PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY MUSHO, FIG PHOTO | FILM BY EMILY HARD, G&F
CREATIVE DIRECTION BY D. GRAHAM KOSTIC | WRITTEN BY ELLE EICHINGER
Brandi Archer and James Townsend have a big month ahead: their clothing line, Archer Townsend, goes digital this week with the unveiling of an online boutique; and next week, they’ll open a by-appointment showroom in the West Loop. (No shame here: Brandi and James admit whole-heartedly that their excitement for the showroom is largely due to its proximity to Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat).
Joking aside, though, bringing the brand to fruition has been a long time in the making. The design duo began conceptualizing four years ago, but the timing was inopportune: James was working as a stylist and Brandi had just begun law school. When, last fall, things fell into place, Archer Townsend was born. With her law school education, Brandi handles the legal and business aspects, while James pulls the reins creatively. “He’s great with colors, styling, and he knows what makes a woman look and feel fabulous,” Brandi says about her partner. “I lend some creative direction [because] I represent our target customer. I know what’s missing in my closet, and James and I work to bring it to life.” James admits that he is inspired by what he imagines he’d wear if he were a woman; “I am so incredibly jealous of women because of how many options they have when they get dressed,” he says. But when it comes to shopping for himself, he hits up Marc by Marc Jacobs, Ted Baker, and Burberry, and prays for the day when Chicago gets a free-standing Theory (as for Brandi, she’s a Barney’s girl to the core).
Even with the big reveals this month—a digital and a brick-and-mortar boutique—Brandi and James are already busy finalizing their Fall 2013 collection. Brandi even revealed some hints as to what we can expect: bold pops of color, zipper details, and mixing knits with leather are all themes in the upcoming collection.