Our latest design collaborators—a pair of Brooklyn-based menswear purveyors—share the meaning behind their name, the parallels between fashion and home decor, and their healthy obsession with palm leaves.
Brothers Emil and Sandy Corsillo founded The Hill-Side nearly a decade ago as a creative outlet for their love of textiles and workwear. But what started as a side project quickly grew into a booming full-time business, with brand partnerships, the opening of a Williamsburg storefront, and GQ’s title of “Best New Menswear Designers in America.” We had a feeling that their cool, classic aesthetic would feel right at home on our furniture and housewares, and we were right. From bedding and rugs to a modern bookcase-room divider, each design feels like a breath of fresh air. “We wanted it to be full of pieces that would make you (or your guests) smile when you come home to them,” he says. Here’s what else Emil had to say about their latest collaboration.
When and how did you start designing together, and where does the name “The Hill-Side” come from?
“We started working together in 2007-2008 as the ideas for The Hill-Side and our online store, Hickoree’s, were coming together. Sandy started the company and then asked me to join him. Both of us had full-time jobs at the time, so these were really night and weekend projects for us at the beginning. The Hill-Side is a re-working of the name of the street we grew up on: Hillside Avenue. We liked the idea of naming our brand after something personal and nostalgic, and then we added “The” and the hyphen to make the name sound like an old American workwear brand.”
How was the process of designing home decor products similar to and/or different than designing fashion?
“This project made us realize how much we rely on intuition when we’re designing clothing, because we quickly found out that we didn’t have strong, confident instincts about home products. I didn’t know if the printed patterns we were proposing would be too loud or over-the-top once they were applied to sheets or an upholstered chair, and it really took a combination of good luck and the trust and confidence of the CB2 team to make it all work. But once the first prototypes arrived, the process became much more natural for us and our intuition came back. We’re pretty good at looking at an existing thing and editing, revising, etc. regardless of the medium.”
We love that you found inspiration for a rug in a favorite shirt. In general, do you think people are drawn to similar styles in what they wear and how they decorate their home?
“It’s hard to say what other people are drawn to, but for us the answer is “yes and no.” We have much more white and grey in our apartments than we actually wear, but we’re also very attracted to the same navy and indigo color palettes that comprise two-thirds of our wardrobes. I think the interesting experiment in this project was definitely about asking that question: Will people be interested in home decor products that draw inspiration from clothing? Are those two worlds of taste and style transferable?”
Speaking of trends, what 3-5 trends feel fresh for 2016?
“We try not to think or talk about trends too much, because we feel it can be counterproductive to real creativity. But at the same time we’re always observing the world around us and noticing what people are wearing. I don’t know if anything in our CB2 collection is particularly “on trend’ for 2016, but I know that we’re definitely working with a lot of muted, desaturated, washed-out colors in our own Spring 2016 clothing collection. I think you see that in some of the CB2 pieces we designed too. We’re always fans of floral or botanical prints—obviously—and we’re pushing a new leafy printed pattern for Spring ’16 that our sister drew for us. If it had been ready in time, that new print would’ve made a killer sofa or rug pattern!”
Back in the days of Palm Beach chic, people seemed to only decorate their homes with tropical patterns if they lived in beachy climates. Why isn’t that the case anymore?
“No idea! If we had a winter getaway in a warm, beachy place I think we would cover the walls with our Palm Leaves print and our CB2 bedding would be in every bedroom. We definitely had this idea in mind when we were designing the collection. We imagined our sheet sets, for example, working as part of a really fun beachfront home, but also be able to work as the one “loud” thing in an otherwise neutral, minimal, modern apartment.”
Your designs feel very gender-neutral and easy to live with. Is that what you were going for, and what mood do you think they set in a home?
“We design clothing for men, but women buy a lot of our stuff, too. So I think there’s already something about our vibe that women latch onto. But for this project we realized that when a person (male or female) buys home products, they’re often not just shopping for themselves. They’ve also got to confer with a wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend. So we definitely had it in mind that our CB2 collection would need to be more unisex than our clothing. But we also knew that if it skewed a bit masculine, that maybe the same women who appreciate our clothing would dig this too.”