Who is William Rast? Actually the name “William Rast” is really a creative combination of the names of two old friends—the grandfathers, in fact, of singer Justin Timberlake and his childhood friend Trace Ayala. It seems Justin and Trace continued their grandfather’s tradition of friendship, growing up together in Memphis, TN, and later touring the world when Justin’s singing career took off and Trace went along as his personal assistant. True to form of starting new ventures together, in 2005 these two buddies created the William Rast Clothing Line, and in 2006 they put on the first William Rast fashion show to launch the line.
The company is based in Los Angeles, CA, and to date there are two William Rast Clothing Line stores--one in Westfield Valley Fair, San Jose, and one in Westfield Century City, Los Angeles. Publicity-wise, the William Rast jeans in particular have received some air time, notably in CW’s show Privileged of 2008 when they were worn by Joanna Garcia, Trace Ayala’s fiancé, in nearly every episode. Also in 2008, Justin Timberlake starred in a series of webshorts with supermodel Erin Wasson, wherein he played a fictional William Rast. More recently, the line has also been noted in numerous fashion magazines and on fashion websites, including GQ, Fashion, MTV, StyleCom, WWD, Apparel News, Lucky, Women’s Health, Nylon and more in 2010 alone.
According to the boys, the clothing styles are meant to reflect their country hometown roots of Memphis, TN. This means that the William Rast denim line specializes in jeans (incidentally you can recognize each pair of jeans by the signature slashed “V” embroidered on the back pockets) although it also puts out different tops and jackets. Creative directors Johan and Marcella Lindebergs, previously of New York, oversee the design process of the actual products, and it seems they are keeping up with the theme of country roots style crossed with modern everyday fashion of the “hip” coastal regions. Taking their newest collection into account, five top picks reflect this sensibility in their simplicity and serviceability, yet casual sophistication.
Five Top Picks of the William Rast Spring/Summer 2010 Collection
MENS - Outerwear jacket black - $235
This jacket has a classic vintage feel in the crossover lapels, zippers and buttons, but with a casual modern lightness that blends together with a smooth touch of class.
MENS - Jacket with front pockets - $350
Once again, this jacket has a classic vintage feel—in this case an almost military-like cut to it, somewhat British—but it is done with such a lightness of style and simplicity of design that the end result is extremely wearable. The embroidery bits (the American flag on the breast, etc) are tasteful details.
MENS - Graphic Crew Tee with “RAST” - $55
As a “cool” T-shirt this works because the letters are practically slapped on the shirt as if with a wet paintbrush, nullifying the possibility of appearing too “contrived” or overly fashionably dressed. In essence, this T-shirt looks pretty genuine, and the disheveled letters of the rather odd word “RAST” over the front of it are in effect interesting to the casual observer.
WOMENS – Woven Blouse Seafoam - $175
This style of shirt seems to be the general look of the women’s Spring and Summer line, and it is really actually extremely refreshing. Why? The shirt is long enough to cover the midriff for one (in fact all the way down to the hips in this case), and the result is an elegant flow down the body in a very flattering cut. The woven blouse in a vibrant seafoam hue is a lovely and soft article to look at, and probably really, really comfortable to wear too.
WOMENS – Leather Jacket – Butter - $495
Okay, this one is pretty much vintage-flavored novelty, and it looks like the owner might also possess a yellow motorcycle for some reason. At any rate, though it’s not quite as casual as the other picks, it has, as stated, a “novelty” flair to it that catches the eye. The collar area especially is fun—and it better be for almost $500!
In fact, the only true complaint that can be leveled at this line is that the prices are truly fashion line prices. The average country guy or gal doesn’t usually pay $55 for a T-shirt, for example. Nevertheless, it is commendable that all these clothes look truly comfortable to live in, which is a property that is often sacrificed to appearance in the fashion world.