Joy and optimism is the focus in the BOSS x Justin Teodoro collection where he gives free rein to his imagination. Options discovers more about the designer and his thought process behind the collection.

This year has been one that will go down in history as the year no one will ever forget. While we cope with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, BOSS collaborates with New York-based artist and illustrator Justin Teodoro to present a collection that will give our flagging spirits a much-needed lift.

The BOSS x Justin Teodoro collection embodies everything that is happy, joyful, and playful. Teodoro achieves this with two fun motifs: a pink heart and a blue star. These symbols represent love and dreams in a multi-channel campaign that will also feature an exclusive BOSS capsule collection for men and women.

In hot pink and vivid blue, Teodoro’s heart and star prints feature across the BOSS x Justin Teodoro capsule collection as they stand out against classic black and winter white. Along with a hand-drawn reinterpretation of the BOSS logo, the heart and the star appear both individually and as an all-over print, on shirts, skirts, bags, and more.

Highlights of the collection include a heart-print blouse with a tie neck, leather sneakers with printed soles, a reversible hooded jacket that can be worn in both bold and understated style, and a choice of heart and star iPhone covers.

“It has been a fluid and collaborative process from the start, and I am very excited,” says Teodoro. “Having my hand in such a wide scope, from prints to visuals and store windows, this was really a dream project for me.”

The designer tells Options about his experience working on the collaboration.

How did your relationship with Hugo Boss start?
I knew Ingo Wilts [chief brand officer for Hugo Boss] from when our paths crossed when I worked in fashion. In early 2019, he reached out to me about a project which I eventually learned would be the BOSS collaboration. I next had a meeting with Ingo where we discussed the full scope of the project, which all was very exciting to me. I started sketching my ideas over that summer, sharing them with Ingo for feedback. By that fall, the ideas had become more solidified, so I then started to work with the BOSS design team on artwork, print and visual ideas. It was a very organic process working with the team, and I always felt supported to keep my vision and my point of view.

The BOSS x Justin Teodoro collection is described as bringing joy and optimism to the holiday season. Is this your take on why we all need a bit of cheer at a very challenging time?
I try to always imbue my own work with a sense of light and positivity, because that is just how I naturally approach my work. I really believe it is especially important to have that positive message, not only for this holiday collection, but also during these difficult times. We need that joy, especially in today’s world, and people are gravitating towards that nowadays more than ever.

How did you approach this project with Hugo Boss? What was the creative process?
The project really started as an open conversation about what it was going to be. I really enjoy these dialogues where ideas can be shared back and forth and I felt a lot of support from the BOSS team who wanted to make sure I put my own creative DNA into it. So, it really felt like a true partnership. Once we settled on a design idea, I just sketched and sketched a lot of drawings, and shared those ideas with them, and we just had this great fluid creative process from there.

This is my first big 360° campaign project on a global level, so I am very excited about that. I have done collaborations before, but this would be the first with my name really attached to it. Having my hand in such a wide scope — from prints to visuals and store windows — was really a dream for me. This project would give me the chance to show my personality and style, while also partnering with such a global brand like BOSS that has such a huge reach.

Who is this collection aimed at?

This collection is aimed at the BOSS customer who wants something with a touch of whimsy and heart and emotion. What I love about this collaboration was that it combines the best of both worlds — amazing designs by BOSS that its customer can instantly click with, mixed with my illustrative touch on it to add a fun sense of individuality.

If you had to choose one item in this collection, what would you pick and why?
It has been really cool to see the whole collection come together. I love the prints a lot and how they mix into the designs. I really like the accessories and am excited about those white sneakers with the stars on them — definitely a must for me.

Is there a deeper reason behind the heart and star motifs? What is the significance?
It started in those first conversations — the idea to create symbols or motifs that capture that holiday, out-of-this-world spirit. So, the motifs of the heart and star came to be. I then just started drawing a lot of different hearts and stars, making characters out of them and mixing them up with my version of the BOSS logo. Once we landed on that vibe that felt “me” but still worked within the BOSS world, I worked with the teams on all the prints and visual ideas. It was great to have that support from everyone to make sure that the work was always feeling very “me”.

What or who inspires you?

I draw inspiration from a lot of things — music, film, fashion, art, people. They are definitely the themes that run throughout my work. But it could even be a random inspiration that strikes me. I always think of art as a conversation, so the inspirations can take a lot of different and exciting turns as you go along.

Is it correct to say that you have moved from designing to illustrating? What is the synergy between the two?
It was really just about finding my place in the industry and within my own work. When I was working in design, I was still drawing but it wasn’t my own style. I always felt I had to keep the fashion (my day job) separate from my art (the night job). It was very Bruce Wayne/Batman. But after eight years of working in fashion, I felt I needed a change. I just started drawing for myself again, almost re-discovering it, and that allowed me to see that I could combine my love of fashion and art.

What brings you joy and what makes you optimistic?
I tried to find joy in anything that makes me happy — my family, friends, music, art. I think one thing I have really felt and seen during these difficult times is how people are connecting and reconnecting in ways they might not have before. I think seeing everyone supporting each other — be it through more long-distance Zoom/FaceTime calls with loved ones or communities rallying together to support those in need — it does give me that sense of hope and optimism for how we will come out on the other side.

What’s coming up for you in 2021?

I always just try to keep my creative momentum going — I have a few pro- jects in work and am always making sure that I am drawing as much as I can and being inspired. But more importantly what I am looking forward to the most is 2021 being the year when we can all be finally re-connected with family, friends and loved ones.