Beyond the numerous descriptors one might give to Mr. Andrew Joseph, perhaps the best of the lot is “considered”.
After spending several days with someone on their own turf (we spent three with Mr. Joseph and his wife, Janice, in and around their home in Nolita), you get a sense for what makes them tick. And Andrew is a man of consideration. He spent the better half of a five-hour drive asking us questions such as, “what offends you?” and “what is the most scared you’ve ever been?” He’s a man of infinite curiosity, which is perhaps what makes him so passionate about people and so successful as a designer. And it’s probably what makes it so hard for him to balance the two.
“People always say, ‘Choose one thing and do it really well’,” says Andrew. “But what if you’re convicted to do two things? Well shit, what are you going to do?” He pauses for a moment. “I’m going to figure out how to do both. It’s just going to be what it is.”
Be it gift or curse, Andrew is a man of fragmented vocation. Alongside his passion for design and apparel (one in which he has found marked success), a generous portion of his time has gone into a sometimes parallel but more often peripheral career in healthcare. From conducting research for an orthopedic children’s hospital in Africa to several years of studies in biology and psychology, Andrew’s story reads like that of two men with but one body. And while we don’t know what the future holds for either, it’s clear that his design career — witnessed most notably through the brand Prospekt Supply — has earned a clean bill of health.
And we’re thankful for that. The renaissance of all things athleisure has given rise to a multitude of brands adept at combining fits, fabrics, and aesthetics in ways unseen only several years ago. And with a “no rules” playing field come avant-garde designers of all stripes. But with that come brands that often forsake comfort and quality for creativity. Mr. Joseph’s brainchild, Prospekt Supply, is heavy on all three.
“I didn’t really set out to create a luxury product. I really just had a vision for some products that I would want to wear. That my friends would want to wear. But I couldn’t bring myself to make any compromises on the fabrics. I always wanted to choose the absolute best quality and most beautiful materials every step of the way.”
The result is a collection of products that promote the best of what street and loungewear can be. Amidst the unique cuts and unlikely fabrics that define the genre, there is something grounded about Mr. Joseph’s designs. While unexpected and luxurious, the products feel instantly accessible. While every item photographs smart and at times technical, they’re wonderfully soft in hand and even more so when worn. Andrew’s design sensibility orbits around wearability. For his collection, beauty is not pain, it’s comfort. That and Italian lambskin leather.
What began with a pullover anorak back in 2012 (lauded by GQ as “the Mercedes-Benz of packable windbreakers”) has grown just three years later into a collection of elevated pieces, constructed with unique weaves of luxurious materials. The most recent collection, one that champions little to no visible hardware, does so alongside micro-check cotton blends backed with microfiber, multi-colored flecks on heavy cotton, and raw denim with canvas.
Andrew has always held an interest in the materials that make our clothes. “I would go to Value Village and I would be able to tell you where the jeans come from based on the grain of the denim when I was 12 years old. I could feel it and I would know.”
Whether it was his frequent thrift store visits or genes passed down from his grandfather (a tailor in Egypt), Andrew has a natural inclination toward texture and shape. He purchased a sewing machine as a teenager and taught himself how to use it. Whether he was tailoring his clothes when they didn’t fit quite right or adding patches to his denim, experimenting with fabric was at the center of his sartorial endeavors.
After several collections, each more unique than the last, Andrew’s commitment to functional and beautiful details are the common thread. Take the zipper on the brand’s signature anorak, for example. “There are so many things that go into what makes an exceptional zipper,” explains Andrew. “Not only is it the durability and appearance, but if the zipper is exposed, it’s going to hit your neck. How does it feel when it hits your neck? Is it soft? Does it scratch you every time? How does it respond to weather?” Andrew’s answer is a Swiss made zipper and lambskin zipper garage. Sexy, functional, and soft to the touch, they’re small but meaningful details that make the jacket at once more beautiful and wearable.
From his obsession with textiles to the drape of a neck opening, Andrew is a man intent on doing things right. “In everything we do, we’re trying to communicate something,” says Andrew. “With your voice, you’re trying to communicate something. Every intonation in your voice is chosen to express what’s in your heart, or in your mind, or what you’re trying to convey. Or it’s detail in the speed at which I say something. Or in my body language.”
“I think with clothing, it’s the same thing,” he continues. “Everybody should have something they’re trying to say, because nothing should be made for the sake of just making something. And detail helps you communicate that. Every little facet of what you’re doing is contributing to the narrative.”
It’s evident that Mr. Joseph has thought about this extensively, as he tells Prospekt Supply’s narrative through much more than its clothing. From co-writing the music behind the videos on the brand’s homepage to restrictive retail partnerships (currently he sells exclusively through Opening Ceremony in SoHo), every aspect of Prospekt Supply is crafted with intention. Each sealed with a signature that is uniquely his own.
What began as a simple interview for a cool brand revealed itself as a story about a man that exemplifies the theme of our issue in every way. A man of detail. Of consideration. Of nuance. One who offers his craft the respect it deserves, and garners our admiration (and that of his industry) in return.
Learn more at prospektsupply.com.