Meet Tarpley Brooks Jones of Samsara Collections
While Los Angeles is certainly home base for a substantial amount of creative, stylish and fashion-forward individuals, we've always been slighted when it comes to proper recognition for our contributions to the fashion industry as a whole. Many major media outlets fail to acknowledge just how much of apparel manufacturing and design are produced right here in the City of Angels. Does Tadashi Shoji, BCBG Max Azria, Rodarte and Elizabeth & James ring a bell? Well, they are all based in Los Angeles. It's about time we put the spotlight on this fashionable metropolis that continually attracts the likes of Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, Tom Ford and Burberry and provides a bottomless fountain of inspiration for all budding and established designers worldwide.
sam·sa·ra /səmˈsärə/ noun
the cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound.
IN THIS STYLETELLER INTERVIEW, WE'RE HIGHLIGHTING A CUTTING-EDGE, MULTI-HYPHENATE MUSIC ARTIST AND DESIGNER -- TARPLEY BROOKS JONES. BROOKS, WHOSE WORK SPANS FROM PRODUCING DJ MIXES TO FOUNDING, DESIGNING AND CREATIVELY-DIRECTING SAMSARA COLLECTIONS. THE ECO-FRIENDLY, AVANT-GARDE BRAND IS COMMITTED TO CREATING ONE OF A KIND PIECES OUT OF HEMP, WHICH GREATLY REDUCES ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT. LET'S GET TO KNOW THE MAN BEHIND THE BRAND A LITTLE BIT BETTER.
Samsara. It's a beautiful name, but what does it mean?
Samsara is the never ending, never beginning cycle of life and death. Ideas of reincarnation and karma can be associated with this. Samsara means different things to different religions, but for me, I see it through a Buddhist lens. The goal of Buddhism is to try and break out of the cycle and achieve the higher state of nothingness, to break free of the human reincarnation and karmic energy. So the clothing is a reflection of this cycle on earth and was made in attempt to open peoples’ eyes and break out of it.
What are some hardships -- in the past and present -- that has impacted the development of the brand?
I would say the hardship is certainly just putting in the effort and making the sacrifices you need to make to better your work. It takes a lot to make fashion your business, especially from a design standpoint, so remaining patient, staying committed, and then executing are easily the hardest yet most important parts.
What's your take on the street meets sportswear aesthetic?
Street and Sport are my every day. For me personally clothes wise, that means athletic constructions displayed in forward thinking ways and designs that invoke high end streetwear aesthetics and topics. But honestly the two a very blurred. I think its just a personal thing as to what it means to anybody. Both worlds have just blended so well into each other.
We understand that high ethical standards and environmental responsibility has been part of the Samsara story since the beginning. Even corporate clothing brands, like H&M, are adopting similar policies. How difficult is it, financially and production-wise, to maintain such standards?
It is very difficult to maintain that social responsibility whether ethically or environmentally if you have already been doing things the opposite way. Luckily for me I am small enough to transistion quicker and not sacrifice profits. Hardships exist for sure financially because if you are ethically responsible you will be giving more back in terms of every area, and that alot of the time means financially, but for me the profit is just 1 of my many goals as a company so I fully accept it and I am ok with it if it means a better world around me.
Samsara will make its debut during LAFW this season. Why do you think LA is not taken seriously as a fashion platform, despite it being such a fashion-forward, stylish city?
I think LA used to not be taken seriously but that is quickly changing. At least in the youth, maybe the higher, old guard deems LA as still lacking but I can promise you LA is only growing in fashion savviness, opportunities, and taking it more seriously as far as creating a legit thriving local industry. It only makes sense for it to become a legit power; celebrities/famous models drive fashion and they almost all live in LA, and fashion shows are only getting bigger and more creative and what better place to do them than in the entertainment capital of the world. In 5 years LA will no longer be looked at as a little brother/sister.
What are your thoughts on fashion weeks in general?
I actually love fashion weeks. I think at times they can get to uptight and serious, but I love having a dedicated time for all things fashion and the buzz it creates. Going to shows, going to parties, seeing art, it is fun if taken in the right way.
Unisex and agendered clothing has taken the runways by storm and is now trickling down to celebrity red carpets. How has Samsara been a pioneer in this particular genre of clothing?
Separating people by sex for clothing just does not make much sense for me and it never has. Sure I might sell crop tops to 95% women, but that does not mean it is only for women, and that is why I do not advertise this split of sex in the clothes. Anybody can wear anything as long as it looks good and they feel good as far as Im concerned.
Who would be the dream collaborator for Samsara?
I think actually instead of me collaborating with someone I would like to maybe become a creative director of a Y3 (post Yohji), Nike, or something like that where I can work with something different. That is the dream collab.
If Samsara didn't exist, what would you be doing now?
Meditating. No seriously just living, and breathing. This is all I want to do. If not this, then just living.
Someone you find inspiring walks into the Samsara studio. Who would it be?
Living wise: Yohji, Rick Owens, Jeremy Scott, Kanye West, Demna Gvasalia
Samsara Collection will be making its Los Angeles Fashion Week (LAFW) debut this coming Monday, September 26th. Please stay tune and livestream the show here.