Chris Echevarria of Blackstock & Weber on the Items He Can’t Live Without

Canned Gatorade, Air Force 1s and of course...loafers

October 18, 2023 12:33 pm
Chris Echevarria on a pink and gray background

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Welcome to a new series where we sit down and chat with cool, influential and interesting people who have great taste, to hear about the products they love the most.

We’re kicking off the series with an interview from Chris Echevarria, the creator and founder of the menswear brand Blackstock & Weber. Chris essentially created the loafer boom that has cropped up over the last few years. He decided to take inspiration from classic sneakers and created a thicker soled shoe meant for modern menswear style. The unique silhouette managed to be a perfect blend of both streetwear and classic menswear aesthetics. The brand has collaborated with J.Crew, JJJJound, BBC, Kith and much more. Back in September, Chris was also named the creative director of Sperry, so it’s only a matter of time before he completely reshapes the way we think about boat shoes. We spoke about some of his favorite everyday items including the loafer, finishing salts, incense, Japanese magazines, Gatorade and more.

This Mets cap is the hat that I wear every day. The story of me becoming a Mets fan is kind of crazy. So my boss at J.Crew liquor store had tickets to a Mets game. And the day we were supposed to go to the game his wife went into labor and he was like, “I can’t go anymore.” So he gave me the tickets. I had just gotten to New York, so I didn’t know anybody. So I ended up going to the Mets game by myself. And when I got there just the vibe of the whole stadium had this sort of togetherness. It’s a feeling that didn’t hit me at Yankee Stadium. So from that day on I became a Mets fan. 

They don’t make this navy blue and white colorway often. Stores will sometimes order this custom. So I would go to the hood spots because they would have different custom colors. If you go to the hood fitted shops, they have all these colors and they’re rare colors that people order. If you ever see somebody with the red and black Yankees fitted, someone at the hood spot put that together. The custom navy blue and white is literally my favorite headgear. I am in this hat so much that somebody saw me on the street and I wasn’t wearing the hat and they were like, “I didn’t recognize you.”

My homegirl put me onto this. I went to her house one day and she was burning them. I was like, “What the fuck is that?” That smells amazing. She told me, “I just got these papers off the internet.” So she gave me three sheets to take home. I started burning ’em in my house and sooner or later I ran out of those three sheets. So I ordered the 10 pack and everybody that came to my house or my office was like, “What is that that you’re burning?”

It became such a staple that I needed to know who was making this. So I reached out to the company and it’s literally one-person who makes every incense book. One person makes the formulation for the scent. He runs this one person operation and he makes some of the best incense paper that you’ll ever smell in your life. And it’s hard for him to keep up with the demand because it’s so good. It’s handcrafted in the USA.

The first time that I interacted with a Tembea bag was in San Francisco. There’s this home goods store called Heath Ceramics. I stopped there to go get some stuff and they had this Japanese market inside where they were selling different goods. They had these canvas bags and I went over and I touched them. There’s something about being a designer or creative, when you touch something, you kind of create these bonds to that item. 

Maybe you’ve been looking for something like that for a long time and you can’t really get that thing. You either have to make it or you just have to wait until that thing finds you. So when I touched this canvas bag, This was the thing that I’ve been wanting my whole life. I remember I had this other bag with me. I remember taking all of my stuff out of that bag and putting it in the Tembea bag. That was 2018. Since the moment that I touched that bag, I always wanted to do a collab with this company.

I honestly believe that I’m in a creative space where I know so much that I can push the boundaries. I really wanted to — at least through the loafer — create this thing that can be kind of reinterpreted in a whole slew of different ways. So if you look at our brand partners, no other company that sits where we sit can partner with such a wide breadth of genres. We do JJJJound, we do J.Crew, we do Kith. How can you as a brand attack those different genres? You have to scale everything back and the product itself has to be really good. If you have something that nobody can deny, then everybody’s going to want a piece of it, especially if we can give it to somebody and they can tell their story through it. When I was designing this shoe and when I was thinking about the loafer, I wanted this to be the Air Force One of men’s fashion. And I feel like I’ve accomplished that fairly quickly.

I try to stay away from plastic as much as I can. I feel like there’s no plastic seeping into your drink with this. It also just gets really cold. It also has this retro feel to it. I got introduced to the canned Gatorade when I went to the Nike campus. When you go to the Jordan building, they have all the retro cans. 

I saw that and I needed the canned Gatorade in my house. So I found them on Amazon and I got them delivered on a rotation. Gatorades are just really important to me because I start my day with a jacuzzi for 30 minutes, and then I go to the sauna for 30 minutes. You just lose a lot of sweat and stuff. You also lose a lot of electrolytes. So Gatorade helps keep me balanced.

So when I was working at J, crew liquor store a bunch of interesting people would come in there. One of the really interesting people that I met there was just fresh off a trip from Japan. I told him I really would love to go to Japan one day but I was in design school at the time. So my paper wasn’t set up like that. And that’s not a place that I would want to go with no money. So he was like, bro, here’s what you do. You go to Kinokuniya bookstore and you buy some Japanese magazines. That’s the way that you can travel to Japan without buying a plane ticket. Since that day, once a month, I would go to Kinokuniya, collect everything, come through, look through everything, and I’ve just been developing this mental log of all the stuff that I’ve loved over the years.

I am very much a child of research. I’m definitely always putting things in the back of my head and those things always kind of appear back to me whenever it’s time to use them. So the magazines have been a catalog almost. It’s also just a good way to travel the world and not feel like you’re missing anything.

A pair of Nike Air Force Ones in white is always in the closet. It’s just something that I always have even though I might not wear them all the time. It goes back to just being this kid who always wanted a pair of Nike Air Force Ones before he went to school.

I will never forget there was something that informed the way that I dressed. I was walking down the street in Paris one day and this older gentleman had on a crewneck wool sweater, a nice pair of A.P.C. jeans and a camel top coat. And on the bottom he had on a pair of white Air Force Ones. And I was like, this is the cleanest outfit I’ve ever seen. It kind of touched on everything that I sort of believe in.

I love salt. Maldon makes a great finishing salt and it just makes everything taste better. You can put it on watermelon, you can put it on a salad. Just a little crunch of salt unexpectedly in a bite of something is just crazy.

I don’t mess around when it comes to cooking. Some people would just put a little bit of this or that on a plate and serve it up. I’m trying to make the best food that you ever ate. Every single time. Don’t ask me to cook just because you’re hungry. Ask me to cook, if you want an experience.

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