R13 Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear Collection
R13’s Chris Leba loves making clothes. During a tour of the Spring 2023 collection late last night at the brand’s SoHo boutique, he couldn’t help but point out every process and construction detail required to arrive at his offering. This included digital printing on knitwear; distressed effect incorporated into knits as intarsia details; denim flies have moved from the center front to other places on garments; double bibs on suits; illustrations printed in bleached flannel on gauze shirts; and, my absolute favorite, a crisp white button-up shirt made from a single piece of fabric and with no seams (with an extra yoke, of course; it’s a dress shirt after all). Leba spent years at Ralph Lauren before launching R13, and it shows in his meticulous attention to detail that beautifully reinvents the most basic wardrobe essentials season after season.
A vintage skateboard was the starting point for this collection: the logos of its aged stickers and the texture of its well-aged surface. This led Leba and his team to create a skater-worthy wardrobe. “We started thinking about skateboarders and what they do, the movement, the freedom they need to skate,” he said. “That led us to these oversized silhouettes. It’s also a summer collection, so I love the idea of just putting on big dungarees; that’s the vibe here. He still wanted to ensure consistency: “R13 is like a big group; you still know their sound, but it’s still a different song.
Leba strives to correctly capture the mood of her inspiration in the most honest and realistic way possible. “I like to nail the authenticity of a piece and then start messing it up,” he said, showing off a faded flannel that’s actually made of gauze (because it’s summer): he there’s just the distressed flannel artwork printed on this. Ditto for distressed sweaters that have carefully placed rips and tears, all printed on top to look like denim or replicate the perfect tie-dye. “Once you get it right, tie-dye is so hard to replicate,” he laughed. Leba has learned to use technology in a way that elevates her handiwork and craftsmanship.
On the next clothing aisle, a series of pink (yes, that pink) pieces appeared. “Pink is actually a very punk color,” Leba said. As a trending hue with Barbiecore and colloquially associated with cuteness and primacy, it’s ideal for gripping and subverting, which is what R13 does best.
The fun and perhaps most compelling thing about R13 is how well researched the collections are. From wired headphone belts to “fuck you” underwear belts, Leba knows what details make the look, and he knows how to lean into it to authenticate his own über-luxe version of what the kids of the day wear. downtown.