Fashion design, and often design at large, is an industry which lauds the singular creative genius. The creative director whose endless flow of fresh ideas seems to be drawn from a never ending well. While the role of a leader within a team should not be understated, the reality is that it takes a village of talented people from a variety of backgrounds to nurture a brand. Great leaders recognize this, and A.Potts designer Aaron Potts is an exceptional example. Since the founding of A.Potts in late 2018, Potts has emphasized the importance of collaboration when creating his collections. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to chat via video conference about his career and his latest Fall/Winter ‘22 collection.
Chatting with A.Potts About the Approach to His F/W '22 Collection
Aaron Potts’ career began when he moved to New York to attend the Parsons School of Design. Born and raised in Detroit, he described the experience of moving as “a bit of a culture shock”, often staying within the radius of the school in the early days. Not one to be deterred, however, Potts’ hunger drove him to do everything in his power to make himself heard, eventually landing a job with Coffman Franco right out of school.
What follows is a storied career as a fashion designer, working for brands from Victoria’s Secret to Escada. Potts’ journey saw him move internationally to Germany, and ultimately California to work for St. John. In a turn of events that he describes as “a blessing in disguise”, Potts was laid off from his position at St. John and found himself back in New York.
Throughout his career, Potts had often made his own clothing, which eventually garnered the attention of others. This prompted him to finally launch his own label, with the first sports collection arriving at the end of 2018. In February of 2020, just before quarantine, A.Potts debuted a collection that rooted the brand and helped to cement its identity.
Inclusivity has always been at the core of Potts’ ethos, and the designer sees A.Potts as “a vehicle to feed everybody’s creative spirit”. Potts often felt restricted and unable to express himself at previous jobs for others, resulting in a desire to shake off the antiquated norms of the fashion industry. Age, gender, and size are often to create an environment where each person involved is heard and valued. The brand places emphasis on form and structure, leading to shapes that work on both men and women.
The attitudes expressed by the brand's mission extends all the way down to the choice of models for A.Potts collections, who are cast to show the "what the world looks like on the runway". Often times, they are close friends of Potts, even contributing creatively to the garments. For example, the beaded pins that adorn the clothing in looks 13 and 17 were made by one of the models, who is also a fashion student. To the designer, everyone's creative input is of equal value, and he always wants those involved with the brand to "feel like they're contributing more than just their body."
With the creation of the collection revolving around celebrating the human spirit, it stands to reason that the pieces would reflect that. Models are draped in a wide array of warm colors representing the diversity of humankind, morphing from the lightest pinks to vivid oranges and ultimately stark browns and blacks. Potts describes the collection's palette as nude, pushing back against the traditional whitewashed definition of the human tone. The silhouettes are avantgarde breaths of fresh air, but still maintain an element of accessibility that allows each look to be approachable. Familiar materials like sports mesh and windbreaker fabric are used unconventionally as skirts and billowing sleeves.
Most impressively, the collection allows each and every model's personality to break through individually, amplifying the strength of the clothing rather than overpowering it. This is a true testament to Potts' ability as a designer, creating a whole that is much greater than the sum of its parts.