Most stories that begin with a group of friends working on projects together don’t end with the creation of a multifaceted media, design, and fashion house that spans three continents. But that’s how Surface to Air got its start in the late 1990s in an apartment near NYU—just a few likeminded folks doing what they liked to do.
In 2000, the gang decided to make things official. They set up shop—well, shop/gallery—across the pond in Paris, at a space near the Louvre. Along with artists and musicians like Banksy, ARE Weapons, and Dash Snow, the crew started on a series of exhibitions and publications that eventually morphed into Surface to Air Studio, a renowned creative agency with a swath of influential media campaigns, music videos, and films under its belt.
But S2A wasn’t content to rest on its laurels. Defying the conventional “one business, one product” approach to things, they branched out into clothing. The collection started with a range of smart staples built around a distinctly Parisian—but eminently exportable—version of cool. Think slim, dark denim paired as readily with (tasteful) graphic tees as it is with a crisp white dress shirt, and topped off with a not-unsubstantial helping of jewelry and a buttery-soft black leather jacket. Call it basics for the downtown set. Over the years, the line has gradually evolved to full collection of menswear, womenswear, and accessories complete with coveted signature pieces—buckle wedges for the ladies, the aforementioned black leather jackets for the gents, and badass pendant necklaces for both.
Always up for a creative collaboration, they’ve teamed with arbiters of cool like Justice and Kings of Leon to produce a series of capsule collections that have developed something of a cult following over the years. And recently, the collection expanded from the NY- and Paris-based core line to include Surface to Air Brasil, an offshoot with a separate set of wares influenced by its own surroundings.
Not too shabby for a gang of artists and mischief-makers that got their start in a beat up old loft.