DOPE’s New R & D Collection Includes Lots of Flannel and a Poncho Because Why Not?

This season from lookbooks and brand previews I have seen the following potentially controversial items: visors, rainboots for men, quilted tees, and now ponchos, the last one being this "100% Cotton French Terry hooded poncho featuring paneling details, hidden kangaroo pocket, and a woven label" from streetwear label and self-proclaimed "Bougie Crew" DOPE.

As it happens, the poncho is being embraced by people you may know, like Chicago rapper (and mink afficianado) Saba, pictured above (and featured on Green Label here).

Thus we won't rule out the poncho for now, so long as you pair it with sensible basics like stovepipe jeans (not too narrow, please). As it happens, DOPE's designer Matte Fields agreed with me, as I interviewed him about the collection and found out why a poncho is really NABD.

DOPE’s spring lineup has a rugged theme, with cutoff sleeves and frayed edges are seen throughout. What was the inspiration for this?
This season we pulled inspiration from the DIY nature of punk and just rock culture in general. We wanted to fuse that with the hip-hop point of view that we are always bringing to our collections. A consistent theme with DOPE is rebel culture, and both rock and hip-hop share that rebellious spirit. Cutoffs and raw edges are just another representation of that counter culture.

How does the new R&D collection contribute to the evolution of streetwear?
With R&D, I’m designing exactly what I like. These pieces are a little forward and you are not going to see them from other streetwear companies. R&D pieces are always going to be ahead, but this is not fast fashion—these are quality pieces that will last.

What’s the design process like when drafting and delivering new styles for DOPE?
The design process is always happening, I’m constantly thinking of new ideas and jotting them down on Post-Its. I have a set by my desk, my bed—pretty much everywhere I might be during the day. That’s always the first step towards releasing something completely new from DOPE.

What was the thinking or inspiration behind the poncho? It's a potentially controversial fashion item for men. How do you see it being rocked the best?
The poncho is another element from counter-culture that I wanted to make for a while. About a year ago I saw someone rocking a poncho on the streets and that was the catalyst to put this piece into motion.

I think this poncho is a performance piece, whether it's being worn on stage or by someone wandering a festival. We brought a few with us to Austin for SXSW, and gave it to some artists that were performing, like OG Maco, Rome Fortune, and Saba. They immediately gravitated towards that piece being worn on stage. In the performance context, the poncho makes perfect sense.

Keep things simple when you rock the poncho: black tee and black jeans, maybe add some flavor with your sneakers.

Images: PR
Saba Image: Sam Kfare
OG Maco Image: @phivu90

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