Best Young Fashion Engineers San Francisco 2003 - Joe Haller and Ian Hannula, Nice Collective
The Richmond District isn't exactly known as a hot spot for innovative fashion. But from a lair out in the avenues, a creative clothing lab releases its sartorial experiments to an international urban network and has earned respect in discerning markets including Tokyo, Milan, and London. Joe Haller and Ian Hannula's 7-year-old company kick-started with inspiration from the synergistic audiovisual elements of the electronic dance music scene. But the pair has since translated the techno vibe into wearables that often ignore industry standards of form and function (they stitch kite and parachute patterns into shirts and skirts, for example). Though deep-pocketed pop stars like Michael Jackson and Gwen Stefani have been photographed in Nice Collective wear, the pieces are surprisingly affordable for regular folk. As Jackson himself likes to say, "Celebrities like bargains, too."