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Blade + Blue Designer Peter Papas on the Inspiration Behind the Brand's Timeless Style: INTERVIEW

Bladeblue

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In 2013, designer Peter Papas decided to do something not many in the fashion industry have the guts or the perseverance to do: follow one's voice and start a fashion brand. But Papas was inspired. Photos of his father and grandfather from the '50s and '60s sparked an idea — create a clothing line based on the fact that men share fashion traditions through generations. Because many styles from back then look as good on men wearing them today.

PpapasA 20-year fashion industry veteran in design and merchandising, Papas (right) also sought to give men something he didn't see in the market place: impeccably tailored men's staples from high quality material with personality to match the guys he encountered on a daily basis.

So Blade + Blue was born and the San Francisco-based designer and retailer (Papas lives in the Castro and married his husband in 2008) recently unveiled a summer 2015 collection filled with classic menswear pieces that embody the brand's commitment to timeless style.

Towleroad sat down with Papas to find out more about his fashion line on the rise and the inspiration behind the brand.

RedWhat inspired your latest collection?

The inspiration for this collection was how to balance fire and ice. Last year was a really intense year for Blade and Blue with lots of highs and some lows as well. I’m doing everything on my own so there were some times when I needed a break just to have some cool down time. But at the same time I would get so restless because I have these ideas for things I want to make and create.

So I was finding myself really in this pickle of, how do I balance this need to cool down with this intense fiery passion that I have to make and create beautiful things. So that’s what I wanted this season to be about: how do you find that balance between the fire and the ice? The collection reflects this crossroads with dreamy prints and icy tones contrasted with hits of flaming red and shocking blue to balance it out and give it energy.

Blade Blue05162015-130What is your most iconic item?

The paper planes necktie. I was thinking back to high school and we used to make paper planes and throw them. I was doodling and I thought there was something beautiful about the pattern of it. I worked with a local screen printer, we took strips of chambray fabric and we screened the artwork onto the chambray and I had some ties and bowties made up. It’s been phenomenal to see people respond to it.

I also have to mention the boxer shorts. This is something that has caught fire. Their inspiration came from the fact that all pants are just cut slim cut now. So when you try to wear boxer shorts from any other company, they are so big and so baggy they end up feeling like a diaper. I basically wanted a boxer short that was as sexy as my skinniest pair of jeans.

Your models are a little different than the average male fashion models we often see. What do you look for when choosing a guy to represent Blade + Blue?

The models are my friends. It’s a very natural thing. These are all people that are just trying to rally around someone they care about and help them achieve their dream. Like my neighbor Brian Maier (pictured in boxers, who has developed quite a following on Instagram). I approached him one day and said here’s what I’m doing, it’s a start up, would you be interested and helping me out and doing this with me? And he agreed to do it. He has become one of the faces of Blade + Blue. People associate my brand with his face. I think there’s something incredibly different about that. It’s not staged and not affected and i think that’s something people really respond to. 

Blade_Blue03042015-181_largeWhere does the name Blade + Blue come from?

Blade + Blue comes from one of my dogs. He was so sad in the shelter that they called him "Lonesome Blue". He looked so handsome but miserable. I adopted him and named him Blade because of the blade of white fur on his black face. He has grown into an incredibly strong, athletic champion. He has shown me that I should never underestimate the underdog.

The logo is my other dog, Gavin. One night when I was in my studio working, pinning some inspirations onto a board about what I wanted Blade + Blue to be, I completely lost track of time and I looked to my side and Gavin was sitting next to me and there was something in his eyes that said, ‘You've been questioning what you want to do with your life?' So when I thought about a logo I went right back to that minute when the look in that dog’s eyes told me this is the path you need to take.

OldschoolTell us more about the company ethos behind Blade + Blue? 

I wanted to do something that had a human connection. I wanted to feel like when people buy something on the internet there’s a real person whose life they are affecting when they make that purchase. I’m trying to have a conversation with customers by saying, ‘Here’s who I am, here’s what I’m really excited about and passionate about, I hope you like it too and thank you for supporting this small company because you have a lot of choices out there.’ When someone buys something on the site they get an email directly from me that thanks them for their purchase and just lets them know that if they need anything else at all they can contact me and I’ll do everything I can to make them satisfied with Blade + Blue. I don’t think they get that from a lot of other companies.

Blade + Blue is donating a portion of its sales this month to The Matthew Shepard Foundation to celebrate Pride. What this organization?

In 2014 a shot of two boyfriends who were modeling for Blade + Blue was used on the website. Then the reaction happened and it was so shocking to me. People were sending me emails saying we should all just go and die of AIDS and lots of uses of the word ‘faggot.’ It made me realize that I haven’t had to deal with many of these types of things since high school. So we decided to turn a negative into a positive. [Donating a portion of our proceeds to The Matthew Shepard Foundation] is something I’ve continued to do periodically. And I thought, what better way to celebrate Pride month?

Now through through July, use promotion Code: MATTHEW at checkout on Blade + Blue's website and 15% of these sales will be donated to The Matthew Shepard Foundation. Plus, you'll receive free shipping on your order. 

You can also check out a comprehensive list of all locations where Blade + Blue is sold HERE

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Rapper Tyler the Creator Blasts Neo-Nazis with 'Homo Erotic' Interracial Ad for Gay Pride T-Shirt

Tyler

Rapper Tyler the Creator began selling a t-shirt this week under his 'Golf Wang' fashion label intended to make a statement against homophobia by appropriating a white supremacist symbol and coloring it with a rainbow.

Tyler explained on his Tumblr:

It was a period in time where all i wanted to do was read about different dictators across the world. The way that one man could control so many brains always intrigued me. This opened a door to a lot of things, one of them being the Nazi regime during the 40s. Soaking my brain with as much info as i could on the subject, i pondered to myself if there was anyone still pushing this Nazi propaganda during these days? That is when i came across Neo-Nazis, The Ku Klux Klan and The White Nationalist Community. To make it simple, its just a group of Caucasians who take pride in being white. Nothing wrong with that correct? But the weird thing is that its primarily supported by White Supremacist organizations.( KKK, Aryan Nation, Etc) Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that these guys aren’t fans of Blacks, Gays, Asians or anything else that doesn’t fit in “white” box.

Now having the thought process that i have, i asked myself some questions: What if a black guy wore this logo on a shirt? Would he be promoting self hate? Would he be taking the power out of a shape? What if a gay guy wore this on a shirt? Would he promoting Homophobia? Then BAM! I Had it. Throw a little rainbow in the logo ( i still wonder, who was the guy that said a rainbow is the gay symbol? thats another article stay tuned) and take a photo with a white guy in it and we have an amazing photo. The thing that tops it off is the homo erotic tone of the hand holding, which to some degree HAS to piss off the guys who takes this logo serious. This made the photo even more important to me, because it was me playing with the idea of taking the power out of something so stupid. Or maybe my whole idea on this is stupid. Who knows, but why not try it out?

Tyler also made note of past controversies. In 2011, NME made note that his album Goblin used the word "faggot" and its variants 213 times. He explained at the time:

"I’m not homophobic. I just think 'faggot' hits and hurts people. It hits. And 'gay' just means you’re stupid. I don't know, we don’t think about it, we're just kids. We don’t think about that shit. But I don't hate gay people. I don't want anyone to think I’m homophobic."

In 2013 he explained himself again:

”That’s just a word, you can take the power out of that word. The way that I see things, it's you choose to be offended if you care more about stuff like that. And that might sound very ignorant, but if you're a black person and someone calls you the n-word and you get offended, maybe you might be. But if I know that I'm not a n-word...I'm not gonna get offended because I know that I'm not that. Frank [Ocean] is gay and I use that word all the time. He doesn't care because he knows me. He knows when I say that word I'm not thinking of someone's sexual orientation. It's just another word that has no meaning."

Tyler said this week, in the Tumblr post explaining the anti-homophobia t-shirt:

Also, ever since my career started, ive been labeled as a homophobe, simply because of my use of the word faggot. Again, trying to take the power out of something, I WAS NEVER REFERRING TO SOMEONES SEXUAL PREFERENCE WHEN USING THAT WORD. I mean, i’m legit one of the least homophobic guys to walk this earth but, most people just read the surface. But maybe someone will see this photo and say “ hey, he’s just mocking gays” or “ this has a negative undertone to it, he is still pushing this homophobic whatever the f--k it is”. What ever it is, i just wanted to give you guys some background info on the design before you purchase the shirt. You should know what you are wearing. be safe, love. RACISM F--KING SUCKS golfwang.com


Giorgio Armani Isn't A Fan Of Gay Men Who Aren't Manly Enough

Screenshot 2015-04-20 14.46.50

Another day, and yet another gay titan of the fashion industry with the desire to express their homophobic opinions about other gay people. Fresh off the heels of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s ham-handed statements about queer families (and the subsequent backlash), Giorgio Armani’s taking some gay men to task for not being masculine enough for his tastes.

"When homosexuality is exhibited to the extreme - to say: 'Ah, you know I'm homosexual,' - that has nothing to do with me,” he expressed in a recent interview with The Sunday Times Magazine. “A man has to be a man."

To his credit, Armani also admits to not being particularly fond of the heavily-muscular male aesthetic later on in the same interview, explaining that his vision of the ideal male form was “[S]omebody solid, who looks after his body but doesn't use his muscles too much."


Feel Free to Call This Sweater 'Gay' Because It's Made from 100 Percent Homosexual Hair: VIDEO

Gaysweater

This sweater is so gay.

You can totally say that, because this sweater is here to teach you a lesson.

SweaterActivists at the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity created this garment out of 100% homosexual hair from more than 100 people. It's making its debut during Toronto Fashion Week.

"The idea for the sweater was born from a desire to educate and encourage everyone to use 'gay' the correct way," said Jeremy Dias, director of the CCGSD. "We want the conversation that surrounds the gay sweater to inspire those who are using 'gay' in a detrimental way to both realize the negative impact their words and actions are having and change their behavior."

Watch how the sweater was made and see people on the street react, try it on, and express their delight or disgust, AFTER THE JUMP...

Zack

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This Fashion Exec Left the Rat Race and Opened the Ideal Boutique in Provincetown: VIDEO

Provincetown's main drag Commercial Street "is a stage and everybody is on it," says Josh Patner, the owner and founder of Loveland, his one-of-a-kind boutique in the west end of the gay and lesbian tourist mecca at the tip of Cape Cod. Provincetown's history, its spectacular natural setting, and its cultural appeal have made it a hotspot where creators, curators, and connectors come together each summer to work and live, exchange ideas, and just relax.

RCF_LGBT_300x250_STATIC_112014Towleroad spent last summer in 'Ptown' and got to know some of the people whose dreams have been brought to life by this unique place, and whose visions are helping make it the most popular destination in the country for LGBT vacationers.

Towleroad and LEXUS are bringing you their stories over the next few weeks in our AskTell ACT series. Last week we brought you the story of Rob and Loic, a gay binational couple who fell in love, quit their jobs, and opened their dream restaurant.

Today we're introducing you to Josh, a former NYC executive who brought his experience in design, retail, and journalism to bear at Loveland, a shop he thinks of as "a pirate ship...because the shop to me is a treasure trove of bounty from far away."

Loveland is also a theater of sorts, and its changing interiors, colorful cast of friends, shoppers, and townie regulars tell a story throughout the summer that could not be told in any other place but Provincetown.

We think you'll agree. Please enjoy his story in the video above.

And don't miss last week's video about Rob and Loic, who fell in love quit their jobs, and opened their dream restaurant, The Canteen.

Loveland

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Derek Zoolander and Hansel Crashed Paris Fashion Week: VIDEO

Crash

It's been nearly 14 years since fashion's two hottest male supermodels, Derek Zoolander and Hansel, had their famous walk-off. But thanks to an upcoming sequel to the 2001 comedy spoof, the duo has been reunited once again. Crashing the runway at Valentino's Paris fashion show, the pair strutted their stuff down the catwalk delivering Blue Steel and Magnum fierceness.

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour even got in on the fun.

ANNA

Watch Zoolander and Hansel work the runway, AFTER THE JUMP...

(Wintour image by the great Kevin Tachman)

Zoolander

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