February 7, 2015
Continuing on from the sports spruced-up tendency I attempted to define, or at least draw attention to, a few months back, this is NUMBER: Lab; a label, for those of you unfamiliar, that at its core seeks to mesh a technical, sportswear influence with a tailored, formalwear-informed aesthetic. It’s triple-lined garments, reversible jackets and totes that double as backpacks that are created with equal attention to the matters of form and function. Five years since the brand’s birth, designer Luis Fernandez and business partner Greg Lawrence continue to deliver.

Male-Mode: What is NUMBER:Lab? 

Luis Fernandez: NUMBER:Lab is an American, men’s advanced-sportswear brand, for the man who is tech-savvy, athletically-minded and constantly on the go. We call it TECH+TAILORED, a collection geared towards keeping relevant in today’s modern world. Just like great architecture can impact the life of its inhabitants, we think that fashion too, should empower and enhance the performance of the wearer while still looking tailored and polished.

afc84 numberlabcomplete1

^ NUMBER: Lab Fall Winter 2012

Who does the team consist of? 

Greg Lawrence and I founded the company in 2007, and we both still run the company together. I am the Creative Director and Designer and Greg deals with the business and operations side of the company.

Who is the NUMBER:Lab man?

Our ideal man is a perfect blend of the intellectual-with-athletic-sensibility or the stylish-athlete-with-smarts.

f8efa numberlabstudio3

Where do you glean inspiration for your designs?

Art and sports are always an initiating source of research and inspiration for me and architecture, for sure, is always very present. I’m always fascinated by athletic and performance gear; it’s such a rich and educational source, from the super-techy and futuristic to great vintage images.

5eff5 numberlabstudio1

Blurring the boundary between tech and tailored is your speciality, what is it about this combination of form and function that is so important to you?

I have a suspicion it might have something to do with my ‘modernist’ architectural training at Cornell. I still keep Le Corbusier’s Towards a New Architecture on my nightstand. Even 90 years later, this book still holds a very pure lesson of form plus function that can be re-interpreted for today’s modern world. Technology has started to rule and influence our lives in ways we don’t even perceive anymore. We are surrounded by apps and gadgets that enhance our daily life, and that give us more efficiency, speed and comfort. I think that our clothes should speak to that, and do the same thing.

1d987 numberlabstudio2

NUMBER:Lab is currently involved in the CFDA {Fashion Incubator}; can you tell us a bit about how this program came about, and how it benefits your brand?

The CFDA {Fashion Incubator} is one of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s programs, which supports the new generation of fashion designers. There are ten designer brands that were chosen to be a part of it, for a two-year period. It’s really quite an honor. Aside from this great space in NYC’s garment district, there is an amazing mentorship program with some of the best industry leaders. It is an incredible support system which aids in fortifying our business and helps us to be competitive in the fashion industry.

Since founding the brand in 2007, what’s been the highlight so far? And the most difficult challenge?

Oh wow, that’s quite a loaded question. It has definitely been a roller-coaster ride. That’s the fashion world for you – never a dull moment. There are tons of highs and lows (sometimes just in one day alone), and you just have to keep bobbing and weaving. You know, rolling with the punches, and that keeps you on your toes. As a designer, anything that keeps you on your toes and that keeps you moving (sometimes even running) is a good thing. You can never stop observing, learning or asking questions. It’s what propels creativity. As for an all-time high, there is no better feeling than spotting someone wearing something you’ve created. Every time. And if they make a comment about how great they feel wearing it, or if they thank you for it, it really hits you inside. It tingles, in a really good way.

7555d numberlabcomplete2
7e1a0 numberlabcomplete3

You’re done and dusted with SS13, what’s next for the brand? Are there are any particular long-term goals? Interest in collaboration(s)?

Well, sort of. Now comes the production and execution of the SS13 collection, which is almost just as important. It’s the last step in making that sketch a reality. But yes, as a designer, you are always living and thinking in the future. I’m almost done with designing FW13 (it’s a bit crazy, because it doesn’t even feel like Fall 2012 has arrived yet). I’m always thinking of collaborations and design partnerships. It’s such a cool concept to bring two points of views, and two different areas of expertise, together to create something. There are a couple of them cooking which are very exciting. But our main goal is, really, to continue to grow the brand, and to continue to explore and express our point of view.


Learn more about NUMBER: Lab | Shop NUMBER: Lab

You Might Also Like

  • Mat October 25, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    sounds like a really interesting company with a clear vision, i'm really interested in high performance sports and active wear. it's an interesting market with a lot of money. rohan come to mind