Mr. Robot has become one of the most influential shows on American television. With 2 seasons (and renewal for a third), it has proven itself to be iconic in the pop culture world. But, one of the most iconic pieces about this show has to be the infamous black hoodie worn by Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek) throughout both seasons.
It wasn’t until a recent interview with costume designer, Catherine Marie Thomas, that the name B:SCOTT surfaced once again in the world of Mr. Robot. Could this be the man who created the now infamous hoodie worn by our favorite anti-hero? I decided to dig deep into the 1’s and 0’s of the World Wide Web to find a way to connect with LA-based designer, Brandon Scott.
NICK: Hello friend. So, first and foremost, tell me a little bit about Scott x Scott and the two brands launched under that umbrella (B:SCOTT and Sarah Scott).
BRANDON: Well, Scott x Scott started with B:SCOTT in 2008. So, basically my entire family lost their job during that whole market crash [in 2008]. I had an opportunity to launch my own company under my own name; because, before I had been a designer for B. Son out of San Francisco. So, what had happened was, I had this opportunity in Los Angeles, I moved here on a whim and we started with B:SCOTT. That’s where the hoodie came from. From me designing my first collection out here in Los Angeles. We did that for about 4 years; but, the way this industry was changing from year to year was so rapid. It wasn’t about going to trade shows, doing line sheets and doing photoshoots; it was really about stores having their own brands and their own clothing companies within their stores.
We saw our market share being lost from each store every year, so, we decided to do private label. And, that’s really when the name changed to Scott x Scott, and we started doing design/production for clothing companies/boutiques around the world. That really saved our company from going under. That’s how it all started, really.
B:SCOTT and Sarah Scott are our own collections. We’re relaunching them, and that will be primarily on our own website/in-house. We’re kind of just doing everything ourselves these days and not really depending on trying to have stores sell our product; but, rather selling stores their own product line.
NICK: Wow. That’s unbelievable! On top of collaborating with Yeezy, Adidas and Urban Outfitters; you’ve created materials for Usher, Iggy Azalea and M83. When did you start seeing a transition from working with clothing companies to other artists/musicians?
BRANDON: Well, that really happened from designing B:SCOTT, and meeting new friends in similar industries that appreciated my work. My friends would recommend me to the artist and they [other artists] saw the collection I was making and they were using those pieces for Coachella, Usher used it for his BET Awards performance and Iggy Azalea, we made jackets for her music videos. So, it really started from having our own collection and [other artists] seeing that we had talent in designing our own collection; and, they’re like: “I wanna wear that!” Luckily, we have a lot of friends in the industry who helped connect the dots with those people.
NICK: That’s the biggest thing. That friendly connection you have with those around you, or those you meet along the way. I can definitely say that even speaking to you via email, you have this friendly vibe about you from the get-go.
BRANDON: I appreciate that. You know, I’ve basically been in sales my entire life. I’ve gone from selling TV’s at Circuit City to working at restaurants, to selling my own collection, and, I’ve always found that customer service is SO important. Being open with people and having an open conversation is half the battle. Avoiding emails and phone calls really isn’t a great way to run your business. You need to be able to talk to anyone.
NICK: Alright, let’s talk Mr. Robot…can you set the scene for when you were first approached to design this mysterious hoodie worn by the lead character?
BRANDON: But, I had met Gina Battoglia (before she was asst. costume designer for Mr. Robot) at a trunk show we did in New York for our friend Aleah Speranza at the Hoodie Shop. Gina had emailed Aleah to get a hold of me about what had happened with my hoodie and how they needed more for their main character [Elliot].
So, what happened was, they were like: “How do we find this B:SCOTT designer?” Somehow they knew through that store and that show, they knew how to connect to me. And, it was all because Rami [Malek] wore it first.
I don’t know where he got it! I want to say he got it at that shop, or, he might’ve gotten it at a sample sale out here. But, that’s how it all started. A small world of small connections that I made in New York.
NICK: Did you get any information about Mr. Robot before you contributed the hoodie to their wardrobe department?
BRANDON: None! I knew Sam Esmail was a part of it, and I was like: “Dude, I’m stoked to hear that (obviously).” Nothing else was told to me.
When you deal with TV shows or movies, yeah, maybe the piece is in one scene (which is great). I thought, okay cool, I’ll have a piece in one scene of the show. I was just stoked to be a part of it! And then, I started seeing the billboards and I was like: “woah.” *laughing* “This guy is wearing my hoodie on the billboard and in the ads!” Once I started seeing all of the ads, I was truly blown away at what the show was actually about and how it relates to our generation of people anywhere from 15 to 40. I’ve never in my lifetime seen a garment that is the main piece throughout a full season (or seasons)! It was mind-blowing. Especially when they told me the title Mr. Robot; I was like, okay, this is kind of a weird title. I had no context until the ads came out. But, as we all now know, the show is incredible and I’m extremely stoked to be a part of it.
NICK: And, do you feel like you relate to the character Elliot (played by Rami Malek) at all? It seems as though there might be some subtle similarities.
BRANDON: Yeah, I feel like a lot of us are upset with how the government and this world sometimes works. There are these horrible things that powerful people do, and you can’t do anything about it. Yet here comes this show and this character that makes you really feel like there’s hope in changing what all these people fucked up. And, I feel like it’s because of his [Elliot] education in technology and how he’s struggling to survive through the day-to-day. That’s what a lot of our youth and I definitely went through. Not knowing where my next paycheck was going to come from when I was in my twenties. How in 2008, with all this crap making these algorithms fucked over everyone. It was just these people trying to get rich and they didn’t give a fuck about anyone. It just really made me relate to what Rami [Elliott] was doing on the show and how there needs to be someone fighting back for us. I really related to that.
NICK: That’s the thing, though! There are so many people who relate to this character for so many different reasons; but, they all fall under the umbrella of finding a way to “fight back.”
BRANDON: Exactly! And, I feel like this show -*laughing*- it’s crazy! They (The Aldersons) have their own family business. It’s [Mr. Robot] based on people whose family got screwed and they’re finding a way to fight back…with our business [Scott x Scott], we are doing the same thing. We make all of our garments in America. We’re fighting against making things overseas. And, we do it all with our family. We don’t have any investors or anything; and, we’ve been in business for almost 8 years now. It’s a great feeling! But, people of our generation need to know that it’s about doing it for yourself. You don’t need to work for a large corporation to be happy and successful these days.
NICK: I read in a recent interview that Elliot himself (Rami Malek), refuses to wear any other hoodie due to the comfort of the B:SCOTT hoodie and the connection he has with it. Can you tell us a little about the process of making the perfect hoodie for the character, or anyone really?
BRANDON: Well, first of all…that quote is amazing. It blows me away that all of this is happening, and, I’m very thankful for what Rami has done for me!
You know, the crazy thing is…there is no perfect hoodie. Because, every human being is different. No one’s the same fit. No one’s the same size. It may be perfect for Rami, and the character and fit for him; but, there are people where that hoodie might not have the same fit as it is on Rami.
But, the thing about the hoodie is more than just the fit. It’s about the feeling you get when you’re in the hoodie. On the show [Mr. Robot], it’s more about it almost being a cloak. It’s almost like Superman’s disguise. It’s something that makes you feel shielded or protected from the world or society.
Saying there’s a perfect hoodie in the world with being in design for almost 15-20 years, I can tell you that nothing fits everyone perfectly. But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be great quality, made in America, and genuine materials helping my country get back to where it was.
NICK: Since Mr. Robot, have you designed any other pieces for television or film?
BRANDON: At the moment, no. Not right now. We do a lot of work for clothing companies and we are relaunching our own brands. But, no one has really hit me up to do any sort of TV shows or films right now.
You know, I’m okay with it, though. I’m happy where our company is and all of the success with Mr. Robot. I take it all with a grain of salt and I don’t expect anything grandeur to come from this; I’m just happy with what’s happened so far!
NICK: It’s interesting too, because, the last time I’ve seen something like this it’s been within the shoe culture side of the fashion world. But, there’s been this movement surrounding this one garment that’s become iconic just after a season and a half of this television show. It must truly be an awesome feeling.
BRANDON: Oh my God. It is SO surreal. Being a designer, I try to design artistic pieces and pieces that make me feel things. When I made this hoodie, it was a liner for a more complex jacket. It wasn’t even the main course! To see something of mine that was unintentionally used for something else to become so iconic because of this story behind the show is…is…I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s not because of the fashion world; it’s because of this story and a lot of people relating to this specific character. It’s just more than I could’ve ever dreamed.
NICK: It also encompasses the struggle that everyone wants a good hoodie in their repertoire.
BRANDON: *laughing* Yeah! That’s so true.
NICK: So, what’s next for B:SCOTT?
BRANDON: We’re really just going to release pieces that I designed and that I love mostly just on our site. Because, I feel like I want my clothing to be more of an art form for me. A painter has his canvas, and this is my canvas to release more artistic pieces that I want to make. But, we do a lot of production for a lot of other companies; so, everyday I make clothing and I have a side of business where I’m comfortable [financially]. I really just want my brand to be pieces that come from my head, show vision and are different.
NICK: Well, I truly believe that B:SCOTT is a collection to keep an eye on and I believe that it will wind up in a lot of folks wardrobe over time.
BRANDON: I mean, I would love that. That’s a big part of doing this, you know, having people appreciate the work that you do and showing others that it is possible to live by doing what you love.
VISIT: http://www.scottxscott.com/ to stay updated as to when B:SCOTT will launch its next collection.
BE SURE TO WATCH SEASON 2 OF MR. ROBOT ON USA. WEDNESDAYS AT 10/9c.