Monday, November 30, 2009

Proper Noun of the Week #19: Sean Bilovecky (Designer, Wrath Arcane)

If you know me, you'll know that ye olde Bachelor is decidedly not a fashion maven. I like a nice suit, sure, but I'm just as likely to pick one up at an out-of-town Target during a poorly-packed trip as I am to purchase anything tailored. My favorite shirt in the world and my beloved winter coat (as well as my new prize, a 3/4 length tan leather trench) are thrift store finds, and I'm pretty sure the shirt I'm wearing came from ebay.

That being said, the jeans I'm wearing and the blazer I chose for work are both about as haute as I'm likely to get, both scores from my favorite place to buy something nice for myself when I'm not feeling chintzy, Brigade. On such occasion, I try to keep it real by staying local, which designer Sean Bilovecky, this week's proper noun subject, makes pretty easy.

The man behind Wrath Arcane, the Cleveland-based clothing design firm that has been getting noticed all over the world lately, Bilovecky has a killer eye that combines classic, near-militaristic vibes with just the tiniest and most subtle flair. I'm not rolling in the dough, so I don't pick up entire collections - or anything remotely like that - but I have accumulated a few items over the last couple years and they are some of the best things I own. What I like best of all about them, though, isn't the aesthetic awesomeness. Rather, it is the Cleveland commitment the label shows. Check out Bilovecky's responses to my usual questions below, and you'll start to see what I mean.

1) How long have you been in Cleveland? And if you didn't grow up in Cleveland, where'd you relocate here from?

We're all originally from Ohio. The brand is almost 4 years old, and we've been based here the whole time. Starting in an extra bedroom in Ohio City, then in the back of Brian's store (the downtown location, before it moved to Coventry), and now in our studio downtown.

2) What is your favorite Cleveland memory?

Honestly, I think that "Under the Bridge" thing that happened a few months ago when the Detroit bridge was opened up and you could walk under it. There were so many people there. It didn't feel like cleveland.

3) How does (if at all) Cleveland influence your work and/or art?

It kind of keeps us in check. We try and make everything that WRATH ARCANE does "wearable" for someone living in cleveland... which then translates into being wearable anywhere.

4) If it was your birthday and you decided to have a Cleveland-centric blow-out bash, how would you celebrate? That is, what would you do, where would you do it, etc.?

Um. Probably go to Sokolowski's and get perogies. Then go to Melt and have the Parmageddon, which is a grilled cheese with perogies on it. Then stop by the west side market and pick up some perogies for later. Then drink beer from Japan.

5) Say you had a friend coming in for 24 hours and had never been to Cleveland before. What would you make sure they saw and did?

I always take people to Coventry or Tremont. People fall in love with Cleveland when they are here for 24 hours... it's the 48 hour threshold that becomes the problem. haha

6) What is something from another city you wish you could import to Cleveland?
Public transportation from NYC or San Francisco.

7) If you had the undivided attention of the mayor, city council, and county commissioners, what would be the one thing you'd ask for or tell them?

That they're economic development plans for downtown are falling short. That vacancies are not fixed by adding starbucks.

To check out Sean's work, stop by Brigade on Coventry and ask them to direct you to the Wrath pieces. (If you are lucky, they'll still have one of the limited number of laptop/messenger bags Sean produced this year. Snag one and you'll have something in common with CB!). If you are a non-Clevelander reading this, but Wrath Arcane seems like something pretty awesome to you, check out this link here for several more locations where you can see the firm's wares.

And if you found this post interesting, check out previous Proper Noun of the Week conversations about Cleveland and culture with the following interesting folks: Frank Revy, Bill Rupnik, Mina Hoyle, Brendan Walton, Leia Alligator, Arabella Proffer, Becca Riker, Greg Ruffing, Mallorie Freeman, Dave Desimone, J.R. Bennett, Jeff & Mike from CLE Clothing Co, Paulius Nasvytis, Lawrence Daniel Caswell, Curtis Thompson, John Ewing, Shannon Okey, and John G.

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