Inside Wesley Wheeler's Esuri Los Angeles
We at Fashion Moves Forward are always searching for up and coming designers that obtain raw talent with the ability to create an amazing product. So naturally, we stumbled upon LA's own Wesley Wheeler. Starting out by helping develop popular wallet chains for Worn on LA, Wheeler is now the head of his own fully fledged cut and sew brand entitled Esuri. We recently had the pleasure of sitting down and interviewing Wesley about his first season "Velvet Moon," and the process of developing his vision into a brand. With multiple celebrities co-signs from the likes of G-Eazy & KYLE, it seems that Esuri is on the brink of becoming a store staple at multiple high-end boutiques. We love what this first collection has brought us thus far, especially the tees, the velvet trucker, and of course the pinstripe cargo pants. Be sure to check out the full collection and Wesley's interview below.
So First off for the people that might not know you, give them the quick run down of Wesley Wheeler.
"I'm a Los Angeles native; I feel like there's not many of us who stand out among the transplants, so I think that's a key piece of information to share for some reason. I dropped out of High School in 2011 and never looked back. I have a small background in garment production, working behind the scenes on quite a few contemporary brands that most everyone who is interested in fashion should know. That's where I really learned everything I know about designing as well as producing my ideas. After parting ways with the production company I was with, I started work on my first collection under my own brand, Esuri."
How do you describe your personal style?
"Oh man, I feel like my style can be all too eclectic at times while keeping an overall image of a clean look. I usually like to tie in a mixture of new pieces from my favorite designers alongside my collection of curated vintage that I source from around the world, and of course always a piece from my collection. Some days I wake up completely sick of what I wore the previous day. I guess you could say I'm inconsistent, but I like to look at it as always progressing without limiting myself. I get bored easily, I couldn't clearly define myself nor my style at this point in my life."
So your brand Esuri is dropping its first collection very soon entitled "Velvet Moon." Tell us a little bit about the brand and your collection.
"The brand itself was born from a restlessness to create. I never had the tools, but I always wanted to put out a project that was an extension of myself. The tools were sprung on me when I least expected an opportunity. Someone literally approached me asking, "do you want to learn clothing production?", so, of course, I said yes. I got pretty sick of working on other peoples ideas, even though the money was great. The collection title comes from a line in my favorite Jimi Hendrix song, where he talks about his loneliness and how there's nothing left to meet him but the "velvet moon". I was listening to that song while coming up with the concepts for the original pieces in the collection. For me, there was nothing left to do except for branch out on my own and face the challenges that come with starting a new creative venture."
Whats your creative process with the brand when coming up with ideas?
"The pieces in "Velvet Moon" were pretty much created with just me in mind, stuff that I wanted to wear, little ideas I gathered here and there while traveling or listening to music mostly. Some of the pieces were created from ideas I had jotted down in my iPhone notes dating back to 2015. With this collection, I didn't take a traditional approach of sitting down and designing individual looks. I basically created the pieces as I went along and experienced new things; my original samples look nothing like the final product. That proved to be an interesting task and all around learning experience. I plan on having my future collections reference key points in my life and specific interests that I have."
Did you have any inspiration from someone/something for the collection?
"Mostly just my experiences and self-awareness. I like to travel and I'm very involved in music; playing music was my first real creative passion. I touched on the self-awareness bit with the "Indigo Child" pieces. An Indigo Child is someone who is headstrong and entitled, someone who knows their place in life, someone who is very creative and goes against all authority. With this collection, I invited anyone who is interested in my creations to see the world through my eyes. I also tied some rock and roll and grunge elements into the collection. The burgundy velvet jacket references this crazy velvet coat that Jimi Hendrix wore the same color. The flannel cardigans reference the 90's grunge scene, mixing together the popularity of oversized flannel shirts with a cardigan body style. High quality and small details were also a key point for this collection. I wanted to come out of the gate strong, with a designer quality collection that I can take pride in for the rest of my life. Even the more simple pieces, like the hoodies and t-shirts, have all of the elements that go into designer garments, along with little details that often go overlooked. Such as the rivets on the kangaroo pocket of the souvenir track hoodie, and the small distressing details on the flannel cardigans. As for people who inspired parts of the collection, I'd like to shout out Gabe Salazar, Tony Su, and Maisey Campuzano. Gabe is the other half of Esuri and he supplied all of the necessary business tools to really get this project off the ground exactly as I wanted to. Tony played a major role in the overall brand image and graphics aspect for this collection. Maisey is the only one who has been there through the entire process with me. She played a big role in every aspect of the brand, from ideas and inspiration, to the final fit and construction of nearly every piece. She’s the only one who I share my raw creativity with and the only one who truly understands my crazy mind. Watch her name and her upcoming projects under her label, DALMATA. Esuri wouldn't exist without them, so they're all key people in the development of the brand.”
So for every new designer, you always hit some trouble paths when creating. What was the hardest obstacle to conquer while designing Velvet Moon?
"Even with a background in production, I had some trouble being able to create the garments that I wanted to exactly as I envisioned them. I managed the entire project by myself using my knowledge and connections. I had to focus on design, sourcing the fabrics and having some of them custom made for me at the mill, working with factories to create various custom trims, and finally managing the sewing on all of the pieces. It took some time, but I learned a lot and I'll definitely be able to stream line the process a bit more easily for the next collection."
Whats your favorite piece from the collection?
"I'd have to either choose the velvet trucker jackets, or the souvenir style track suit pieces. Those pieces had a clear inspiration and were created with me and my interests in mind. I love a jacket with great details a nice flair, and being able to tie that into one of my biggest musical inspirations created a perfect jacket for me. The souvenir track suit pieces were something I'd never seen done like that before. I was surprised to see that I couldn't find a hoodie or track pants with Japanese SukaJan jacket details on them. Hence the use of a satin stripe alongside piping on the sides."
What do you want people to take away from your work/first collection?
"This collection was a direct extension of me. See the world through my eyes when you look at my designs. Be ready for more, this is only the beginning."
So what is next for Esuri and Wesley Wheeler?
"More clothes, more creativity. With my garments, you can see the world through my eyes. With my next creative venture, I want you to be able to hear the world through my ears."