Ruckus Apparel is impossible to ignore. Besides introducing Bellwether Club (the flagship store on East Colfax that serves as coffee shop, whiskey bar, barber shop, and boutique), the Denver-based brand always has something new to show us. Founder Josh Schmitz tells us about the latest collection: Insult to Space. Beyond clothing, he speaks on how the summer collection was inspired by something not always seen in fashion: heartbreak, imperfections, beauty and pain.
“I cannot say you are beautiful.
I cannot compare your eyes
to stardust or nebulas
or say your voice is as delicate and soft as lace.
Although you are my whole universe,
you are not my whole universe,
because to say so would be an insult to space”
303: The title of your collection, Insult to Space, was derived from a poem by a local artist (above). What was it about that particular line that spoke to you?
Schmitz: Aleah Bradshaw wrote it when she was in high school and it’s never left my head. When you listen to it, the poem stirs emotion about real life. It’s about sitting in the emotion of being broken hearted. Summer collections tend to be about fun in the sun, and we’re also in a time where we’re constantly being told how success is defined. You have celebrities renting ferraris, you’re told to have at least 5,000 followers on Instagram to be considered successful and I thought “What if we went the complete opposite direction?” Just like the poem is about being broken, the collection is inspired by raw emotion. It’s not an ABC on how to be successful, it’s saying it’s ok to not be ok.
303: Who makes up the Ruckus design team?
Schmitz: The team is made up of myself, Rebecca Slaughter, our creative director, photographer, and model coordinator, and Edgar Regalado, the designer. Rebecca started out as a model and Edgar was actually working a pharmacy tech job at a Walgreens in Texas.
303: The Lookbook for the collection was shot in Mexico. What made your team pick an exotic location?
Schmitz: Aaron Wallace, one of our partners who owns Schomp [Automotive], actually has a house in Chacala, Mexico. Going down to Puerto Vallarta is only $250 bucks so we took advantage of the opportunity to vacation and journey together for a week. We’re all a family, and we go on trips every photo shoot and hang out and do life together along the way. It makes for sharing connections, stories, and memories.
303: Something unique about Insult to Space is that there is a short film made to go along with it. Can you speak on that?
Schmitz: Every year we make a fashion film. A lot of clothing companies make video lookbooks showcasing their clothes and behind the scenes footage. The interesting thing about Ruckus is we’re in this to make people feel something, we’re not all about the trends. Insult to Space is our creative outlet to showcase clothes but also to make people feel emotion. It’s not about the fashion, it’s about the heart. The video has had more than 6,000 shares on Facebook and it was shot in less than 24 hours and directed by Blurred Pictures, a friend and local Colorado company that started six years ago like Ruckus. Blurred, much like Ruckus, has been focused on Denver. A lot of artists choose to move to a bigger city but we chose to stay here and build part of Denver’s culture and scene.
303: Are there any new styles in the latest collection?
Schmitz: We stick to our roots. We always stick to a black, white, grey color palate. We did include a lot more minimal pieces, some with chest graphics, and a collaboration with Alpha Industries that includes bomber jackets and flight jackets. We have so many demographics, from gym rats to artists, just know you can wear our stuff on stage at a concert, to the club, or even just wear it to work. It’s built to live in. It’s so frustrating to buy a shirt and have it fall apart after two uses. One of my favorite pieces is the short bill wool cap.
303: What can we look forward to from Ruckus Apparel in the future?
Schmitz: I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Our one year anniversary at Bellwether is coming up on August 13, and it was on Business Insider‘s 50 Coolest New Business in America, as well as one of the top coffee shops in 5280 Magazine. I remember starting Ruckus in 2009 with just $300 and out of the back of my car and now my idols have become my friends. It’s so humbling to be on Warped tour and introduce myself and for people to know who I am. From Ruckus to Bellwether, it’s crazy that we’ve had so much support. There’s been a huge outpouring of love and support and that makes me want to do more. As I said, I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
Be sure to check out Insult to Space. Drop by Bellwether’s One Year Anniversary Party on Saturday, August 13 at 7 p.m., and don’t forget to look through Ruckus’ SS16 Collection for pieces you’re sure to go crazy about.