Words by Jesse Serwer, Photos by Martei Korley
Trinidad-born, Brooklyn-based designer Joshua C. Joseph’s Rebels to Dons line makes clothes for the man with roots in the streets and goals that go way behind that. The brand’s inaugural collection (for spring/summer 2014) presents a distinct mixture of pieces suited for what Joseph calls “rebeling”: a sleeveless pullover hoodie, an embroidered tunic, a lambskin leather cap, and, in a reflection of his Caribbean roots and surroundings, a high-fashion spin on the classic mesh marina (which you can now buy in the LargeUp store).
Joseph’s next collection, he promises, will elaborate on the idea of “Dons,” with suits, ties and pocket squares, among other accessories, revealing the aspirational impulses behind the brand’s name. “Rebels is streetwear and rebeling clothing,” Joseph says. “Dons now is more [about] self realization.”
As a designer, Joseph’s roots are in custom leatherwork, a service he continues to offer in the form of tailored pieces for clients from Omar Epps to Tyler the Creator. We recently met up with Joseph at the leather shop belonging to his father, renowned cap maker and Rastafarian artist Opio Chung, in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, to see where Rebels to Dons began, and where it’s headed.