WORDS BY JOSEPH FURNESS
Whether you spend your free time flicking through the pages of menswear magazines, scrolling through Instagram or roaming the streets of up-and-coming neighbourhoods, there’s a high chance you’ve come across the Gallery Dept. logo. Curious to learn more about the brand? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Who is Josué Thomas?
Behind Gallery Dept. is Black LA-based designer, Josué Thomas. The child of two artists, Thomas often speaks about his passion for vintage fashion and innate desire to create. He spends countless hours in his 6000 square foot studio/showroom located on Beverly Boulevard repurposing vintage pieces, turning each garb into a contemporary gem.
Josué Thomas is also a DJ, musician, painter, furniture designer and photographer. He commits time to all of his hobbies, and any creative endeavour that forms into a tangible manifestation is placed under the Gallery Dept. name. Essentially, the brand is a space for Josué Thomas’ ideas to come to life.
When did Gallery Dept. start?
Although the brand was officially founded in 2017, Josué Thomas sold his first piece a year prior. The piece in question was a hand-sewn denim poncho that the designer famously sold to Johnny Depp’s stylist. Now, stylists across the globe are queuing up to work with Thomas – ever since he established his brand, his apparel has been spotted on the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Hailey Bieber, Offset, Virgil Abloh and Jack Grealish.
What was Josué Thomas up to before he founded Gallery Dept.?
Josué Thomas has a background in fashion that informs his approach to his own label: the designer once worked at Ralph Lauren, but, like many Black creatives, felt as though he was restricted by a glass ceiling, so he decided to explore his capabilities by working for himself.
In 2016 – around the time he sold his first piece – the multifaceted creative was busy DJing and making music. Still to this day, Thomas experiments with music under the moniker ‘Art That Kills’ – this also happens to be one of the most popular slogans printed on Gallery Dept. pieces.
What are the best Gallery Dept. pieces?
Each Gallery Dept. piece is fashioned using vintage apparel in the brand’s store-cum-office located in Los Angeles, California. The brand’s through-line aesthetic is one of art and DIY: the brand boasts collections decorated with paint splatters and brushstrokes, tie-dye patterns, patches, askew prints and thought-provoking slogans.
Below, we run you through our selection of the best Gallery Dept. pieces.
As mentioned above, ‘Art That Kills’ is both a thought-provoking slogan Josué Thomas uses to adorn his designs and the moniker he uses when creating music. Here, we have a simple white tee enlivened by the phrase printed on the chest in an eye-catching red hue. We mean, what’s not to like?
Josué Thomas and his team possess the ability to elevate almost any garb – take these Gallery Dept. paint-splattered logo-print shorts, for example. By simply adding a few gingerly placed paint splatters and the Gallery Dept. logo to the shorts, the piece goes from lost and found shorts to must-have vacation essential.
We love an unfussy throw-on-and-go hoodie: we’re talking about the kind you wear to the coffee shop, the hotel breakfast buffet and to visit your grandparents. This grey drop-shoulder logo hoodie from Gallery Dept. is perfect for all of those occasions and more, which is why it’s the new staple in our cosy autumn/winter wardrobe.
Think all Gallery Dept. pieces are of a pared-back design? Well, you can think again. This Gallery Dept. windbreaker makes a statement with its conspicuous floral design that serves serious sixties vibes. Woodstock-themed party, anybody?
We're a sucker for a silk shirt, especially if it stands out from the crowd. The Gallery Dept. flame-print silk shirt is a sure-fire option that’s loud, proud and guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser. We want it now.
The Gallery Dept. 5001 slim-fit jeans are the kind you’ll appreciate every time you wear them. To make the 5001s, Josué Thomas and co. take a pair of classic Levi’s 501 jeans and rework them to create a slimmer, narrower fit that pairs well with all kinds of contemporary pieces.
Want your jeans to be the standout component of your outfit? May we recommend Gallery Dept.’s tie-dye jeans? These groovy straight-leg trousers combine bright tones of blue, orange, yellow and purple to create a look that’s hard to miss.
What are the best Lanvin x Gallery Dept. pieces?
In 2021, Gallery Dept. partnered with luxury French fashion house Lanvin on a limited-edition capsule collection. The collaboration saw Josué Thomas upgrade new and signature Lanvin pieces using his art-inspired aesthetic.
Below, we list the four standout pieces from the collaborative collection.
Josué Thomas injects some fun into Lanvin’s timeless black biker jacket silhouette as part of the limited collaboration. The business-in-the-front-party-in-the-back garb features a Lanvin logo patch and the word ‘Dept’ written in metallic studs on the rear of the jacket, as well as assorted ‘G’ and ‘L’ patches on the elbow.
The term ‘everyday luxury’ is encapsulated in this Lanvin x Gallery Dept. Kraft paper bag that’s patently inspired by the humble grocery bag. This piece, in particular, is brought to life by vibrant triangular shapes and miscellaneous graphics that overlap the archetypal Lanvin branding.
The second Kraft-inspired bag in the Lanvin x Gallery Dept. collection successfully combines the identity of the two brands by adorning the Lanvin accessory with colourful brushstrokes and a French take on the Gallery Dept. logo. Some may call it a masterstroke.
Josué Thomas brings his artistic skills and passion for colour to Lanvin’s sneaker line, brightening up pairs of tonal sneakers with paint splatter designs. We particularly love this white leather lace-up sneaker beautified by dramatic splashes of colour.