It was in Los Angeles, sometime in spring 2016 when the new streetwear brand Maison Trap was established by Ellie Nahum and Raphel Young. Both LA natives and equipped with experiences in the fashion scene, they soon realized that they share the same vision for a premium streetwear brand. The result is a collection of 23 pieces, offered in multiple colorways that are produced in Downtown Los Angeles. “Los Angeles serves as a huge inspiration and motivation for us. We are also driven by the concept of creating unique and versatile designs created entirely in the city that we’re from.” We had a chat with co-founder Raphel Young about the questions of quality and what distinguishes their label from others.

  

"Lost Angeles" collection
Photo: Maison Trap
"Lost Angeles" collection

When and why did you start Maison Trap? Tell us about your idea, your background, and motivation.

Ellie had previously owned popular streetwear label, Trap House.  They had seen success with their graphic tees and snapback hats and had developed a following with celebrities like Asap Rocky, Mac Miller, and Justin Bieber.  After a life-threatening health scare, Ellie was forced to step away from the brand for a few years.  Once he fully recovered, he wanted to re-enter the fashion industry, but with a more high-end approach to streetwear.

Ellie Nahum
Photo: Maison Trap
Ellie Nahum
Ellie and I were introduced by mutual friends and soon realized that we shared the same vision for a premium streetwear brand.  We both bring unique and similar skillsets to the table, with my history of brand development and creative direction for streetwear labels, and his history in creating a successful brand.  

Since the new approach is an upper echelon take on the previous Trap House label, we decided on the name Maison Trap, giving the label an international and high-end appeal with the same meaning.

Ellie and I are both LA natives, so the city of Los Angeles serves as a huge inspiration and motivation for us.  We are also driven by the concept of creating unique and versatile designs created entirely in the city that we’re from.

“Our plan is to transcend the label of “street fashion” to become an accessible high fashion brand.”

Raphel Young

What distinguished the label from others? Why do you think the world needs another street fashion label?

I believe that our fabrications and silhouettes make us different from our contemporaries.  Our cut and sew tees are unique to anything on the market.  We also like to play with proportions, pairing skinny ripped denim with an oversized parka, or baggy fit neoprene trousers with a fitted wool letterman jacket.

In addition to a new approach to fit and design, Maison Trap has the solid balance of administration and creative that many brands don’t have.  Our strategies regarding content and communication allow us to be front and center with the consumer and will be the ultimate compliment to our future retail partners, as we will help them move product off of shelves through constant content and PR and marketing efforts.

The truth is, the world does not need another street fashion label, but our plan is to transcend the label of “street fashion” to become an accessible high fashion brand.

 

"Lost Angeles" collection
Photo: Maison Trap
"Lost Angeles" collection

Tell us about your design process. How is it like? What inspires you?

I work with our chief designer to write a line list with the target amount of design categories and items. Through a process that involves a lot of caffeine and other substances, we create designs based on color forecasts, luxury market trends, and just what we’re inspired by every day in LA.  We then go to Downtown LA’s Fashion District to swatch colors in our desired seasonal fabric.  After that, we create sketches for new design ideas and put them on croquis. If we’re pleased with the way those look, we’ll move forward with development.

 

Design croquis
Photo: Maison Trap
Design croquis

What consumer do you have in mind for your designs?

Our consumer is fashion forward, has a strong appetite for designer product, and appreciates quality.

 

What material do you work with and why?

We work with virgin wool, calf suede, American-made cone selvedge cotton indigo denim, riri zippers, silk charmeuse for lining, and neoprene. We chose these fabrics for their premium look and hand. We also want to work with quality fabrics that stand the test of time.

 

"Lost Angeles" collection
Photo: Maison Trap
"Lost Angeles" collection

What are the key items of the collection?

Our key items include medium weight luxury knit cut-and-sew tees, 13-ounce virgin wool outwear, and calf suede “dad” style hats.

 

What is the price range for the pieces and through which store should the collection be sold?

Our prices range from about $150 to $1,000, with hats priced around $240, outwear around $800, and denim $176 to $710.

We have received interests from stores like Kith NYC, The Webster in Miami, DOM in West Hollywood, and RSVP Gallery in Chicago to carry the line.

 

"Lost Angeles" collection
Photo: Maison Trap
"Lost Angeles" collection

Which plans do you have in terms of expansion?

We are planning on a flagship store in the near future, and we are also looking into a children’s line and a full athleisure extension of Maison Trap.