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Handsome Devil

by Yvette Coleman

Tory DuVarney, co- partner and founder of Handsome Devil, is and always has been heavily ingrained into the Southern California “Board Culture”, which he's been an active part of for years. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, he started to put some Handsome Devil designs together to sell to friends at local surf and skate shops - - he sold everything he made. Dave Perry is the co-owner and he previously owned sizable vintage clothing operation for many years and bought and sold approximately four tons a month through his wholesale operation and his retail stores. Tory and Dave have produced clothing lines for several other companies over the years and then decided to concentrate on their own line.

Dave notes: “Basically, our line is and always will be all about maintaining an edge without looking like the wearer is trying too hard. Based in the heart of downtown L.A, we're all too familiar with the fact that there are way too many men's lines out there that are bordering on ridiculous and so we want to bring a cool name with unique hand-drawn graphics using quality tops and hats (all manufactured to our specs) that make the wearer feel he has something that makes him an individual. The first thing that Lisa Kline said when we presented the line to her was 'this feels great.'”

Who do you envision wearing this collection?

Our clients range from Josh Duhamel to Slash, from Orlando Bloom to Mickey Rourke. We have pro footballers, baseball players, software developers and architects wearing our stuff so everyone who is fed up with Ed Hardy or Affliction and any other brand that now lacks a unique quality, can and does relate to our designs. We definitely have a counter culture influence; myself and my partner in Handsome Devil, Tory, we're into both racing and vintage motorcycles, we surf, snowboard and are passionate about music and style. So anyone that really wants to embrace life and make a statement of individuality relates to Handsome Devil and to us, from X-Gamers to X Box'ers, we love 'em all.

In a world without Myspace would Handsome Devil still exist?

Absolutely! Myspace has been a great viral medium for us as far as sharing our vision and allowing others to have access to the “lifestyle” that is Handsome Devil. Without that it would have been a bit of a task to reach that guy in the Mid West whose best way of connecting with the culture centers across the is online. We're in an amazing environment right now with the online medium almost eclipsing the need (or desire in my case) to go to the retail stores. God loves the independent and specialty stores and we need them more than the mass retailers in my opinion but through blogs and editorials such as this one in Fashion Ledge, with a little hard work and tenacious networking, we can reach people we never would have had the opportunity to in the past.

Our team here at HD is focusing strongly on exploring all the avenues of New Media right now as we believe that through mediums such as Twitter, Facebook, Flikr and others we'll be able to reach our core client easier, especially as the traditional retail model is changing so dramatically due to the current financial mess our economy is in. Our new web site, which should be up by the time this goes to 'print' is going to reflect that movement towards interacting with our customers through Social Networking. Tory and I are also fortunate that through our work with other lines we're always around musicians and people in the TV business so we have a good network of associates but Myspace and other community driven sites are definitely a great help when it comes to sharing our vision.What do you think are the biggest trends right now?

Having had a vintage clothing operation for some years I was anticipating that the 80's would come back around; it was inevitable. But I never thought that when it did come back that it would last this long and morph so well. Other than that a lot of men's shirts you see in stores still have really big hits, huge designs with serious washes and other treatments. Big designs I'm OK with if the artwork is worthwhile and unique but all the stains, fake wear and tear, studs, crystals, multi colored skulls and other crap I really can't stand and it's definitely on it's way out. I see plaid worming it's way back into the casual fashion scene again (long live Grunge!) and Liberty prints are rumored to make another splash in 2009.

What trends are you seriously tired of?

Skulls!! If I see another skull I'm going to puke!! Mark Ecko, what are you thinking mate? I can't believe that he even sees any of his low priced cut and sew line before it hits retail stores. Something else I'm seriously tired of is so called 'designers' taking classic icons of popular American culture (is Christian Audigier in the house?) and completely ruining them. The next thing you know Evel Knievel and Michael Jackson will be clothing lines and their images will be on frigging air fresheners!!!! Be unique chaps, it doesn't take that much effort.

What's next for Handsome Devil?

We are lucky enough to have a group of awesome artists in house that 'get it'. They specialize in hand drawn designs so we can't be copied, hence we'll reinvent ourselves, change up our designs as necessary, always staying close to our root client and the reasons that had us start the company in the first place. We intend to continue to introduce styles that guys want to wear with great artwork and designs that they can feel good in. We're big on 'feel' at HD so it has to fit and feel right when you're wearing it.

If you look at the most successful artists, be they musicians, designers or actors, they metamorphosize their styles and adapt to their influences, growing with the tastes of their fans and their clients. Twenty years later they'll still be successfully doing what they love because they listen, they innovate and adapt. Handsome Devil is no different. We also want to expand our line to include Organic product as Tory and I especially are interested in that avenue. Surfers are very aware of the ramifications of pollution and other environmental problems and having been the Chairman of SAS, (the equivalent of The Surfrider Foundation), it's something I've been passionate about for quite a while. We're working with a Bamboo/Pima cotton mix right now which you should see a lot of in the market pretty soon if not already.

Then in the near future we want to expand into denim, button down shirts and other cut and sew designs. We have this awesome line called Beautiful Disaster coming out in '09. Basically it epitomizes the Hollywood train wreck a la Lindsay and Britney with a swift middle finger aimed at the paparazzi that makes then breaks them. The line will be on custom tops that ladies will enjoy wearing with tag lines and designs that are cheeky and edgy; they'll love it. We're going to step over the line with this one and upset some people but it's definitely going to be worth it.

Words of wisdom from Dave Perry of Handsome Devil:
Be passionate about your line(s), design what you like to wear yourself and above all enjoy doing it. Everyone at Handsome Devil proudly wears what we produce. Have fun with it and if it ever ceases to be fun then go and do something else because it will show in your product and the buying public is smarter than you think. Oh and always remember any BS that you write down in interviews.
Where can Handsome Devil be purchased:

Currently we are picking and choosing boutiques/retailers carefully as we don't want to sell our product in places that don't give it the credibility it deserves. We're in no hurry to have our stuff in every store in like some brands I could mention, as that limits your shelf life. For instance, hardly anyone in LA wants to wear brands such as Ed Hardy or Von Dutch anymore because of the way it was forced down people's throats. We'd rather take the slower approach, as we're more interested in longevity than anything else, that way we're never a trend.

Right now we're searching for a team of reps that understand our brand so if any of the readers are interested you can reach me at David@handsomedevilclothing.com

Tops are all made to spec in the U.S using quality cottons, then custom dyed and printed locally in L.A. The price range is from $35-$45 for tops and hats range from $30-$40. You can buy at the Lisa Kline stores in Los Angeles and directly through www.handsomedevilclothing.com

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