in America who appreciate what we do and how we pay homage to yesteryear but with things that can be worn right now. The age group is from 25 to 50. That’s a wide margin but we get these guys who can reference some of the things or moments in their lives that were similar to something we do.
What are the key pieces in the current collection?
Definitely our football jersey. It is long sleeved and heavyweight with vintage construction and shoulder detail. It’s like a captain’s football jersey with the number 11, which the number I wore when I played football so I wanted to create something that paid homage to such a special time in my life. I loved football and I have always loved fashion and both those things always existed with me together on some level. I wanted to create something that would always be around no matter how we grow.
How big is the collection?
Our first collection was really extensive. We had about 96 pieces and that was pretty much the culmination of all these ideas I had for all these years but we have scaled down massively. For this collection I think we are down to about 13 pieces in total. I really wanted to focus it down so the consumer could digest and get the gist of what we are doing and trying to say.
What is your design background?
I went to art school at Miami International School of Art and Design and I took the basics. But my real background is in illustration. It has always been a love for fashion and color stories. It has always been a part of my life even when I wasn’t in a platform to really do it. I was always interested in looking at magazines and digesting this information growing up in Kentucky where it wasn’t really available to you. So it has been a lifelong thing.
Why the name Lfant?
You obviously think of the big land mammal from Africa that herds across the safari and what I wanted to take from that was the demeanor of elephants. An elephant is an animal that is special, strong and constantly going in unison forward. It’s always migrating and it’s always looking out for its fellow members. I wanted to have something that played into those types of values. I chose the word elephant but I chose to spell it different just to give it that little twist. With my partners that I design with and my brothers who have been with me from the beginning, that is kind of how we carry ourselves. We look out for each other and we’re always working together.
What is next for Lfant?
We want to expand and grow. We have been under the radar a little bit but we definitely want to expand here in America. We have opportunities in Europe and Japan but this is a special brand that’s made right here in New York in three factories in the Garment District so it’s important for us to be available here and to let people know that you can make clothes here in America.