7 posts tagged "HBO"
You may not know who Ian Edelman is, but you’re about to enter his world. Edelman (pictured, with Victor Rasuk) is the creator of the new HBO series How to Make It in America, which stars Bryan Greenberg, Rasuk, Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi, and Lake Bell in the red-hot center of the downtown New York art and fashion scene. Locations such as Avenue and La Esquina will feel suggestively familiar to members of the city’s real-life fashion set; so too will series story lines about, say, day-jobbing at Barneys and trying to launch a denim line. Here, Edelman talks with Style.com about American dreams, New York stories, and what he learned from the Pegleg designers.
This show strikes me as possibly autobiographical. Is Ben you? Did you make an abortive effort to launch a denim line in your twenties?
Actually, the idea for the show came from me reading about all these American success stories and getting inspired. I mean, look at Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lifshitz from the Bronx, he gets his foot in the door of the fashion industry and through sheer, you know, vision and hustle, winds up creating the first lifestyle brand. He’s an icon and a gazillionaire. And I started wondering, how would that story play out in the world I know?
Which is where the autobiographical tone comes in, I suppose. You do a good job setting up that downtown skate/art demimonde.
Yeah, well, I grew up in New York, skating, playing basketball, and I wanted to show that world off. But I’ll tell you who did have a clothing line, if you want autobiography—Stephen Levinson, who’s the executive producer of this show and of Entourage. HBO put us together after they bought the pitch for How to Make It in America, and one of the ideas he brought to the table was this story of trying to start a sportswear brand, because that was something he’d done, pre-Hollywood.
Did your original concept for the show change much through development?
The show did turn into more of an ensemble piece than I’d imagined.
I guess I’m mostly wondering if the show you’d conceived got Entourage-ed.
Well, obviously, they’ve had a ton of success with Entourage, and so there were conversations like, OK, here’s something we know works for Entourage, story-wise; is there a way we can use that? And there are similarities. But there’s a huge difference, too: How to Make It in America is not wish-fulfillment television. These guys are strivers; they get into a club because they know the bouncer, not because anybody’s a movie star.
Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags, Marc Levin’s history of the Garment District, airs tonight on HBO. After tracing the origins of the New York City rag trade back to immigrant-staffed sweatshops like the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Levin proceeds to track the rise of the Garment District—those mid-century decades when approximately 95 percent of the clothing sold in the United States was made domestically, making it the number one employer in New York City. Times, needless to say, have changed. Today, close to 95 percent of the clothing sold in the United States is made abroad, making the Garment District so much a shadow of its former self that a fight to save it from extinction is currently being waged. Schmatta tracks that devolution, as well. In so doing, the film raises important questions about how the fashion industry infrastructure we currently take for granted will be forced to adapt in the post-recession, post-Inconvenient Truth era. Here, Levin talks to Style.com about fashion as microcosm, his own rag trade genealogy, and the fact that he’s not trying to be Michael Moore.
You’ve got a lengthy filmmaking résumé, and nothing on it indicates an interest in fashion. What made you want to tell this story?
It was a curveball, actually. I went to Sheila Nevins at HBO with an idea for a documentary about hedge funds, and while we were sitting there, brainstorming, she brought up the fact that her blouse was made in China, her pants in Bangladesh, and so on. She thought there was a story there, and she suggested I go check out the Garment Center. I said, “You want me to do something on the schmatta business?” And she said, “Schmatta. Great title.” That’s how things get done, sometimes. Continue Reading “Rags Time: Marc Levin On HBO Doc Schmatta” »