Lots of evenings in the world’s dance clubs end in bad decisions, but how many times do they generate a truly inspired one? In the case of Joe Haller and Ian Hannula, a fortuitous meeting on the dance floor spawned a forward-thinking collaboration.
Back in 1995, Haller and Hannula weren’t messing around with fabrics, they were spinning records as two of San Francisco’s resident DJ’s. With not an ounce of formal training between them, they original conceived NICE Collective as an ambitious (perhaps a tad overly, looking back) amalgam of fashion line, record label, and—of course—club night. Thankfully the clothing is what shook out, and they began to play with deconstructed military looks with the type of trim cuts favored by rock bands, not ravers.
Over fifteen years later, NICE Collective is still an independent, privately financed line, taking cues from both the worlds of music and our nation’s fighting forces. The duo creates canvas and cashmere staples (think field coats and sweaters), worn-in leather jackets, and archival pieces whose minimal forms and utilitarian roots caught the eye of GQ, who named NICE Collective as one of their “Best New Designers in America” for 2007.
Last year, when British explorer David de Rothschild decided to sail from SF to Australia—he tapped NICE Collective as his outfitters. They came back to him, true to form, with sweaters, pillows, and other crew essentials made from re-purposed military tents and blankets. If it sounds like something you need to see for yourself—and you should—NICE Collective has obliged with their MSU (Mobile Supply Unit) pop-ups. Earlier this year they erected the first on Market Street, with army-grade portable flooring, surgical field lights, and Mylar mirrors, the perfect environment for a line who willfully chooses to fly under the fashion radar.