With over a decade of industry experience, Pel Peltier is no stranger to the apparel business. He has played a pivotal design role with brands such as Ecko Unlimited and Azzure, and his experience has helped him with his own project: Godwin. Peltier along with partners Antwain Freeman and Andre Hayes launched Godwin to fill what they felt was an underserved market niche — namely customers who want consistent quality garments at a reasonable price point.
While its designs are certainly eye-catching, whatâ€™s perhaps most refreshing about Godwin is its sense of humor. This tongue-in-cheek attitude is evident through its garments which display sewn tags proclaiming â€œThanx and enjoy the fruits of our laborâ€ alongside the brandsâ€™ official philosophy of â€œGood health and good denim.â€ Itâ€™s good to see that in the oft-serious, patricidal world of streetwear thereâ€™s still room for a laugh every now and then.
â€œMany of the collector trends that spawned in Japan have found there way to North America and vice versa.â€
Format: It seems like everyone is starting their own line these days. Why Godwin? Why now?
Godwin: Yes, it may seem that everyone is starting a line these days but in all actuality, many of these brands have been around for sometime and have come from industry veterans. Brands such as 10 Deep, Staple Design and even LRG have just recently gained the spotlight due to the change in the fashion climate amongst youth culture. Our brand doesn’t have the tenure as most of them do but we have been in the business for quite some time. We saw a niche in the market that was missing as far as consistent quality garments at a decent price point. Now is just as good a time as ever!
Format: Having traveled the world extensively how is the North American consumer different than consumers in other countries?
Godwin: I think the Internet has made the world dramatically smaller and we are seeing many consumer similarities across the continents. Many of the collector trends that spawned in Japan have found there way to North America and vice versa.
Format: Godwin’s philosophy is “Good Health and Good Denim”. The Good health part is obvious but why the emphasis on denim?
Godwin: I pride the brand on attention to detail through healthy design. Denim is just a garment that I feel is the most versatile based on a combination of things like cut, details, and laundering. Denim is just my thing!
Format: Godwin seems to have a tongue in cheek attitude apparent through the detailing on the collection. Can you elaborate on this?
Godwin: Consumers like to be entertained and not taught so I like to drop some healthy humor around topics that surround us every now and then. It’s like Posdnous (from De La Soul) when he says “so when I ran a phrase in June, you didn’t catch it ’til December.”
Format: Speak about your relationship with Marc Ecko. Do you still keep in touch?
Godwin: I worked as Marc’s first menswear designer. We worked pretty much hand-in-hand at the time and it was a great work experience! At that time, there was so much talent in the South River, NJ building. It reminded me of a college where you could literally learn anything from pattern-making to screen print separations. Ecko was known for hiring the best per division. Unfortunately we don’t keep in touch but I have spoken to his twin sister Marci on occasion.
Format: You’ve been in the business for over 10 years, how has it changed over the years?
Godwin: I think designers are now a bit more business savvy due to the fact that they’ve worked for clothing companies in the past that focused on youth culture. This has led them to analyze the market and form a more analytical vantage point instead of just from a creative standpoint. Designs are relative and change like the wind but the ability to forecast proficiently is the nuance of this age.
Format: Do you find yourself more inspired by fashion or things external to the fashion world?
Godwin: I have always been an avid fan of designers up and down the ladder. Yet I still believe that we have to find beauty in nature and things that are readily available to us as simple as it may seem. For example, I loved the fact that Donna Karan deconstructs New York as her theme.
Format: The upcoming season is based around very American themes ranging from nature to capitalism. What was the reasoning behind this decision?
Godwin: Spring ’08 is actually our third season. I feel like “Capitalism” has turned into a nasty word and thought it would be fun to deconstruct it and commercialism at the same time by using everyday images.
Format: It seems like many street-oriented brands tend to focus towards a youth demographic. That being said, can you foresee this generation of consumers continuing to wear street wear into there 30s and beyond?
Godwin: As did many other brands and trends, I believe streetwear will and is already maturing. The core of these brands will be the same but the way they manipulate their message will expand with the times and their consumer demographic. No brand has stood still against the test of time and won.
Format: How do you intend on creating a brand image that consumers will actively want to associate with?
Godwin: Our goal is to continue building our relationship with the end consumer by touching on their personal interests. We’ve done our first print ad (Antenna – Winter 2007 Issue) and get support from blogs. We also recently launched our website: http://www.godwingenes.com.