CNNCTD

Pace

Pace

 Photo by Peter Pabon

Photo by Peter Pabon

If you spend enough time on Orchard street, you’ll eventually see a ominous figure walk by walking his dog, whose name happens to be tattooed on his forehead “UZI”. Always in leather, be it pants or his signature motorcycle jacket. Upon closer inspection, you’ll realize it’s not your run of the mill, off the rack jacket, pant or accessory. The leathers thicker than most, the liners a distinct blue, the extra attention to detail and even the cut and fit is more precise than most. More than likely, you’ll say “nice jacket!” and maybe bring yourself to asking him, “where’d you get it?” and he’ll respond, “I made it!”

 

This pretty much sums up Pace, who, after nearly losing his life at a early age, he realized how fleeting life is and realized that you just have to go for it and has lived life on his own term since.

 
 

CNNCTD:
Your name?

Pace:
Pace.

CNNCTD:
Where you from?

Pace:
Hollywood, California.

CNNCTD:
Nice, what do you do?

Pace:
I sell leather, Pattern make, construct, design, everything you can think of.

CNNCTD:
Why leather?

Pace:
Because I don't really care about silks and cottons. No, leather was just something that's always been a part of my life. As a kid growing up in punk, seeing those images of icons, everything like that. It just stuck in me forever. Finding that perfect fitting jacket or pant was just so important when I was a kid, that I guess it just rubbed off on me in my adult life.

 

CNNCTD:
Makes sense, and how did you get into actually working with leather ... Do you have a background in fashion?


Pace:
No, just something that I decided to do as a young adult. First moving to New York, realizing I didn't want to work in bars forever. I needed a career, and this was it. So I chose to just learn it all myself, and it's all been pretty much self funded since I've started 10 years ago and now I'm here at this point.

CNNCTD:
What did you do, did you deconstruct a jacket?


Pace:
No I bought a pattern book. It was all metric, which is what system everywhere else in the world uses, as opposed to the imperial system. And I think that's why I can get the fits that I can get, out of that book. And I just started messing with patterns on my own, and making samples, and making pieces for myself over the course of the last 10 years. Just getting the fits right, and the designs right, and really perfecting my skill. Looked at pictures of how I wanted things and just kinda sketched stuff up, and messed with patterns, and just put it all together.

 

 

CNNCTD:
What or Who are your influences?

Pace:
I really do enjoy the earlier Lewis Leather stuff, like back from the 40s and 50s, when first really were coming about. I like coming into the motorcycle world type of scene with all the racing jackets. That's probably the heaviest influence, is just that specific era.

And then, of course, the later 70s and early 80s punk stuff. They had the perfect fitting, cut jackets back in the day. All that type of stuff. That was the main influence. Probably more punk than the Lewis Leather stuff for sure.


 


Pace:
Get a leather jacket and go. I'm heavily influenced by that specifically. Specifically early Hells Angels from the late 50s, early 60s, and even 70s. Their style and how they looked at things, even their lifestyle, just saying "fuck it, let's go for it." That's what I'm really about right now in general, in everything.

CNNCTD:
So 10 years in NYC now?

Pace:
Yeah, this is the 11th year that I'll be here. It's the only thing I care about, really. Just living here, and surviving here, and being comfortable here is important to me. It keeps me content in every way and being able to finally do something that I enjoy doing, while living in the city that I love living in, it's perfect for me.

CNNCTD:
When did you decide you were just gonna operate on your own clock, in your own sense of being and schedule?

Pace:
I was maybe, probably about 11 or 12 when I decided 'fuck it' and just went for it. Just did whatever I wanted to. I had a very life traumatic situation since I had a heart attack when I was a really young kid. So death really was unimportant to me and I lived however I wanted to after that. So I just went from there.

CNNCTD:
So what were those early years like before that?

Pace:
I was a young kid so I was just kinda putting along doing my thing. But that was what really changed my outlook on life, was that.

CNNCTD:
You realized how fleeting life is.

Pace:
Yeah. It's like any day. It's just like that.

CNNCTD:
Wow.

Pace:
Shockingly I'm not even technically supposed to be alive right now from what doctors have told me. It's just-

CNNCTD:
Is it like a valve?

Pace:
I had a heart surgery when I was six months old. I was born with congenital heart disease, and had an operation to switch that. Too much blood in the lungs, not enough in the body. So it switched around, and then later on I had a heart attack because I needed a pacemaker, and that's why I have the name of Pace.

CNNCTD:
I was gonna ask you that.

Pace:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's a nickname that I've had since I was maybe about 13, 14.

CNNCTD:
But is that regulated now, or do you?

Pace:
The heart condition?
Yeah. Literally I haven't been to the doctor, but I've kinda always known when I was feeling like shit, or if I was gonna die. Like at 18 I had it replaced because I had grown too much from 11 to 18. 'Cause I got it put in, maybe 11 or 12. So I'd grown maybe a foot and a half in those years, and the wires got pulled out, disconnected. So they had to get me a new pacemaker. But I knew it instantly, that it wasn't working-


 

 

 

CNNCTD:
So you can't go around certain things, microwaves, something like that?

Pace:
No, it ain't the 70s no more, you can go around that shit. I know, everyone says that.


But no, it's pretty safe these days. I can't go through court metal detectors but the airport ones I can go through. The stand up ones and stuff like that.

CNNCTD:
If you don't gotta be in court, then you're good.

Pace:
Yeah, which I try to avoid anyway so-

CNNCTD:
Yea - 5 years ago?

Pace:
I was selling drugs.

CNNCTD:
That's an honest answer.

Pace:
I have no shame about it. I fucking hustled day and night. I bar tended before that and I just said 'fuck it,' I'd rather work for myself and make more money, and that's what I did.

CNNCTD:
So, no longer?

Pace:
Yeah, it just kinda came to a point where I realized that if I kept doing that, I'd probably end up dead or in jail. As I'm sure most people probably who sell drugs end up. But some people can't escape it unfortunately, it sucks but ... I said 'fuck it,' I'd rather be broke and I'd rather be homeless and just do this, and just sell jackets, than risk my entire freedom.

CNNCTD:
And how'd start out? Making jackets?  Did you have a job and you came into a space or you did it at home, making the jackets?

Pace:
Yeah, mostly at home. It was a transition. I moved onto this block and then made friends with Mike up front here at The Great Frog. And then this space became available and he said, "Well, we need to rent it. Do you want it for cheap?"
 
I was like, "Sure, why not?" 'Cause I was just making stuff in my apartment before that. Cramped little one bedroom with just a table in it. Wasn't very fun.

CNNCTD:
So you moved down here, behind The Great Frog?


Pace:
Yeah, then I got a nice workspace to work in and it's very conveniently located.

CNNCTD:
You just did that first jacket for yourself?

Pace:
Yeah, just put together samples and now I'm slowly starting to make pieces for people here and there, just by word of mouth.

 

CNNCTD:
So do you do just custom, or do you actually put pieces in stores?

Pace:
No. I'm working on a collection and then I'm gonna try to showcase for next February. And really just establish myself as a designer in the fashion industry. It could work, it could not work. It depends on me kicking ass and taking names really.

CNNCTD:
Also heard you have modeled?

Pace:
I did some modeling work. And I'm trying to work on that again. I'm talking to few people and I might get picked up here pretty quick.

CNNCTD:
Five years from now?

Pace:
As an established designer that the world recognizes. As my peers recognize, and that people in downtown could be excited about.

Mostly just establishing myself in the neighborhood is more important to me than anything. Like being a part of this general area, where so much history in the world is gone down. That's what I'm about, really. Even if my time isn't long here, at least I was a part of it.

CNNCTD:
These are great. Do you just do jackets and pants?

Pace:
I'll do everything.