It's a menswear revolution, courtesy of THECAST. By Erin Wylie
thecast_portinstoryRyan Turner and Chuck Guarino, the masterminds behind slick men's label THECAST, care little for the tradition of paying dues.
They moved from California to the Lower East Side with only a few hundred bucks to their name and quickly integrated themselves into the LES's fashion landscape. Two years later, in 2004, they launched an artfully distressed, hand-printed T-shirt line called THECAST. And less than three years after that—with no formal training—the pair have graduated to full-blown haberdashery. To rub it in, these fashion autodidacts' first collection of finely tailored pants (a little too finely in the case of some rock 'n' roll crotch grabbers), badass jackets, and smart vests sold out in stores in New York, L.A., and Japan shortly after they arrived.
The way they adeptly cross-reference rock idols like Hendrix and Iggy Pop with hip-hop and the wild wild West, proves they can go out on a fashion limb—with purpose. Deftly cut waistcoats that would be at home in a late 19th-century saloon reveal a devotion to fit and fine-tuning. Cocky? Confident? Whatever it is, it's oddly refreshing to hear a designer boast about the fit of his wares. We recently chatted with Ryan Turner about the evolution of THECAST, how it could only have happened in New York, and how leather pants really can make a man weep.
Where did the name come from?
It means nothing, it just sounds cool.
How many seasons have you been designing?
Spring/summer '08 is our third collection. It's the first we've designed from head-to-toe, and the first time we're offering denim.
When did you know you wanted to work in fashion? Was it synonymous with moving to NYC?
More or less. I worked at Tokion for three years prior to doing THECAST. And THECAST would have never happened without living in NYC.
What is it about the L.E.S that attracts you? Do you think it's lost its luster?
I think this question is for old timers. I've been here six years, and yeah it's changed, but I'm not really in a position to glorify the days of dope and destruction on the Lower East Side. I like living here, have met the most interesting people of my life here, and credit the city and all it is for giving us reason to do what we do.
Was the learning curve steep when you crossed over to full-fledged menswear?
We made many mistakes. As for how we coped, who knows? We were too fucking stupid and inexperienced to know when it was time to quit. We just kept going until it was right. We have zero background in fashion other than hanging out down in these parts.
The move from tees to finely tailored menswear mimics a larger trend out there. What do you think is in the air that is making dudes want to look sharp again?
Tees only work for certain occasions, in the rare occurrence of being able to afford a nice dinner we found we had nothing to wear, so it became an obvious fascination. That's probably the case for most dudes…
What was the inspiration behind the current fall collection?
We used to depend on highly developed concepts as a sort of structural background. Now we just focus on keeping things as cool as can be. As for the latter, we have a black lamb leather jacket with zip-off sleeves, the front yoke, back yoke, and sides are fishnet top-stitched—I'm really into this one. We have a pair of leather pants that'll make a grown man cry with black top-stitching also on the front and back yoke. They're the best leather pants ever made and I'm not afraid to say it out loud. Shit hot.
You're influenced by music, what's on your playlist now?
Vietnam and The Parlor Mob.
Real men wear shiny, skinny pants—as proven by Iggy Pop and your fall collection—do real men wear pink?
I don't think so.
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Portrait by David Black
It's a menswear revolution, courtesy of THECAST.

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