1. Where did the name ‘Clash’ come from?The name Clash came from ‘The Clash’ London Calling record. I knew I wanted to start a streetwear business that specialised in British style and I had been actively listening to bands like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Specials, The Buzzcocks, Sioux and the Banshees. I had always had a fascination with Britain and the underground street culture that existed around the punk movement in London as I feel that was also when fashion really developed in an individual way rather than a collective. I was sitting back one night listening to a record and noticed the London Calling record at the front of my vinyl stack. It was then I realised how important the word ‘Clash’ was. The bands I was listening to inspired my belief that when it comes to fashion and music there are no right and wrong. Just an open mind that I think does ‘Clash’ with the ideas and ways fashion is presented to people today. People are almost fearful when it comes to fashion and if they don’t have that particular ‘piece’ that is in right now then they won’t be keeping up. These bands and their message to me was to do your own thing and expressing yourself in your own way is so important.
2. Have you always been involved in fashion?
Yes – I worked around clothing retail for a long time. It wasn’t necessarily ‘fashion’ but it taught me a lot about people and their buying habits. It also taught me customer service which is the most important skill to have in any retail job. Starting from a retail assistant I progressed to regional manager looking after handfuls of stores. Previous employers have been both Amazon and Huffer.
3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mainly musicians and not because they all have amazing style but because they tend to be the ones that ‘get’ the power of individuality. If I was to give you a style icon I would say any of the characters on Brighton Rock or Snatch. Real cool British gangsters. Or anyone in the band ‘The Specials’.
4. Who buys your clothes?
Haha mostly my parents! I don’t think it’s sympathy but my Dad in particular knows and feels my passion for what we are doing and really enjoys hearing the history of the brands and styles I try and buy in. But I think the beauty of the era that Clash is inspired by is that it attracts young and old. We have sold our Harrington Jackets to men in their 70’s and to men in their 20’s. We attract younger teen girls but also women wanting something they haven’t seen before. So it’s really a mix of ages from different locations.
5. You stock some great brands – do you have a hero label?
I do. Before we had opened the store 4 years ago I had done so much research into brands and how to get them in. So I continue to buy in product and brands for Clash, always on the lookout for something a little different and unique. People say I am a little quirky, so I guess that may come across in some of the styles we get in.
Dr Martens. My favourite brand. Their history and quality is what I love. Everyone can connect in some way to Docs. I love it when we get someone who tells us their story of when they purchased their first pair back in the day or on the flipside when we get a younger customer coming in who is so excited to be getting their first pair. Their styles are timeless.
6. Do you use social media? Which platforms?
We have a pretty large Facebook following which we find helps with getting people to the website. Instagram is small but growing. We also have Twitter. All of these really do help to get the word out.
7. Does ‘Clash’ get involved in NZ Fashion Week or other catwalk shows? Or are you editorial only?
No – Fashion Week isn’t really something we really believe in. We have supported many musicians in the past so often our ‘models’ have been onstage jamming! We are keen to look at other avenues but at the moment like the idea of sticking to our values in having product that everyone can be a part of. Not just a select group.
8. What is you go-to magazine for fashion?
I don’t really have one but I am reading Billy Idol’s autobiography so that would be it at the moment!!
9. Do you think New Zealanders are fashion-conscious?
Depends on what part of the country you are from. I’m originally from Christchurch and have lived in every major city in NZ. I was glad to get away from the overly conservative scene in Christchurch. I found Dunedin to be an amazing place for unique style at a really low budget. People dress amazing down those ways and really feel comfortable with the style they have and the people they are. Wellington is super hip. A mix of op shopping students to wealthy business people with cash to spend. I find Auckland to be an almost smaller fashion scene in the way that it centres around Ponsonby. It’s very trend focused and it seems that a lot of people up here are guided by the Kardashians. I guess being in the big smoke sometimes it feels like there’s more pressure to blend in? We will always try to stick to what inspires us and hopefully that inspires other kiwis! On the whole I think New Zealanders like to dress nice and ultimately it’s someone’s inner self that creates true style.
10. What is the best way to buy from ‘Clash’?
‘Junk & Disorderly’ is a second-hand shoppers’ haven: inundated with everything vintage including timeless books, kitsch ornaments, old-school pails, rocking horses, dainty tables, mannequins, crockery, 1970’s sofas and the kitchen sink. Serious. I absolutely adore this oversized jumble-sale – that favours the consumer. I have purchased, borrowed and browsed this awe-inspiring warehouse for days without boredom. Parking is a dream; located in the heart of Northcote – go and find some treasure now or miss out.
Did you attend any NZ Fashion Week shows over the past week? I was fortunate enough to attend the (first) S/S 2014 ‘COLD WASH’ menswear range for ‘The Lucid Collective’ at the Gow Langsford Gallery in Auckland Central. The handsome crowd packed-out the swanky gallery; sipping complimentary Hopt soda, Liberty Brewing Company Beer or Thomson Whiskey NZ while mingling and admiring the majestic art through out the space. Heads turned as six dapper men took their positions on small benches, to model the garments. The colour palate was off-white, grey marl and contemporary black in utility shorts & pants, wrestler tops, long sleeve symmetric tees and beanie headwear. Impressive clothing brand for Gen Y entrepreneurs: Chloe Swarbrick & Alex Bartley-Catt. This duo are (disruptive) innovators in the fashion landscape. Catch them if you can.
“Get inspired.” One of the key messages (amplifying) from this event. How the heck couldn’t you, with such mind-blowing storytellers? Speakers: Ian Wharton (Creative Director), Tiffany Bozic (Artist), Ashley Gilbertson (Photojournalist), Augustin Teboul (Fashion designers), Matt Willey (Graphic Designer), Galon Levin (Artist) and Abbot Miller (Partner) kicked off on the first day.
Ashley Gilbertson spoke about his time on the ground in Iraq (2002-2008) photographing immediate imagery of warfare and the human experience. What a ‘profound encounter’ of truth, conflict and bravery. Seeing pictures of bloody (dead) bodies, explosions, destruction and ‘a collection of photos of intact bedrooms of service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan’ captivated the audience into utter silence. Incredible. Touching – nearly to the point of tears. No one will ever forget those (human) stories.
Fashion designers: Annelie Augustin and Odely Teboul provoked with their “black is our universe” collections. Having only launched in 2011, they have worked with musicians like ‘
Lady Gaga’ to create haute couture garments, and have been heavily published in the world-wide press. From humble beginnings (living in a tent due to pennilessness), they now both live in Berlin and collaborate with the local community to make their wares. They find inspiration through “creative accidents.”
Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the second day – however I got my ‘quota’ of inspiration from the stories I heard, aplenty.
Looking forward to the 11th year!
This exhibition was loaded with design – fashion (clothing), interiors, jewellery, furniture, architecture and figurines: film, stills and mannequins wore the design, with sheer glamour.
I personally was drawn to the fabulous ‘woman’s swimsuit’s’ by Margit Fellegi in the 1950’s (think Marilyn Monroe) that exuded femininity and style.
Furniture made by German-born designer, Kem Weber who was (notably) known for the concept ‘store-within-a-store’ shopping. Weber’s ‘Desk and Chair’ was made with satinwood, primavera, chrome, aluminium, resin and leather. I want it.
‘Who ever said that pleasure wasn’t functional?’ – Charles Eames
The architecture by Carlos Diniz, created ‘alluring images that helped potential clients place themselves in the frame’ (translated from technical drawings). Collaboration with magazines and museums – made the ‘ideal’ flat box home, desirable to the ‘rich and famous’, in Hollywood.
There was more – much more. Go and see it for yourself.
‘Good design is seldom accepted. It has to be sold.’