Willo Perron

Los Angeles, willoperron.com
Perron might have the most unexpected resumé on this list. After getting his start in the early 2000s as a graphic designer and record label owner (and a brief stint designing for Rawkus Records), he was the force behind the High-Tech minimalism of American Apparel stores, earned a Grammy for his work with St. Vincent, designed sets for Drake and Rihanna, and designed Stüssy stores the world over. An exhibition of furniture at Matter last summer put Perron on our radar. Called “No Coasters,” it featured beanbag–inspired sofas, beds surrounded by a thicc velvet frame, and papasan-like chairs — basically our dream scenario.

What is American design to you, and what excites you about it?

Something about the new world and modernism and this very practical idea. The new world isn’t burdened with such a deep history, and gives you the opportunity to not be so fragile. If you compare European fashion, it’s very much focused on beauty and romanticism, versus American fashion, which has always been way more about function and innovation. It’s about technology, Silicon Valley, and strapping a rock to your car and sending it to space.

What are your plans and highlights for the upcoming year?

I’m currently working on the Super Bowl with Rihanna. We’re going to keep working on some furniture and interiors projects including a handful of stores for Stüssy, and a couple of shows and concert tours.

What inspires or informs your work in general?

I think a lot of it’s pretty visceral. It’s things that I like, or memories of my childhood. I find my environment and my friends the most interesting and inspiring people, but most of the time I put a pile of information in my brain and it matrixes itself and then I wake up and I’m like, “I got it!”