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San Jose Designers Reform Street Wear
Fashion Designers: Ryan Mante and Christian Lilleland
Line: Breezy Excursion
Before they were business partners, Ryan Mante and Christian Lilleland were just a couple of college co-eds struggling to make rent. Thus began their venture towards a memorable clothing brand. Both being from San Jose, they shared the love for their hometown and appreciated the talent within. Turning to nostalgic memories, and love for basketball, the duo has continued to create unique pieces of T-shirts and hats. They translate their experiences and reminiscences into an art form. From pictures of ball players like Larry Bird, to quirky sayings, Breezy Excursion proves they are on top of their game when it comes to designing street wear.
Helium: What does fashion mean to you?
Breezy Excursion: “Fashion is an expression of who the individual is.”
H: How did Breezy Excursion get started? How long has [clothing line] been establish?
BE: Two and a half years ago, I started a smaller operation from a dream I had, ‘literally’. I had a dream that I was selling shirts made of gold, and people were fighting over them.” I was $600 behind rent, woke up from that dream, and immediately got to work on some shirts. I started in the paint program, designing T-shirts, and called up the printing company. Unable to make rent, Christian offered to share his place with me. He supported me with the ideas I had. So we have been going on two years now.
H: Who do you imagine wearing Breezy Excursion?
BE: 18-25 year old males- kids into Urban streetwear and unique pieces. And, this Augsust we are previewing our new women’s line
H: How does Breezy Excursion represent San Jose and the Bay Area?
BE: Whenever we are asked about our clothing line, we proudly mention San Jose specifically, not the [broader] Bay Area like some people say. We also run club events and a radio station.
H: What led to the name “Breezy Excursion”?
BE: I was looking through fonts, and where they display the sample sentence read, ‘We were on a breezy excursion’. It was so random; but when I saw it, the name just stuck!
H: What was your inspiration for this line?
BE: Our inspiration for the fall line is called “I love this game” based a lot from basketball, the “Monstars” of Space Jam, and old memories of nostalgia. The spring/summer line “Vol. 2 Wrestling was Fresh” was inspired from wrestling as well as basketball. We wanted to hit it right without being cheesy.
H: Where can people purchase your clothing?
BE: Locally, you can find it at Workman’s Balance in Eastridge Mall and Aristocrats in Japantown. It is also found in Los Angeles, Stockton, San Francisco, as well as cross-country, and Italy, Russia and Japan. You can also purchase their merchandise on our website www.breezyexcursion.com
H: What is your ultimate goal for Breezy Excursion?
BE: Considering how fast we have grown, the sky’s the limit. We want to become a highly respected T-shirt brand. We want to be known as ‘the brand of San Jose’.
H: What’s next for Breezy Excursion?
BE: The Magic Tradeshow in Las Vegas August 29th through September 2nd. There, we’ll be showing our collection of clothes, as well as a handful of tees for women.
With two collections under their belt (literally), and a women’s line in the works, Breezy Excursion shows that old school is very much in. While the road to their success was rough and somewhat whimsical, Ryan and Christian persist in their quest for expansion. They continue relating to people through their unique clothing and “80’s babies” appeal, while constantly recognizing the city they know and love, San Jose.
Interview by Jenn Elias
Clifford Grodin – photographer
Tim Walker – photographer
Sebastian Vido – photographer
Esther Au – makeup
Briana Romero – Sketch Artist
Aj Hasan – model
Keoke Pamintuan – model
Christian Garrucho – model
Andrea Henneman – lighting aid
Mercedes Cruz – assistant
Matthew Mountford – Event Manager