Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Style Salvage speaks to... Ian Paley of Garbstore

Ian Paley of Garbstore is a man who has undoubtedly played a significant role in modern menswear. He was co-founder and designer of seminal British label One True Saxon, senior designer for Paul Smith Jeans, Red-Ear, R.Newbold and Thomas Burberry and Levi’s Strauss. His reputation speaks for itself. So, rather than look back let's look to the present and sample the delights of his current venture. Garbstore is a brand hinged directly on the quality of its product and the joys of making new items. These core brand values echo throughout each collection, the Notting Hill store and website. Garbstore’s own collections continue to improve and grow with each season and after we encountered it's SS10 offering we just had to find out more about the man behind the label. Here we chat about the cyclical nature of menswear, his desire to collaborate, how the store enables the brand to prove themselves right and how he would have liked to have been in the queue for a demobilisation suit...

Image from Hypebeast's recent feature The Globetrotter: Ian Paley of Garbstore.

SS: What were your inspirations, your dreams and the driving catalyst behind Garbstore?
Ian Paley: Garbstore was/is an idea that I guess I have always put into everything I do, Giving it a name I guess was the catalyst, The idea of moving Heritage forwards by looking and imagining what product could have been around at any particular time. I'm constantly inspired by so many things it was good to try and create a constant thread that really everything we do here has to aspire to, In truth I try and walk that fine line between a historian, designer, modernist and fan. I suppose the drive behind the brand was the realisation of why I have this insane attraction to dead-stock product. My dream is one of constant learning and improving what we do.

SS: What does Garbstore mean to you?
Ian Paley: Put very simply it means 'clothing shop'. I like the use of the word garb because like so many other things these days , it's use is dying out. Hopefully it will appear in our vocab again. Both in the brand and in the store we try and introduce a little part of Heritage mixed with some new ideas, we have Newtons new running shoe in the store, it sticks out like crazy, I love it.

SS: How have the last few years been, is everything going to plan?
Ian Paley: It's been pretty good for us, this isn't the first time I've boarded this train albeit on a different route, I'm happy with where we are and have a good idea of where we are going. The biggest challenge has been finding the right people to work with me, I have great staff and are very thankful that they are along for the ride. We continue to grow and expand into different territories, i think these days it's not about borders of countries, the fan base is global and I'd rather have a few stores per country than I sprawling network of unmanageable bills. you know we get so excited by actually creating new products and are constantly developing products and ideas that we never really pause to look up.

One of the rails inside Garbstore. Image from Hypebeast's The Globetrotter: Ian Paley of Garbstore feature.

SS: What were the first and last items you remember designing/producing for Garbstore?
Ian Paley: The first item was our basic Revis jean, it remains constant and hasn't changed in six seasons, also our Government Chino, very tapered, Japanese cloth, in Purple. Couldn't give them away, the buyers were like ' oh no, I can never sell chino's'. I get asked for nothing but chino's these days. That's the part I find the most disappointing the gulf of difference from what the public want to what a buyer thinks they want or more importantly what they wish to sell. I'm glad we have our own store as we get the opportunity to prove ourselves right.

SS: The website looks great and we love the new features, in particular the first part of your manufacturing series. Is this just the start of using the site to explore the side of men's fashion which is more often than not forgotten?
Ian Paley: You know it's a real trend to try and in-still 'heritage' into your product, It's really appearing to be fake now. So boring. We just love our manufacturers, and are happy to share in their own successes.

SS: How do you see the brand developing over the next couple of years?
Ian Paley: I like the idea of splintering ideas, collaborations these days are two a penny, but working with new companies and like minded folks is a real joy and we are constantly looking at new projects that are different to what people would expect us to do. We try and collaborate with people. I'm really excited about some new stuff in the pipeline and over the next few years there are a few big changes planned..

Garbstore's Manufacturing Series, Chapter One: Sewing.

SS: Having founded One True Saxon and helmed R. Newbold and Red Ear, you've certainly played your part in modern menswear in recent years. How has the menswear landscape changed over the years? What excites you about the future of menswear?
Ian Paley: Menswear is cyclical, I remember the last heritage boom, it will end and will end soon. I expect a swing to advanced technologies, this will really bring the big companies back in as it's almost impossible for an emerging brand to adopt and afford the technologies that will be required to make the relevant product we expect to see in the next few years, We have had our independent swing, it will travel back the other way soon. Change is always good and by then I hope we are in a place where we can explore the more technical sides of our ideas.

SS: What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more men wore?
Ian Paley: Sweat pants. I cannot get enough in my life.

SS: If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
Ian Paley: I would have liked to have been in the queue for a demobilisation suit as this marked the birth of casual wear in the U.K.

SS: How would you describe your own style?
Ian Paley: Erratic, Old and new, Very English by ignoring English Heritage!

Garbstore's SS10 'The East Empire Service Company' is the brands fifth collection and was presented by photographing and illustrating The Mighty Low.

SS: Talk us through your offering for SS10...
Ian Paley: For Spring ten we have the most fantastic Sateen Peasant chinos, I've been living in a green pair for weeks now. They are a favourite in the store, we have some special editions of our Mountain Providence Parkas with dead stock fabrics in the hoods, they are so special but also fun, it's important to be playful and not get embroiled in the nerdy side of heritage. Even our simple 50's T-shirts in melange pastels excite us just because they are 100% cotton, a sample change but it transforms a fairly classic item.

SS: We hear that you have a few interesting collaborations coming up, can you let us more about them? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Ian Paley: Mums the word on the collabs, We have the Mighty Healthy Ts out soon, so inspiring for us to work with Denis and Ray on those. One of the few brands I admire and love.

SS: What are you favourite pieces currently available in-store/online?
Ian Paley: The 'for miners' shirt from Mountain research in the blue Oxford is beyond improvement, a perfect item. We also love our Sea Vees shoes. They are becoming firm favourites here in West London.

SS: Finally, would you be able to share a few address book recommendation to our readers (hairdressers, tailors, cafes... anything you like really) which we will duly add to our Map.
Ian Paley: Every day without fail we by our coffee from our local Progresso which is collectively owned by Oxfam and the growers, it's just good coffee and an essential part of what we do. My favourite Tailor is Norton & Sons on Saville row, the original. They invented the Safari suit and heritage just pours from the company, yet they have a totally modern outlook and ethos that is very different to the rest of the row. The owner Patrick is a pal and a good ear to bend on the state of menswear. We also have a great chocolate store called Melt around the corner from the store, they make the chocolates in the store, I like stores which comfort you, it's a nice environment to walk into. Most evenings some of us can be found in the bowls of Crazy Homies stuffing our chops with Mexican street food and guzzling some fairly fantastic margaritas. We are lucky to live and work in such a diverse and creative neighbourhood.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been hearing a lot about this brand but it's great to learn more about the man behind it all. He speaks a lot of sense.

Michael said...

Great piece - completely agree on the word 'garb' and the inevitable swing away from heritage to hi-tech.

If Jane said...

like ian...like the store...;))

kenneth mackenzie said...

Ian..one of the good guys..kenneth 6876

Style Salvage Steve said...

Anonymous: He does speak a lot of sense. I think you'll be hearing even more about this brand in the coming months. Look out for those collaborations!
Michael: Thanks. Agreed. He has seen it all and knows the industry better than most.
If Jane: We do too. In fact we will be featuring the store in more detail shortly.
Kenneth: He really comes across well in this interview and in all of the reports I hear. I'm looking to meeting him in person one day soon.

Mat said...

once again you have posted something i WANT, this time it's the blue parka, brilliant.

Style Salvage Steve said...

Mat: It has captured the attention of a lot of bloggers...I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at it in the coming weeks.

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