Basics and sportswear are very saturated sub markets of contemporary fashion, would you agree? What gave you the drive and confidence to focus on these garments?
It’s a very saturated market indeed and its saturated with a lot of crap. Ive always been a firm believer that good menswear is all about the details so when I started this brand right out of university I just wanted to keep things simple and use what I learnt on my performance sportswear design degree and applied it to a basics company.
I thought to myself If I just focus on premium fabrics, good manufacturing techniques and nail the fit then its pretty hard to go wrong.
You see a lot of brands in this category over-look these things and they tend to focus on the graphics which in my opinion adds a shelf life to a brand.
Often, start up brands are very worried and paranoid about what their style of clothing leading them to develop confusing names such as ‘Contemporary, Luxury, High-End Streetwear’, do you feel it is better as a start up brand to do one thing well or to try and appeal to many different demographics?
I always think if you’re trying to appeal to anything then its a losing battle from the start. Authenticity is key in my opinion and consumers in 2018 are very smart and can figure out a bullshit brand very easily. The big players that are killing it at the moment in this category such as John Elliot and James Perse both started out initially creating tiny collections made up of pieces that they wanted to wear themselves and as they have grown they haven’t tried to fit any market or follow any trends and you cant get more authentic than that. Ive never liked the term streetwear either, it always feel like a name thats slapped onto brands that have no story or ethos.
What has been the biggest challenge since your recent surge in growth?
Like with any business the biggest challenge at the start was cash.
I felt I had the design ability after creating multiple technical sportswear collections at uni but I had zero money to pursue it so I worked full time as a labourer to save up and do my first tiny run of hoodies and just reinvested the sales each time, this took such a long time as the runs were so small that it felt like it was getting nowhere. 6 months ago I decided to jump into this company head first and move to London to try and make it work full time. It felt too comfortable being back at my parents and I was too exhausted to properly work on the brand at the end of each day. This move was the best decision i’ve ever made, things move very fast down here and the networking has been priceless. Its gone from a bedroom in Derby to us recently opening our first studio in Farringdon along side Artist – Hector Trend, Photographer – Jonny Wilson and Adi Gillespie who’s wrote multiple fitness books, and also has his own brand that i’m working on too.
Its funny how social media can portray a brand, people think CB is a lot bigger than it actually is, its still only me running it which means i’m in total control and I much prefer it this way.