What influences were there in your early life that lead up to where you are now?
Mainly rockabilly, I got into it when I was about 18 years old, which is now 14 years ago. Through rockabilly I discovered vintage clothes and more importantly selvedge jeans. It was through music that I found my personal style through, as do most people at that age. It just so happened that my musical tastes were very uncommon for anybody, let alone an eighteen year old.
Music is a big influence for many people, do you think the surgical precision and stripped down nature of electronic music has anything to do with your love of simple understated luxury? you like IDM ya?
Yes, IDM, what an amazing thing. I was one of the founding members of the IDM list, the reason it’s even called that, in 1993. That’s pretty much all i’ve surrounded myself with musically for twenty years, IDM and rockabilly, in a sense the two complete opposites in terms of music. Through IDM i discovered a firm by the name of Designers Republic, which is where i was heavily influenced in the way companies interact with their clients and their consumer base.
Ian Anderson, the founder of DR, was a genius and so far ahead of his time that nobody understood what he was doing until ten years after he did it. With Self Edge I attempted to combine a rockabilly style with the design sensibilities and marketing tactics that Designers Republic had founded, which came from Sheffield in the late 80’s (oddly enough, which is also about where and when IDM was started, hence the DR + IDM connection).
Interesting, who did you expect the customer to be when you first opened Self Edge? I remember those were confusing times as far as a lot of kids were more worried about how not to stain their dunks, rather than the jeans themselves.
We had no idea really because I knew the rockabilly culture enough to know that they wouldn’t be interested in new clothes, and that 99% of them wear vintage only. And the other side of the spectrum was streetwear kids, four years ago they wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a chambray shirt or a western shirt. So really I had no idea, I just knew I wanted to open a shop doing it and hope to expose America to what these Japanese companies did in a way that no other shop had. Granted it wasn’t the first time somebody was selling a Japanese denim brand in the US, but it was the first time somebody had attempted to open a purist vintage style garment shop where everything was made by the Japanese. We were not a men’s wear store, we weren’t a denim store, we were a store that only sold the Japanese reinterpretation of Americana..
Hmm, were you ever into street fashion/culture, either way I think you changed the direction of it forever (laughs). At least in the US you indirectly created a monster out of those “What Did You Wear Today” Threads. In the sense that now people are judged on their fits. Where even if someone has a good fit, someone is always like, “you have to get your denim game up.” Do you ever fear that you are creating a uniform, that people are into the products that Self Edge carries for the wrong reason?
Fashion trends always turn into a uniform. I just like to think that what we sell will make you look LESS unfashionable if you happen to wear it before or after the trend hits. If that makes any sense.