As humans with a complex existence, we often feel these incredibly impactful yet intangible forces within ourselves that convey odd behaviours and internal turmoil, both for good and bad. Emotions, the invisible manifestation of our inner desires and dislikes, often influence our everyday decisions and our mindset towards different situations. For example, when I step outside the house fitted and come across another individual with a more fire outfit than myself, I’m filled with distraught at the fact that I just got flexed on and thus, will listen to Lana Del Rey songs the rest of the day while writing sad blog posts about clothes. In that same way, creatives tend to rely on emotions in order to bring to life an aspect of themselves that is otherwise unseen by the outside world, whether it be through music, clothing, writing, or however else they choose. In the case of New Jersey-based Sam Wyman, his emotions are what influence his clothing brand, gold. (yes, the lowercase followed by a period is intentional, get over it).
gold., formed back in May of 2015, has had quite the journey despite not having celebrated its first birthday yet. As Sam explains,
my girlfriend at the time, went on her senior trip & i was losing it. i have incredibly strong attachment issues, and her leaving me behind, made my mind go haywire. she tried constantly calming me down, but she was having a terrible time on the trip as well, so we both were just miserable. she brought up the aspect that i’ve always wanted to make my own clothing, and she thought i was such a talented artist, so why not make a brand? so that weekend while she was gone, i dedicated myself to learning photoshop & making mock-up clothing. while designing the name, i thought of everything she was to me – she was just, pure gold. so, in dedication to her, i decided to name the brand – gold. she was my inspiration to everything, so i figured i may as well express my love to her, in the only way i could – through art.
Aw, how cute. Sounds sweet and innocent, right? It sounds like the beginning of a non-tragic Romeo & Juliet if William Shakespeare wasn’t so obsessed with killing off all of his titular characters. gold.sounds like it would go on to create corny clothes that have the phrase “I love you” in cursive and will eventually end up in every Urban Outfitters across North America and Europe. Well, as it turns out, Sam’s story turns more into King Lear, as he continues,
at the beginning of gold. , i was really into streetwear & offensive shit. from birth i’ve been a punk-rock skater kid, so my only true ‘fashion’ brand i enjoyed was supreme, for the longest time. than i discovered FTP, & that was my second-coming. it was everything i enjoyed; dirty punk mentality, offensive shit, just pure chaos. my first release, on 9/11, was entitled season 1, and it was 2 shirts, and a sweatshirt made around being ‘greater than god’, and taking over the fashion scene.. which was the furthest thing from the truth, of myself at the time. i just discovered fashion about a year previous, i didn’t know jack-shit about how the industry worked, i just was an artist making ‘clothes’.
Everyone, step back, we have ourselves a badass over here. Like myself as a person, rebellious and sure to disappoint your parents are the best way to describe Sam’s debut into the realm of fashion. Completely unapologetic, Sam took all his post-puberty emotions and crash-landed in the middle of what was then an awkward moment in fashion when streetwear and high-end fashions were on a collision course in the mainstream scene. Unlike his controversial debut however, Sam didn’t burn in the heat of the moment,
luckily, season 1 sold, extremely well, and i made 4x profits than i expected – but people started asking when my next release would be? i thought it would just be a one time thing, you know? but suddenly everyone started expecting shit out of me, which i didn’t know was possible.. so mackenzie & i decided, why not go back to the drawing board? so i did – i went back to the original white floor, and decided who i was, and what my aim was as a company.. though gold. was meant to be a memorial decided to someone i loved, myself as a human / artist, was an incredibly torn & hurt individual. so i thought, why not make clothes that represent who i am, in that aspect?
Let me guess, you’re probably wondering what the fuck is going on, right? In short, Sam unleashed his inner angry Tumblr nerd and made really angry clothing before he stopped to think, “wait, what the fuck am I doing?” and decided to go on about making clothes in a different way, a way that expressed something previously unknown to most others,
collection i was born, going through previous memories of heartbreak, suffering, depression & suicide; and displaying them in only a way i found to be, love – clothing. when i first started the collection, i started studying, 5+ hours a day on my favorite designers, (Raf, Yohji, Rick), and learning everything about them – because what good is an artist who doesn’t know the trade? slowly i started sewing, and slowly i started designing the clothes, and they came out.. gorgeous. after my birthday, i finally received the samples, and was inlove – only 3 weeks to release date, but; that’s when my world came crashing down. the man who only could do right, wasn’t enough any longer – and i was thrown to the curb to me left alone, in my pain & hatred. collection i, which was to show the beauty in the pain i suffered – became every emotion i could feel.. i was left alone in a cold world, with only these clothes i poured my soul into – so i went back, grieved, and released the collection…
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up, I know what you’re thinking right now, “MAN WTF IS GOING ON? I THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO TALK ABOUT CLOTHES, NOT DEPRESSING TEENAGE SOAP OPERAS.” Hey, be nice guys, I assume Sam prefers to be called a “young adult.” As far as gold.‘s progression goes however, this marked the brand’s rebirth (granted, it was operating as a side hobby for only a few months, but whatever, ya know?), and subsequent growth into what it currently is and leading towards,
slowly but surely, people started noticing.. i would get messages from random people, “hey man, i really connected with (insert piece), thank you for what you do,” and it just, made me so amazed. these emotions, that meant nothing but healing, than turned to real-life, connected with people who were dealing with everything i have felt.. and it made me cry, because i realized that i was making the impact on the world i wanted to – through the only thing i had left to love..
This right here is important, as I’m aware of how fast fashion and struggle Tumblr/Instagram brands have had a hand in diluting the significance of artistic expression and interpretation of clothing. In case you’re wondering exactly how clothing can impact someone’s life in the way that Sam’s customers have mentioned, take a look for yourself at the 3-piece offering gold.‘s collection i brings to the table.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. The clothes are depressing, blah blah, why is it so sad, blah blah. In case you haven’t been paying attention, I clearly mentioned near the beginning of the story how things would go awry soon. Personally, I love everything about this collection. The dark, existential themes are not only prevalent, but so “in-you-face” that it may as well be slapping you across the face with Friedrich Nietzsche‘s notebooks on nihilism. The dark tones of the meanings not-so-subtlety placed throughout the collection are at home on the black fabric sporting hand stitched patches and mild distressing. I actually happen to own the “miserable” t-shirt (because I share a strong connection to it for reasons you can’t possibly guess…/end sarcasm) and can vouch for its quality and price point. Made out of a mid-weight cotton, the shirt does exactly what it’s meant to do… cover your body, duh. Seriously though, I feel like the most fire Tumblr post of all time when I wear it, turning necks wherever I go and subsequently scarring others when they read the text. Don’t get it twisted though, Sam makes these depressing clothes out of love for you and I. For Sam, however, this is only the beginning,
collection ii, i knew i had to finally attack my demons, i couldn’t be on the losing side anymore. a week after the breakup, almost the same day collection i released, i began working on the next project. starting off with a time-table of the year, i poured all my blood & words onto a page – this is who i am, i am broken. collection ii was born from myself finally embracing the darkness inside, and letting it overtake me, and that’s what this collection will finally realize. entitled ‘toxic – the black reaper’, it goes deep into my psyche, opening doors that were meant to stay locked, finding out all the dark innards of my brain. after being blind for so long, i became the one-eyed king in this dark world i live in, and that’s why i remain a king now in my own ideals – because i’m no longer blind & lost.
Well then, and JUST when you thought gold., couldn’t get any darker, Sam literally calls his upcoming collection, “toxic-the black reaper.” So, what should we expect coming from collection ii?
collection i was meant to show this torn up, distressed version of myself, through simple sweaters & tees i made myself – collection ii extends that mindset, while adding technique & style. after deciding to pursue my future, at parson’s in nyc studying fashion design, i realized i had to step my game up. so from a 3 piece collection, grew a 10 piece, filled with all kinds of items you would never imagine to come from a small-town 18 year old boy – but they do, and they will shock & awe. the pain & hatred i’ve felt these past months, truly displays sprawled out in extremely disturbing & rough fabrics, covering the body from the wandering eye – my only goal. gold. is meant to hide someone, in darkness where i’ve only found comfort ; which is why everything is becoming so long & flow-related ; because hiding myself from the world is how i’ve managed to survive this lifetime, and how i will continue to.
Did you catch that? Sam is only 18 years old. I don’t know what’s going on with the younger generation nowadays, most of the youth I come across nowadays are actually ambitious and strive for greatness by chasing their dreams. The fact that individuals like Sam are making themselves vulnerable by expressing themselves through means such as clothing, among other means, is incredible in and of itself. With that, Sam goes on to say,
people always talk about how a specific shirt or design they made is the greatest thing – but i can’t truly say that. all my work i’m proud of, and collection ii i’m simply-prouder of, than collection i, because of the fact that it’s an even sharper representation of myself.. but i think what really changed my mindset & made me realize, “i was meant to make clothing”, was the release of collection i. getting such a harsh taste of reality, losing the only person i ever was able to love – and than a week later releasing a line of clothes that started because of that person, was the hardest mental game i’ve ever played. all i thought, was gold. ; every single time i saw those words it opened wounds on my heart of her.. i even thought of ending the brand after the release, but i couldn’t. i couldn’t let anyone win that wasn’t me – so i pushed through, and realized gold. was meant to stay & this is where i belong.
And with that, our epic tale of agony, sorrow, and even more agony, comes to a halt with a promise to continue bringing physical displays of agony and sorrow. Did you think this had a happy ending somehow? If you take into account that this is indeed what Sam Wyman loves doing, then it could be seen as a happy ending, but remembering that it’s actually the result of tapping into those feelings of depression and remorse makes you wonder if this isn’t some sort of emotional masochism. Thinking about it too much will result in your brain mimicking the warped distortion commonly found on most of gold.‘s promotional ads, and let me tell you, it is not fun.
If Sam’s version of a Series of Unfortunate Events that Actually Kind of Lead to a Surprisingly Somewhat Happy and Inspiring Ending hasn’t made you a fan, then my work is clearly not done here.
Everything from the construction of the garments to their aesthetic is great. something that gold. is proud of. As far as references go, looking at these clothes makes me think of what would happen if Raf Simons went to therapy for chronic hallucinations, with a little bit of Rick Owen’s dark sith lord persona, finished off with some of Junya Watanabe’s crude patchwork. Despite these inspirations that can be seen on the garments, they’re created in such a way that it remains unique, telling the story of a young individual with a conflicted mind.
Remember to keep up to date on gold. through the following links for more psychologically thrilling clothing:
Stay golden y’all… golden… heh, heh.
Archival post, originally posted on my old blog. This was a favourite of mines however, so I had to bring it over.