The streetwear brand salutes the eccentric, anti-establishment art of Peter Saul at New Museum.
Only NY reps New York more than most labels can claim to. For its most recent activation, the streetwear brand partnered with New Museum for an exclusive collaboration celebrating the life and work of renowned artist Peter Saul. The collection of shirts and hoodies arrives in conjunction with Saul’s retrospective at New Museum, Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment, which will run until May 31. Earlier this week, friends and family of the brand and museum came together at New Museum’s Sky Room to dance, drink, and get a first look at the new garments.
Throughout their over ten year existence, Only has fostered an overpowering sense of a community. The brand attracts people from every walk of life within New York—and that’s the goal. Only NY is dedicated to highlighting the diversity and eccentricities unique to its home, and the creatives and artists from across the country who exemplify the New York hustle mentality. Filmmaker and New York ambassador Nicholas Heller, who also goes by New York Nico, was in attendance at the launch party. He previously collaborated with the brand on a t-shirt and event for his documentary, Treasures in the Trash. “Only has been around forever. I’ve always been a fan of theirs,” Nico said at the party. “They’re so down to embrace New York culture and the things that make New York great. I just fuck with them because they’re New Yorkers—they know what’s good.”
Only NY co-owners Julian Goldstein and Michah Belamarich have nursed the brand from its infancy into a recognized and well-respected label within the streetwear industry. When I asked Julian why it’s important to do collaborations like this, he replied, “I think it touches upon the art world which is always something we’ve had our hands in—it brings the brand full circle.” Julian, Micah, and Only NY art director Lukas Witek are all from New York. “We draw so much inspiration from the city,” Julian continued.
The Peter Saul capsule follows a long series of collaborations with important institutions in New York, such as the Brooklyn Museum, the Parks Department, and the Department of Sanitation. “[These are] places that we admire and look up to. Being able to work with them is a huge opportunity,” Lukas said of the brand’s dedication to creating a truly authentic New York fashion label.
Peter Saul is an organic fit for the brand’s established aesthetic. Known for his bold use of colors and creative use of shapes and form, Saul’s artwork is radiant and eye-catching. “We love the artist. A big part of the brand early on was doing these artist series and artist collaborations. As we grew, that took a bit of a back seat. We were presented with this incredible opportunity to work with this big amazing artist through the [New Museum], so we jumped on that,” Lukas explained.
As a brand grows and is forced to cater to a continually larger audience, it’s difficult to stay true to the roots that kept it interesting and unique in the first place. Only NY operates sustainably and focuses on what makes sense–not what’s hyped.
A video of Peter Saul working in his studio played in the background as attendees danced and flipped through the limited-edition capsule. I asked Lukas what was next for the brand. He told me that Only would continue to focus on intimate collaborations and pieces that would push the brand out of its typical oeuvre. He couldn’t share any specifics, but if history serves as an indicator of the future, Only NY will continue to solidify itself as the official uniform for the city of New York.