A two-year soul-searching hiatus from the fashion fray led the Gap, Paco Rabanne and Perry Ellis alum to Paskho. Here, why he decided to launch his own collection on Kickstarter.

The back story behind the collection

After Gap, I spent a lot of time doing different things that challenged me and one of them was backpacking. I was at Yosemite with a guide, in far, far back country and, of course, you have to take as few clothes as possible. I started to dig the functional aspect of the clothes I was wearing. And something I’d been brewing in my head for several years was the concept of clothes for an urban environment. It just clicked. So Paskho mixes the functionality of sports clothes with the coolness of urban, street clothes.

The name Paskho means…

Passion in Greek. When I was going through this soul-searching period of my life, people kept asking me, “What are you going to do next?” I answered to everyone, “I’m going to find my passion.” Because they kind of leave you alone after that. But it was also true. I had this time to clear my head, I went out and did things I loved, all these physical things that were challenging physically but got me to a different mental and spiritual place. And when I decided to build a brand about that, I refound my passion for design.

The clothes are…

They really are my personal passion — it’s how I love to dress. They’re active and lounge; they’re super-comfortable. You look cool and put together. You can go work out and you can hang out in them.

I chose Kickstarter because…

I kept thinking about what the brand would be — it’s about collaboration, it’s about sharing, it’s about putting product out there that doesn’t get made unless people decide they want it. The collection is a little green in that way. Kickstarter was the right way for us to launch because it’s about having this dialogue. It’s a two-way sharing street.

Other Kickstarter campaigns I’ve contributed to…

I did a pickle one. I love pickles. And I was looking in the technology category — I’m a guy, I like playing with gizmos — at a company in L.A. that makes these really beautiful titanium keychains.

The dialogue I’m creating here…

You can tell us if this is something you want to buy. If you do, we’ll produce it. If you don’t, we’ll move on to the next one. And I’m not just putting up product here and letting you pick. I’m going to have comments about why we chose the fabrics, why we stitched things a certain way, where we’re making the clothes…. I’m not hiding any part of this business. It’s a new way of stripping down and showing who you are and not being afraid to share that. And I want people to do that back to me.

My advice to new entrepreneurs…

Stay true to why you started and what you’re passionate about. If you start off with a vision, it’s about continuously driving that vision home. It’s funny, the vision becomes more alive every day — not exactly the way I envisioned it, but it becomes better because we stay true to the road we’re on.

The most exciting part of owning your own business…

Being in control of your destiny — it’s probably the most exciting and scary part. You kind of set off on your own journey and you have to keep it alive.

And the biggest challenge…

The biggest one happening right now is building the story out and communicating it to people. Getting the word out there has been hard.

When I hear the word comeback…

I guess I was away, but I didn’t realize it. I was on the journey of doing Paskho. People were like, oh, you’re working now again. I’m like, I’ve been working for six to eight months! I got to work quietly on myself and the brand and I think Paskho’s in a better place for that.

What keeps me up at night…

My computer. Looking at what’s going on, thinking about products we’re going to do next, writing the Paskho blog, thinking about it, talking and sharing the journey….

My pop culture guilty pleasure…

There are tons. If you asked me last week, it’s what my son watches on TV, which is Community. But now he’s gone back to The Simpsons, which has become my new favorite thing to get stupid over.

One thing people don’t know about me…

Well, one thing I keep hearing from people is how shocked they are that I started this type of brand. They didn’t know I could make a brand that’s a cross between active and lounge and urban street clothes. Most people didn’t think I would add the sexiness part of it. They see me as this American sportswear designer, which I very much am, but categorize me in all the different jobs I’ve done. Those jobs, you become what the brand is supposed to be. I’ve never designed a brand that I wanted to design myself and that’s what Paskho is.

Photographed by Mimi Ritzen Crawford

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