Bruno Levy started his first fashion label by leveraging his skills as a tattoo artist.
Levy, who also works as a multidisciplinary artist and tattoos out of Brooklyn’s Bandit Studio, is releasing his first fashion label, called Cigarettes by Bruno Levy, on Tuesday. The brand marks Levy’s first solo venture in the fashion world after working with brands like Hermès, Adidas, Cole Haan, and others on previous projects.
“I’ve been wanting to expand into different mediums,” Levy said about launching the line. “I’ve had a few different careers spanning the course of my lifetime. In some ways, it feels like [Cigarettes] is a way for me to incorporate a lot of things I was interested in.”
Cigarettes sell cardigans and T-shirts as well as dress shirts, T-shirts, and trousers. They also offer accessories in a grungy and graphic style. Levy explained the cardigans, which come in a wide range of colors, are the brand’s hero product.
He was inspired by his Japanese experiences and scoured Japanese bomber jackets for inspiration. He saw similarities between his work as a tattoo artist and the patchwork detailing on the bomber jackets and wanted to incorporate that into his brand’s cardigans.
“There are a lot of tattoo motifs and placements in the way they were embroidered,” he explained. “I’m predominantly a tattoo artist. My life has been eight years focused on tattooing. [the jackets] as almost an extension of my tattooing where the placement, the scale, and the way they read on the clothing were very similar to the way a tattoo would read on the body.”
A look from Cigarettes by Bruno Levy.
Levy also felt it important to create a non-gender-specific apparel line in order to provide options to a larger customer base.
“A lot of the collection, I was trying to make something that anyone would want to wear,” he said. “It wouldn’t be confined to menswear or womenswear because I think for me as a men’s consumer, it’s either everything is really expressive or toned down and it’s hard for me to find something that’s in the middle where I can express myself, but it’s not completely neutral.”
Levy will produce the line according to a made-to-order basis in an effort to reduce waste and decrease overstock. The line’s T-shirts have already been produced in small quantities. The brand’s website has a range of styles, ranging from $60 for a candle with a skull theme to $540 for dress shirts.
The tattoo artist said he’s currently working on his next collection, which he hopes to release in June. As he’s committed to minimizing waste, Levy hopes to work more with vintage and deadstock materials for upcoming collections.
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