“When I was growing up I collected and rescued Vogues from recycling bins. I remember seeing Marc Jacobs and Isaac Mizrahi sketches and knowing that was what I wanted to do,” Madewell’s Head of Design, Somsack Sikhounmuong, told us.
“Som” (as he’s been affectionately called since the third grade) is the man we all have to thank for that dreamy denim and those everyday staples we turn to when we wake up in the morning and have that Cher Horowitz crisis of I-have-nothing-to-wear. Although he’s also the guy we kinda blame for endless hours online shopping (and that subsequent credit card maxed out or “insufficient funds” memo). And we’re not alone in this whole Madewell obsession thing; if there was some sort of “12 Step Program” specifically for MAAs – that’s Madewell Addicts Anonymous – we’re pretty sure Cov-alums like Kelly Oxford, Emily Schuman and Jaime King would be sitting in the circle, too. (Fun fact: Oxford’s endless conquest to collect everything from Alexa Chung’s collection for Madewell sent her on a somewhat shameless psycho mission. “The day before they went on sale, I had a Madewell in N.Y.C. hold them for ‘Jessica Alba’ then had my lit agent in N.Y.C. pick them up for ‘her.’ Fashion is one thing that can make me lose my mind,” Oxford confessed to us.)
The Canadian-bred boy genius (we know we say we don’t play favorites, but you know how we feel about a Canadian connection, guys) invited us into his N.Y.C. abode to get a little peek inside his own closet. We imagine that being in his pad is sort of like being inside his brain: it’s layered in good books, inspiration images, colorful carpets, stacks on stacks of old magazines, citrus-colored vintage trunks and plenty of boardgames for those Friday nights in. As for his closet? It’s filled with Elder Statesman sweaters, crazy kicks from Lanvin to Valentino and, (what else?) Nike and plenty of pouches from RTH – a line Som single-handedly hooked us on to.
After getting well-acquainted with the contents of his wardrobe, we turned the topic of conversation to his inspiration (“the de la Falaise women, traditional Indian answers to print and pattern, French graphics, Japanese interpretations of American classics and Piet Ouldolf gardens,” and his words of wisdom (“Humility and hardwork will get you far in this industry.”) Well said, Som. Well, said.