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Who is Heron Preston?

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Heron Preston has been known to certain circles of fashion for quite some time, and has a complex relationship with the industry. From humble beginnings, to working with some of fashion's largest names, Preston's rise is a story which only adds to the image of his brand.


Heron in front of his DSNY (New York Department of Sanitation) collection

When one starts to talk about branding, they often times jump to classification. "High fashion", "streetwear", "techwear", and so on - the tiers of the fashion system. Preston is an interesting character in the sense that his work never seems to consider these classifications, and instead jumps freely between them, blurring their boundaries. Take for instance, his history of collaboration. Whereas many designers opt to collaborate within fashion (Even if different "tiers" of it), Preson's most famous collaborations occur outside of the world of fashion. Most notably, his collection done in collaboration with the New York Department of Sanitation, in which he riffed on the iconography and uniforms of the New York City staple. Preston's tendency to blur brand boundaries is in some senses, how he got his start. In 2013 Heron launched a line of shirts with VFILES, which were inspired by the over-the-top branding often found on NASCAR vehicles - he used the logos of NASCAR, Coca-Cola, Snickers, MAC, and a dozen others to create a line of shirts which were akin to walking billboards, however, all brands that one would never associate with "high-fashion". So too was the inspiration of NASCAR, a sport most popular in middle America, far from the coastal capitals of American fashion. Preston explained his admiration for the more proletarian aspects of fashion in the following answer given to Highsnobiety:

I think just the idea of labor, blood, sweat, tears that just go into hard work. I identify with that in the work that I do as well. I’m just obsessed with work. That’s kind of how I got in touch with workwear and things are also made to last. The durability and the functionality of it and that’s what streetwear is to me. [...] When I walk around New York, there’s a shit load of construction everywhere, and I see Timberlands, I see canvas pants, and hoodies and everything and it’s dirty. I like shit that’s dirty. I’ve always believed that things look better when they’re a little beat up. That is streetwear to me and that’s what I like. I really love work wear.

 

Preston is no stranger to putting effort into his work. Though he has been involved in various projects over the past half-decade, it is only very recently that he's seen his own runways, and his own brand take off. However, a brush with mainstream success did come earlier, as he was one of the three men behind Been Trill, alongside Virgil Abloh (Now of Off-White fame) and Matthew Williams (Of Alyx). Been Trill was, for a short while, one of the brands to follow. With a then-revolutionary guerilla store campaign, as well as all the right people working together, Been Trill still provides a great amount of inspiration for Preston, and the unreleased designs he created while working at Been Trill outnumber released product. However, even in spite of the famous Canal Street location making waves in fashion, Been Trill was shuttered after moving to become largely a collaboration with Pacsun. 

Heron's 2018/2019 collaboration with NASA

It's with this in mind that we consider Preston's current output, and where he will likely head in future. His pool of inspiration is rich, and his ability to collaborate seamlessly with brands who exist far outside of fashion. Evidence of this abounds in his most recently revealed collection, done in part with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United State's space agency. He said the following, somewhat prophetically, in an interview with SSENSE:

I really want to work with NASA. There’s no bigger dream in the world than going to space for me. Just the same way I looked at the Department of Sanitation and their uniforms like, “I could wear that stuff,” I look at astronauts, and they have a uniform, as well—it just happens to be a space suit. 

It is with this in mind that we see where Preston's designs come from - the mundane; those areas otherwise untouched by fashion of his ilk. Preston's style blends these original points of references with Italian craftsmanship and his unique weltanschauung on design.

Shop Common's selection of Heron's work here.

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