London Lives Series: Reilly, The Freshest T-Shirts

Jason Campbell

Despite the ever more crowded and impenetrable marketplace, Reilly, a premium artisan t-shirt and sweatshirt collection, knows how to set itself apart. Produced by London design collective Guardians of The Standard—comprised of anonymous designers, graphic artists, musicians and artists—this new line capitalizes on an existing fan base and built in brand cachet.

Amidst the muddy palettes and vintage aesthetic of the heritage and workwear collections dominating Capsule Tradeshow in Las Vegas last week, Reilly stood out as a trend defying—make that trendsetting—entry. We first took notice of the totem prints that decorated a few of the t-shirts, but a closer look showed that the line’s grand inspiration actually drew from an array of tribal beats in the air.

Paul Young—who, along with graphic artist-turned-eponymous designer Reilly, is one of Guardians of The Standard’s only public members—explained that they were inspired by the “indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of America.” Other tribal influences turned up in vivid graphics drawn from the colorful beading of Africa’s Ndebele tribes, while images of skulls—which normally evoke tired, long-past-expired yawns—jumped out in vibrant harlequin prints and references to Mexico’s Day of the Dead. And, of course, the “I Love Girls” sloganeering tee put a playful spin on the iconic “I Love New York” logo.

Every shirt has a high definition and three-dimensional quality rooted in Reilly’s signature illustrative style. And to play into the mystery appeal of its origin, GOTS is embossed on the bottom side of each t-shirt. Given that quality products don’t go unnoticed for very long in London, it’s no surprise that the label has already been snapped up by top stores. Look out for Reilly at Dover Street Market, which commissioned the line’s six graphics For Love Or Money first collection, as well as Opening Ceremony Japan and Storm Copenhagen. As we can see, London’s influence clearly extends beyond the runway.

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