A prideful exclamation of “I’m from a town” echoes from Desyree Nicole, the creative director of luxury menswear brand, Todd Patrick. We’re discussing her recently revealed fall 2020 collection, fittingly titled ‘A Letter from Michigan’. A reflection of her roots, the Waterford Michigan native’s collection is one that plays into your senses.
Des, alongside operations manager, Gabriella Paulino, take a step back from their New York lifestyles, swaying into a more mellow Michigan. “When I’m around something that’s constantly moving and there’s so many integral parts in New York, sometimes it’s needed to go back to the Midwest. Stay grounded, you know, tap into your family, tap into that initial inspiration.” Des describes the time she takes in Waterford as a “rebalancing”. A time to slow down, which is how the thoughtfulness of this collection was born. “When I think of Michigan in the fall, what colors do I see, what textures do I see?”
The collection, a crisp journey of muted hues; reveals the soul of nature, the soul of the midwest. For those of us who grew up in what some refer to as “fly over states”, this collection provides a nostalgic warmth that embraces you. But you don’t have to be from the midwest to appreciate the tones alongside the textures that encapsulate you. It’s a line, as Des would say, of “Humble Heat”.
Des emphasizes that each piece has a story. I personally see the spirit of the collection in the ‘Waterford Jacket’. The detailed embroidery depicts the Michigan staple classic car event, “Dream Cruise,” weaving through Telegraph Road with personal touches such as the apartment building she grew up in. Fan of numerology and the notion that “timing is everything”? Check out this piece and be sure to ask Des about the number 19… thank me later.
While she can articulate the details of where these personal stories fall for her, the unique part of this collection is its ability to express the story for whoever is wearing it. A sentiment that was echoed when I viewed the collection at the brand’s pr and sales showroom, MLX PR, alongside athlete stylist, Brandon Williams.
“LOOK AT HER!” Brandon immediately exclaims as he surveys the collection. That humble heat boils as he states, “I love the aesthetic of Todd Patrick. I’ve seen it from its baby steps. I don’t stamp a lot of people in this industry unless you really have a voice, and trust me, she has one. She’s super stylish herself, she doesn’t force it, and this collection doesn’t force it.”
“It’s effortlessly cool. I can see her in all these pieces, but it’s far from a bad thing. It just translates really well.”
Brandon approaches styling his deep client list in a way that helps narrate their life off the court. “I’m always looking for something identifiable for each guy. I try not to dress guys based on trends, but elevating what they like”. Brandon reiterates the sentiment that, “you can customize your own story around these pieces”. An aspect that Des is all too familiar with for athletes. She got her start in the fashion world by styling some of the biggest names in the professional sports world, often resulting in creating pieces she couldn’t find for her guys. Those needs, alongside her fine arts background launched Todd Patrick. While athletes are not the main source of creative inspiration in her brand, there’s no denying how it speaks to professional athletes.
“When I look at this collection, my mind instantly goes to a mix between my clients, Mike Conley and Rudy Gay,” Brandon tells me. With ease, he affirms, “it makes sense to me. The materials are transitional. You can dress all of these pieces down with a basic t-shirt and sneaker and leather or dress it up; the swing is there. All the textures and functionality, it all makes for a good story.”
The Ohio native, whose clients include Jeff Green, Matt Barnes, Jack Flaherty, Andrew Wiggins, and Orlando Scandrick, emphasizes; “Nobody would tell me no, and personally, I would wear all this stuff.”
What stories will be written amongst the “A Letter From Michigan” collection is an unknown that is yet to be revealed. But, take a walk through the midwest with Todd Patrick, let watercolored clouds brush above your head as a golden beam of sun pierces through. Become silent, as that specific crisp, crinkle sound of autumn foliage curls below your feet, and the wind kisses the first sign of frost; be happy that you brought some humble heat into your life.