Unique insights with Anthony Lupesco, founder of Shockoe Atelier, a homegrown American brand with roots in Italian tailoring.
Back in April, I found myself pounding the streets of Dutch capital during the Amsterdam Denim Days. It was a great chance to see some sick denim, catch up with some old friends and make some new ones.
I was surprised to find a number of denimheads from the US, not specifically working in the industry but passionate enough to make the long trip over to Europe, specifically for this event.
For sure, there was a lot of denim chat and at one point someone dropped the name Shockoe Atelier, then someone else piped in extolling the virtues of this Richmond based brand. I’d never heard of it, but my curiosity peeked.
A quick follow on Instagram, some mails back and forward and I am talking to the founder Anthony Lupesco, firing him our 20 questions to get to know this home-grown American brand with roots in Italian tailoring.
The Who, the What and the When
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Anthony Lupesco, and I’m the founder of Shockoe Atelier.
Who started the whole thing off?
I started Shockoe in 2012 with my father, Pierre Lupesco.
How did the brand get its name?
We set-up our workshop in an old Richmond neighbourhood called Shockoe Bottom.
You clearly have a passion for denim and clothing with history, how did it all begin?
My father worked in apparel for most of his life with a focus on tailored goods made Italy, so when I was little we moved there.
It was a really small town outside of Milan, I was one of the few kids who wasn’t from there, and the only one who spoke Italian with an accent, so denim, an iconic piece of Americana, became a symbol of home for me and that’s when I think I really fell in love with it.
The Experience of Craftmanship as a Child
What is the concept of Shockoe Atelier?
Almost five years ago, I realized that I wanted to work in the environment I saw growing up. So I asked my father to help me build a factory, where we would lean on his knowledge of old world traditions and craftsmanship and create our take on modern workwear.
What inspires you when crafting a jean?
I find inspiration in many places but it always starts with the raw material.
You Never Forget Your First
Do you remember your first pair of jeans?
The first pair of jeans I remember is a pair of Levi’s Silvertab I picked up on my first West Coast trip, I still have them.
How do you wear and treat in your dry denim jeans – any special routines?
No special routines here, I wear them as hard as I can and wash them when they stink.
Simply Good Advice
What do you recommend your customers to do regarding breaking in their jeans?
Wear them, beat them up.
Do you collect anything (other than denim)?
How many pairs of jeans do you have in your private collection?
Somewhere around 20.
Which pair are you most proud of?
The third pair of jeans we made (and the first one we got somewhat right). The buttons and rivets are off centre, the pocket bags are garbage and the patch is our logo hand drawn on a sample swatch of leather, but I was so excited when I first put those jeans on. I’ll have them forever.
Is there another brand that inspires you?
FEIT, I love the way they blend traditional craftsmanship with a really modern and minimalist design.
Are there any upcoming or unknown brands that you think are worth looking into?
There’s really cool brand, also based in Richmond, that makes awesome workwear for women called Handyma’am Goods.