It seems both inexplicable and foretelling that the two of you would eventually come together on this project. Can you guys speak on where you were before WCROW as well as how it came about in the first place?
WCROW is a contemporary ready-to-wear label based in Toronto. Combining high-end Japanese production methods with American street-style influences, their first collection 'OPEN HOUSE' debuted in the fall of 2018. Tomo serves as the creative director, spearheading the design and overseeing production of the garments. Vince is the brand director as well as co-founder and producer at Kid. Studio, a video production and design studio.
I was designing at CYC Design Corp. (RC & wings+horns) for a few years and OVO as their Product Production Manager prior to starting WCROW. With that being said, Vince and I had discussed starting a venture together from 213 Sterling days back in 2013 so the mindset has been in the works for a minute. I've always wanted my own clothing company so it was just a natural progression of learning design, textiles and production at respected firms to gain the proper experience from a creators perspective as well as the business knowledge to strive in the apparel industry.
For the last 4 years, I've been running Kid. with my brothers Glenn, Julian and Christo. It started off as a design studio but as we experimented with video early on, we found creative opportunity in the medium because it allowed us to express our concepts beyond a still frame and now accounts for 90% of our business.
Prior to this, Tomo and I met while working at Getoutside selling footwear. It wasn't apparent what we'd eventually work on together but knew that the time would come, naturally. 2017 Winter, we link up at a bar, tells me that he wants to start a clothing brand and without hesitation, we went for it — a similar flow to how Glenn and I started Kid. now that I recall it.
Appropriation has become an increasingly prevalent theme in fashion. What are your thoughts on this phenomenon?
Appropriation is commonly discussed in a negative light as there have been many cases of abuse of this practise due to ignorance and laziness. I think appropriation is good when the proper research and knowledge is gained on the specific topic in order for the appropriator to be able to re-create or re-purpose with respect and sensibilities through their perspective. You see this the most in the culinary industry of chefs pulling influence from other cultures to put their own spin and cater to the palette of their culture to create something familiar but brand new in experience.
I believe that with access to information online, it is easier now and going forward for people to appropriate in any industry, especially apparel. I really do think it's a positive in a sense because it means more merging and education of different cultures which ultimately is the first step to finding common ground with people of different up bringings. It comes down to paying homage with respect to the originator while engraving your own background and values into the designs.
How has WCROW incorporated this kind of philosophy into the clothing?
When designing for WCROW, one of the main things I always incorporate is how do we make something familiar yet unique and different. I look at UK 50s tailoring for how clothing was made to fit on a man, 50's blue collar class for the rebellion attitude that brought casual clothing into the world and 80's in Japan when so much growth was happening as a country that the abundance of style and music pushed the pockets of style we see today in major cities like Tokyo.
Speaking outside of aesthetic, I really respect the traditional garment techniques of the Japanese/East Asian culture and the durable construction methods of American workwear so these are areas that I have studied and look to continue educating myself in order to create the best product for WCROW. A few examples from our current collection would be the Familiars Office Jacket, Pinstripe Herringbone Office Jacket & Trouser set and the WCROW® 3M Felt Hoodies.
Since taking on new responsibilities at WCROW as brand director, while still producing and managing video work for Kid. Studio, how do you find your personal practice changing as you dip your feet into another industry? How conscious are you of these shifts and to what extent are they predetermined?
Starting anything new has its challenges to find traction especially when you’re balancing multiple roles. About 4 months into WCROW and running operations/production at Kid, I started crashing physically and mentally.It was clear that if I wanted the brands to be successful, I had to make adjustments because there was a void when it came to self-care and that didn’t translate well to either workflow or my teams. I made a 180 by creating a routine for myself — training a few times a week, cutting out garbage from what I ate and taking time to hang out with nature. The two industries are quite different but creating this loose routine now provides me with the energy and focus to continue developing the brands.
How does somebody realize they are crashing? And how does one start to work on a 180?
It's subjective but for myself, I was lacking focus, my patience was thinning and my ideas became very narrow. It also translated to my life outside of the projects, sometimes affecting those closest to me and that was enough of an indicator that change was necessary. Starting a 180 begins with being aware and transparent with yourself about what you need to improve on - often the most difficult part.
Top 3 albums of all time?
Can't give you the top 3 of all time but these are the latest I've listened to