Introducing ICONS, A New Collection Of Vintage Wardrobe Staples
The founders of cult-favorite brand NSF are launching a new collection of one-of-a-kind genuinely vintage finds that were made yesterday, are perfect for today, and will last through many tomorrows. Meet ICONS.
There are always those go-to pieces in your wardrobe, but what about the go-to pieces that endure? We’re talking the style staples that are perennially chic: the denim jacket, the military field jacket, the ringer tee. These are the pieces you’ll want to wear for a lifetime, and if you can find them already perfectly broken-in, so much the better. That was the mindset of Nick Friedberg and Jamie Haller as they launched ICONS, a collection of vintage finds that resonate with their own history while feeling current for today.
While shopping the East Los Angeles thrift-store scene for inspiration references, Friedberg and Haller—the duo that creates soft-to-the-touch, lived-in-feeling pieces for NSF—unearthed a treasure trove of high-grade Levi’s 501 jeans, 1930s military parkas, and easy ponchos. Finding the pieces in the large quantities sparked the idea for a collection of genuine vintage pieces that with a broken-in but timeless feel. The duo takes us behind the scenes on one of these sourcing trips through the photos below.
“The sourcing and curation aspect of developing the collection is our favorite part. The hunt is amazing. If you are a vintage junkie, like us, you will understand—it’s all about the score,” Haller says as she scours a textile warehouse, or “rag shop,” in L.A.
“Vintage shopping requires a certain patience, passion, and focus,” Haller says. “We’re basically volunteering to do the dirty work for you.”
“Jamie and I have some unique resources from being vintage lovers and collectors over the past twenty-plus years,” Friedberg tells us of the process of tracking pieces down. “We’ve met and forged relationships with a global network of hunters who share our love, and we tapped these resources while curating these offerings.”
Jamie and Nick often spend days on end picking and hunting for the perfect vintage scores, many times styling and assorting the collection amid towering piles of textiles.
“The selection process and the curation is our favorite part. When you find something special, it’s a rush,”
And those pieces have built the core of ICONS. Each garment is individually hand-picked by Friedberg and Haller, and each piece in the collection is labeled with its era, garment type, and provenance. Some stories are sad—finding out that a 1950s Marine Corp jacket once belonged to a pilot shot down during the Korean War—while others are heroic and triumphant—like an Army lieutenant who went on to serve as Secretary of State following World War II.
“Sometimes, a piece chooses us, and we can’t imagine not having it within the collection,”
In addition to denim and military-inspired pieces, vintage ponchos have been incorporated into the collection. “We’re excited that we get to ship such unique items,” Haller says. “We love every second of the process.”
There’s always time for a bit of fun, especially when it comes to vintage woven trims.
As far as the name of the collection, ICONS, it was the only name the designers even considered. “It is a very literal and yet emotional way to describe what we are offering,” Haller tells us. “The collection is a curation of the most iconic vintage pieces in the world. They are the archetypes for modern casual wear.”
While the pieces are truly vintage, each has been given a modern update with the addition of the brand’s signature: three white stars. “The star print, which is hand-stamped on each piece, is a way of branding that’s easily recognizable,” Friedberg says of the addition. “Although every piece is individual, un-altered, and unique, we felt it was important to add an element so that it’s that much more special.”
“The natural character and wear patterns tell a story,” Friedberg says of vintage pieces. “I love seeing the different rank and division patches within the military silhouettes from all four divisions of the military. I also love looking through Levis Denim Trucker Jackets and discovering that someone along the way sewed a Guns & Roses patch on the back in the 80’s and now it has circled back to us and is cooler than anyone imagined it would be when it was born.”