4SDesign’s American Vintage Reborn


By Paul McLauchlan


Vintage fashion and Seventh Avenue sportswear are reborn in 4SDesign’s Spring-Summer 2024 collection. For his Paris debut, designer Angelo Urrutia was preoccupied with elevating American fashion traditions, rather than issuing a literal translation or redux of them. His research-intensive methodologies, which involve creating custom fabrics in Italian mills, steered him in the direction of an ultra–luxe vision that toys with our preconceived notions of Americana. 


Among the standout pieces this season is a patchworked Abercrombie & Fitch jacket worn by Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which has been updated with silk stripe trompe l’oeil, thus trading the rough canvas for something sumptuously supple. Beloved by all, the perfect vintage T-shirt is rendered anew in wool with a natural stretch. The orange safety lining of an MA-1 jacket comes in tournier tweed, while the black exterior is viscose. Silk organza provides a military shirt jacket with an undeniable lightness. Classic hickory stripe is distressed using trompe l’oeil jacquard to mimic the idea of age without relenting to an overwrought vintage fashion concept. Urrutia asserted that fabric considerations are rooted in the idea that he’s doing ‘Chanel for the boys’ and giving his customers access to a level of craft that one would typically find in high-end women’s wear. 


“I wanted to toe this thin line of playing with perceived femininity in a way that I take the stuffing out of it, so it’s not as precious and kind of Americanised,” said Urrutia from his studio in Bologna, Italy. 


How did you begin this collection?

Menswear is all about being tactile and the usage of a garment. But I wanted to make it so guys aren’t afraid to wear sequin shorts or feathers or fabrics that are only used for ball gowns and use this in an American camp shirt. I also like to play with proportions like making things cropped in a  particular way to lengthen your silhouette. I feel like it’s a little sexy.


How has your process changed? 

In my previous career, I worked for Engineered Garments and Needles and we had limited access to fabrics because we did everything in America. I wanted to push the existing scenario of Made in the USA to do something new. With my own label, I’m able to do things that I was dreaming about for so long. I love the things that exist in women’s wear and the handful of brands that – I don’t want to say elevated, but do something that is so beautiful. It’s like, if these brands stopped using certain mills then the idea of craft would die. For me, there’s that human quality to it. 


What was the most challenging aspect of designing this collection?

I have to work quite early. I’ve already seen two mills for Fall-Winter 2024. If I don’t work in advance, I’m the last in line and that’s a really big challenge for me because when I was styling this season and photographing the collection, I’m already working on next season. It makes the process harder for me but it’s the most necessary thing for me to make this as special as I can.


How does it feel to show in Paris for the first time?

It wasn’t even a fantasy for me to think about officially showing in Paris. I was always very realistic about the logistical process. I thought I’ll show in Milan because I’m making the collection in Bologna. But, you know, it’s Paris; it’s like the champions league. My wife and the people I work with in Italy said, “Hey, you’re showing in Paris. Not a lot of people can say that.” That moment of joy makes me feel like it’s starting to be a good ride. A lot of the hard work I’ve put in the last three years feels like it's starting to pay off.


Where would you like to see changes in fashion this season and beyond? 

I never went to fashion school and I don’t have any formal training. Something that I hope young kids understand as the world opens up is that you need to have emotional stamina. If you're passionate about this business, you physically push yourself but there’s an emotional stamina alongside that. I’m a first generation El Salvadorian so all I know is to work, and that has helped me for this path. I don’t know anything other than to work hard and not get bogged down by the emotional meat of it. I hope that people who have a voice can really say that out loud because I think that people in the fashion industry need to be kinder to themselves. 


This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.