Brand 101: Aimé Leon Dore
It's only been a month since Off The Hook has welcomed Aimé Leon Dore to its arsenal of brands, but we've been paying close attention to the New York streetwear label ever since its startup in 2014. The man behind the brand, Queens' own Teddy Santis, has become somewhat of an ambassador for streetwear in New York; a milestone achieved in no longer than three years thanks to his personal touch on classic menswear and street styles that encompassed his personal outlook on his city.
Aimé Leon Dore came in the game offering everything that was essential in order to seamlessly blend streetwear and menswear together. From thick hoodies, to cozy fleece, wool overcoats, and even sherpa jackets, ALD gave these essential pieces a tailored fit - something that was uncommon in streetwear, but came to be the brand's identity over time.
It would be out of the question to talk about Aimé Leon Dore without diving deep into the brand's philosophy. Santis still remembers the golden 90's era of New York, and Aimé is undoubtedly reminiscent of this hip hop/sportswear era which New Yorkers cherish so dearly while allowing people from around the world who may admire it to equally understand it. If you've read any of his interviews, you know that Teddy Santis is dedicated to keeping Aimé Leon Dore true to to hits roots and ideas - something that was exhibited through the brand's first two years. No, literally, Aimé Leon Dore's collections through out its first two years of existence showcased little to no branding, leaving the style, quality, and craftsmanship of products to do the talking. Fast forward to today, Aimé Leon Dore is nearing its four year mark, so when you see someone wearing a hoodie with Aimé written on it, it's because they've bought into the brand and what it stands for.
Vision has always been a focal point when it comes to Aimé Leon Dore, especially if we're talking about presentation. Aimé has had a number concept shops in New York, each being more than a simple array of product. Santis has even incorporated photo exhibitions in his concept shops to create an environment which expressed his outlook on his city and the experiences which for him hold an everlasting impact. Basketball was one of these sources of impact for Santis, with streetball, Michael Jordan, and the Air Jordan 1 each having been the centrepiece of an ALD capsule or concept shop.
Taking hues from both menswear and streetwear while keeping New York at core, it's safe to say that Aimé Leon Dore has been in a lane of its own since its very first drop. One thing we know for sure is that the brand has been able to continually grow since 2014 without having to make the slightest change to the same plan and vision that got them started.