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Issue Date: December 2007 Issue


Streetwise

Wrath Arcane tags garments with a message, not a label.
Kristen Hampshire
Sean Bilovecky’s blunt commentary on big labels, big business, big government and big-boxes can’t be printed in this magazine.
"Big Labels Are...” (The last word of the phrase starts with an “F” and it’s not “Fantastic.”) This mantra appears on a T-shirt by Wrath Arcane menswear, a line designed by Bilovecky and partner Brian O’Neill.

But attached to each piece of the contemporary streetwear collection is a more politically correct reminder of why this line is not a vain label or just another image for sale.

Each tag reads: Domestically Produced Activism.

“Wrath Arcane is about the clothing and what it means to buy something that’s produced here,” says Bilovecky, looking out the window of Clothing Brigade on West Ninth Street at the buildings that once housed a thriving garment industry. The store has carried Wrath Arcane since spring 2006. Now, 15 locations in the United States and Canada sell the line, and 40 stores will carry it next year, including shops in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

For now, Wrath Arcane is the only menswear/streetwear producer in town. The line is affordable at $285 for a well-built wool coat — a reasonable Cleveland price for boutique style and solid construction.

Wrath Arcane appeals to a hip crowd without super-sized garment logos or dashing models. In fact, Wrath’s models wear masks featuring the brand’s mantra.

“I want people to focus on the clothing,” Bilovecky says.

Signature design does the talking. On coats, a placket with teeth adds geometry to the simple form. A harness attached to the back connects the shoulders, neck and side panels.

“The harness says ‘Wrath Arcane’ without the logo,” Bilovecky says.

The Concept Hoodie is a convertible of sorts. A removable side panel offers sophisticated double-breasted detail. A shirt with a removable collar (and harness, of course) comes in lavender. Both pieces will be available this spring.

“We really push the details,” Bilovecky adds. “There is no one that has a coat like this, and the form is basic so you can wear it out without feeling like you have on a crazy robot suit.”

It’s technical, really. And the designs continue to grow in sophistication as Bilovecky plays with twisted seam lines on arms and 6-inch cuffs on hoodies.

As for the future? Expect more outerwear and workwear. And what about the ladies? Try on the double-breasted snap hoodie. It swings both ways

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