Anthony Thomas Melillo’s initials are tattooed in small print under his right arm, just the spot where his new line of luxury T-shirts will advertise its name: ATM. “The idea of the perfect T-shirt has always been the ultimate thing—an obsession,” says Melillo, whose peripatetic career in fashion includes stints as founder of the CFDA-nominated sportswear label NOVA USA and Creative Director of Seattle mainstay Generra, as well as magazine gigs ranging from lowly assistant to top dog.

This February, ATM—crafted for both men and women in a range of styles and fabrics, all manufactured in Peru—lands at Barneys New York in the form of a “fully-branded experience,” one that begins with a black cube customers must enter to browse the garments, “kind of like an art instillation,” he says. An avatar of West Coast cool, Melillo maintains that you’ll never catch him buttoning a collar. “I want to make the It T-shirt,” says the Miami native. “I don’t care to expand too much. Besides, it’s nice to keep focused so you only have one thing to worry about.” Spoken like a true Californian.

Photo: Marko Metzinger