For some reason, the holiday season this year was anything but relaxing. But now that we’re back into the swing of things—which really means endless hours in front of the computer screen at work—we can finally take a second to reflect on 2015. This also means taking a look at some of the winter and holiday collections that were recently released. Over December, I sat down with the Japanese-inspired street wear brand, NTRL RBLS, to discuss the brand’s line including their recently released holiday 2015 collection. The collection entitled ‘Arctic Warefare’ was meant to confront the internal and external conflicts that we as humans face, by using samurai-like silhouettes to model cardigans, hoodies, joggers, shirts, and more. Furthermore, NTRL RBLS has joined forces with the pin pros, Pin Trill, to pay homage to the Japanese culture with limited edition sensei pins. To gain more insight on NTRL RBLS, I sat down with founder and entrepreneur Alex Cotraviwat. And if you’re in the Los Angeles area, check out the flagship store located at 7568 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90046.
When and how was the idea of NTRL RBLS born?
After the acquisition of my first clothing brand, Kallusive, I wanted to create a line with a little more grown-up aesthetic. I was much younger when Kallusive started, so obviously my fashion choices have changed with time, and I wanted to create a more evolved brand; something that you can proudly wear, regardless of age.
What does the term ‘rebel’ mean to you?
To me, the word “rebel” means one who is not afraid to be themselves regardless of what society or the world thinks about them. One who challenges what is considered “normal” or “acceptable” if he or she feels that is not the right way. Adding “natural” in front of “rebel” is to convey that everyone is born with it, everyone possesses the power to be a rebel inside.
Your latest collection (Holiday 2015) is entitled ‘Arctic Warfare’. What inspired this collection?
Arctic Warfare was inspired by the desire to create fashionable winter pieces that might not fit in any specific traditional category. Hence the term ‘warfare’ is really about going to war with traditional pieces normally created for a winter seasonal offering.
Ok, lets get to know you—tell us a bit about your background?
I was born and raised in Southern California. I always had a love for clothes and fashion, but I got into the business as a complete beginner with no formal fashion education. I learned everything as we were doing it—trial and error—and by following my gut instincts!
Who are your greatest influencers?
My mom, Mark Cuban, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan.
How have your early inspirations played a part in the work you do now?
It’s not really specific to fashion or business, but I would have to say I’ve always wanted to be the best at whatever I was doing. That competitive fire has served me very well in all aspects of business, sports, and really just life in general.
If you do keep tabs on today’s world issues, what are your views?
I follow most of the major stories, but I don’t normally get too deep into it. In general, I think all of us on this planet can do a better job of really thinking about how our actions and words affect others. This goes for individual people, groups, countries, and religions as well. I think a lot of people’s time, effort, and emotions are wasted on a lot of negativity that is unnecessary.
What can we expect next from NTRL RBLS?
Well 2015 saw the launch of our brand to the public as well as the opening of our flagship store on Melrose. Two-thousand and sixteen has been fully mapped out and you can expect to see the progression of the brand further into new pieces, silhouettes, fabrics, and colors. You will not be disappointed!