By Aida Toro
As I walked into his under construction shop in Soho, Jordan Wiseley welcomed me with open arms. His outfit was very eye-catching, as he was sporting luxurious street wear during our meeting.
“I’ve always been very creative, so clothes and things like that came very naturally,” said Wiseley. “Even in high school, I would cut out stencils and spray paint them onto shirts and hoodies.”
Originally from a small town in Oklahoma, Wiseley is the Founder and Creator of Strapped, a brand that spread the belief of returning to classic authenticity by utilizing materials of fine quality. He depicted his inspiration for Strapped from his involvement in the world of motorcycles.
“I started racing when I was nine years old. I started building motorcycles in California and didn’t need to have a 9 to 5. I was just acting and that’s what spawned the clothes,” he said. “It ended up snowballing. I designed one jacket and then every showroom or store would ask me for more.”
Wiseley mentioned that he sketches every single design for his collection. He did not pursue a formal education in art or design, however, he knows how to sew, as his grandmother was a seamstress. For a good year and a half, Wiseley spent some time at the factory where he learned how to make his own patterns by watching the cutters and sewers.
“For a solid year, I was at the factory every day,” he said. “From literally knowing nothing except step on the pedal and make the thing go, to learning how to do patterns and learning how to test for shrinkage.”
Wiseley crafted the items at Strapped by incorporating vintage Americana into the domain of modern streetwear and elevated fashion. All items are locally made by hand and are considered as everyday wear. After Strapped’s official launch in Los Angeles, it made its way into New York Fashion Week in September 2018. Taylor Swift, Marlon Wayans, and celebrity stylist Ugo Mozie were sold once they came across the line.
“I wore one of my sample jackets out, and I am standing in line at a valet at a jazz night I go to. Marlon Wayans is standing behind me and taps me on the shoulder and says, ‘Bro, that jacket is fire’. Fast forward a year later; his stylist reaches out to me and asks if Marlon can use the jacket for an interview he was going to have.”
“It has been a journey”, said Wiseley.
Even though Wiseley always had a knack for fashion and creativity, he also played some parts on the big screen. He played parts in reality television shows, The Real World: Seattle, television series “If Loving You is Wrong”, MTV’s “The Challenge”, Fear Factor, and in many others.
“Reality television, on one hand, is the coolest, social experiment out there,” said Wiseley. “If people really learned from it as we should as a society, it can teach us so much. It’s such an inside look on inner personal dynamics.”
“A lot gets convoluted by networks and ratings, and everyone wants the drama and the sex”, mentioned Wiseley.
“It’s very interesting to me. The connections that are made between people, and then what is aired by networks,” he said. “Reality television has taught me a lot about the entertainment business. It’s a taboo between what’s scripted and what’s not scripted.”
For Wiseley, the hardest part about being an actor was living down his past.
Balancing acting and fashion design has been quite a ride for. Like any person juggling two roles at once, he does face some challenges from time to time.
“I think the number one challenge is time,” said Wiseley in regards to how he juggles being a designer and actor at the same time. “So I act in front of the camera. I started my own production company two years ago. I write and produce, and for the last couple of month’s it’s been one day of fashion, and the next day, production.”
Currently, Wiseley’s company is pre-producing a feature film that will be going into production in January 2018. Difficulty arrives once the time is found to juggle design and television. Its much more difficult in the fashion industry to corral all of the people needed, and to actually work and have the same idea in mind.
He launched his pop-up shop in Manhattan’s Soho district on December 1, which will be opened for a month. He mentioned he is exploring the pop-up realm until he finds the perfect fit for his official storefront.
“The number one thing is getting the right next door neighbors,” he said. “We are a very specific demographic. We want people that are advantageous enough, and outgoing enough to try something new, because our collection is a line of its own.”
Wiseley will be flying back to Los Angeles in January to work on producing a film, in addition to making a return to the Big Apple for Strapped’s first PROJECT trade show Suffice it to say, he’s very excited. Strapped has teamed up with David Fischer’s streetwear blog, media brand, and production agency, Highsnobiety. This will be the agency’s first time in a trade show as well.
“Trade shows are huge. You don’t get that many retailers in one place,” he said. “I think this is huge for us and the streetwear market.”
Overall, he’s been enjoying his life day after day.
“I’ve been one of those guys forever. I just want to do everything that looks fun, and if there’s anything I can tell any entrepreneur out there, it would be, ‘just go for it’”, he said.. “Passion is the number one ingredient for anything you're doing, if you’re passionate about it, and you work at it, you will find a way.”