Our introduction to Christian McCann came in the fall of 2011. We had just completed what we thought was our finished prototype of the Shop Rag Shirt (little did we know), and had been invited by the lovely ladies of Daisy & Elizabeth lingerie to join in on a fashion show at the original Shop Brooklyn location in Williamsburg. The girls thought our shirt, paired with a denim brand they had recently discovered in the neighborhood, would help round out their moto-themed show. That denim brand was Left Field NYC.
We hadn't heard much about his label but when Christian McCann rolled up to discuss the event on his '73 850 Norton Commando and in a slick Vanson leather jacket, we knew it was the start of a great relationship. To be completely transparent, at that time, we were clueless when it came to making a legit, quality mens workshirt. That all change the day we met Christian and it's somewhat serendipitous that we would find him wearing our final product the day we rolled up to his new storefront in Ridgewood, Queens. -GSCo.
Hard not to notice the Norton sitting at the foot of your door. What's that all about?
CM: Yea it's where I keep my Norton Commando, my last parking spot cost $140 a month so it's pretty much about economics. We aren't trying to showcase some cherry bike that's never riden like so many other stores, thats pretty lame.
What did you do prior to LeftField?
CM: I got into men's clothing back in Philly and was doing a lot of thrifting while on unemployment and ended up with a job at Anthropologie in the final days of free money. It was the first Anthropologie store in Philly. I didn't want to get stuck in retail again so I got in tight with the men's buyer, took over the men's dept and was supposed to come in as a assist but he got fired and I became the assistant to no one. I reported to the President of the company and walked the shows and showrooms with him so it was a really good learning experience in a sink or swim environment. At the time I didn't know the difference between a knit and a woven so I was pretty green. But I had a good eye, so he give me a shot.
Left Field Denim has a distinct aesthetic. From the leather labels on your denim, the drop tags to the embroidery work onyour tees, it seems your drawing inspiration from a certain time period.
CM: Not really. I love Americana and there are so many amazing periods to explore, 50's greaser, 40's workwear, 80's surf, 70's biker... I never wanted to corner myself into some old timey depression era brand, I think there is enough of that and it's way to costumey for me. I spent my childhood going to Antique flea markets in Lahaska, PA. I really loved the detail and craftmanship of antiques and all the weird obsessive people that went with it. When I was buying for Anthropologie I saw so much crap in the market, nothing had integrity or any soul to it, and almost nothing made in America. When I started the line I focused my attention to all the details vintage clothing collectors look for and applied it to Left Field.
People think that starting a company like what you have is 'cool' or that it might be easy because where social media is these days. How would you react to that?
CM: I find a lot of social media pretty disgusting and self absorbed. I think you should use it as a tool when you have put the time into developing something and not using it as a way to create a false identity.
When are we doing a collabo?
CM: What have you got in mind chief?
Stay tuned for this. In the meantime, follow LeftField on Instagram @leftfieldnyc