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



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


North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory to Veto Anti-gay Marriage Recusal Bill

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has announced he will veto a bill passed by the state legislature today that would allow public officials to opt out of marrying same-sex couples for "sincerely held religious" objections, Raleigh's WTVD reports:

McCrory"I recognize that for many North Carolinians, including myself, opinions on same-sex marriage come from sincerely held religious beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, we are a nation and a state of laws. Whether it is the president, governor, mayor, a law enforcement officer, or magistrate, no public official who voluntarily swears to support and defend the Constitution and to discharge all duties of their office should be exempt from upholding that oath; therefore, I will veto Senate Bill 2," said McCrory.

The News and Observer adds:

With McCrory planning a veto, Thursday’s House vote tally indicates that a three-fifths majority to override a veto might prove challenging for the Republican leadership. About 61 percent of the legislators voting Thursday supported the bill, but 10 House members were absent or didn’t vote.

McCrory made his position on Senate Bill 2 clear during a Charlotte radio interview in March: “I don’t think you should have an exemption when you took an oath to uphold … the constitution of North Carolina,” he said.

Same-sex marriage was legalized in North Carolina last year

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Iowa Conservative Bob Vander Plaats Abandons Anti-Gay 'Marriage Vow' for 2016 GOP Presidential Race

Vander plaatsYou may recall Bob Vander Plaats of The Family Leader as the Iowa conservative behind the campaign to oust pro-equality state Supreme Court justices back in 2010, or the guy behind a failed boycott of Starbucks over its pro-LGBT policies a few years back, or perhaps the activist charged with selling his 2012 presidential endorsement (which eventually went to Rick Santorum). 

But Vander Plaats is arguably best known for his group's anti-gay, vaguely pro-slavery "marriage pledge" that was used in a (failed) attempt to get the most extreme social conservative elected as the party's nominee in the 2012 election. 

"The Marriage Vow -- A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family", requires opposition to Sharia law, pornography, infidelity, and same-sex marriage, among other things.

The document also contained a section which said that African-American families were better off during the time of slavery, reading:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President.

Vander Plaats now tells The Des Moines Register he has no plans to ask candidates to sign the pledge this election. 

"One of the reasons why we are not doing it this time is that we saw it as more of a distraction" than as a benefit, Vander Plaats said. "We thought that there were other ways to do this. You know, our opponents want to pick apart things that we do. We want to make sure that the candidates are full-spectrum, pro-family conservatives."

He added that as an alternative, The Family Leader is sponsoring a series of leadership forums for presidential candidates to presumably tout their anti-LGBT positions. 

Said Donna Red Wing, executive director of the LGBT group One Iowa:

"I think the world is changing, and I think folks like Bob Vander Plaats and The Family Leader, while they are not abandoning their very deep convictions around family and marriage, they have made a decision not to make it a litmus test for candidates they support. ... I don't say this very often, but I have to applaud Bob Vander Plaats and The Family Leader for this small, but significant step,"

Watch Whoopi Goldberg whoop Michele Bachmann's ass for signing The Marriage Vow back in 2011, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Iowa Conservative Bob Vander Plaats Abandons Anti-Gay 'Marriage Vow' for 2016 GOP Presidential Race" »

Andrew Rannells Reveals the Crush That Made Him Realize He Was Gay, at Age 5: VIDEO


In a new clip from the docuseries 'It Got Better' (now in its second season), the collaboration between Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky's production company and Dan Savage's 'It Gets Better' campaign, actor Andrew Rannells (Girls, Hedwig, The Book of Mormon) talks about realizing he was a gay man and how those around him did too.


Who was your earliest same-sex crush?

Continue reading "Andrew Rannells Reveals the Crush That Made Him Realize He Was Gay, at Age 5: VIDEO" »

North Carolina Anti-Gay Marriage Recusal Bill Heads to Governor's Desk

A bill allowing public officials to opt out of marrying same-sex couples for "sincerely held religious" objections has cleared the state House and now heads to Governor Pat McCrory's desk.

McCroryMcCrory, who expressed concerns about the proposal back in March saying "What is the problem they're trying to solve?" has yet to indicate whether he'll veto the bill, sign it, or let it become law without his signature.

The News & Observer reports:

If McCrory breaks out the veto stamp, Thursday’s House vote tally indicates that a three-fifths majority to override a veto might prove challenging for the Republican leadership. About 61 percent of the legislators voting Thursday supported the bill, but 10 House members were absent or didn’t vote.

McCrory made his position on Senate Bill 2 clear during a Charlotte radio interview in March: “I don’t think you should have an exemption when you took an oath to uphold … the constitution of North Carolina,” he said.

If the governor doesn’t veto the bill within 10 days, it will automatically become law.

LGBT groups are blasting the bill's passage and calling urging for a veto.

“At a time when the N.C. General Assembly should be taking up job protections that apply to all North Carolinians, legislative leaders have instead chosen to waste precious time and resources giving a few anti-LGBT North Carolina magistrates a license to discriminate against taxpaying North Carolina families,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro in a statement. “We call on Gov. McCrory, who has already opposed the premise of this bill, to veto this discriminatory legislation and send a strong message that no public official is exempt from the constitution they’ve sworn to uphold.”



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