Picture this: you’ve just spent the whole day at the beach with your mates. You’re sunburnt and starving. All you’ve got on is a pair of trunks and an overshirt, and everyone’s heading for the local pub.
DD chats with the brains behind the New Zealand grunge-punk-influenced label, Beach Brains — inspired by fantasy, mall goths, dirty techno and romanticism. From their inception in 2013, the team at BB have fearlessly pushed the boundaries of high-end fashion, surf-wear and skate-wear, and blurred the lines of each seamlessly.
We just received a fresh drop from BB, so we thought, what better time to sit down and have a chat with the lads behind one of the sickest high-end beach-trash brands to come out of Auckland.
We’d love to tell the readers a bit about the brains behind the operation. How did you all meet? What are your roles in the biz?
GH, JC, DG: WHAT’S GOOD, DOUBLE DOUBLE!? Thanks for the opportunity to chat. Dan and Jody go way back! But I (Gareth) met the lords because I applied for a job packing boxes for Dan’s distribution company. I was trying to be an artist and photographer, and print t-shirts on the side, then after some time hanging and drinking beers, Dan and Jody hit me up and were like, “let’s make something big happen”. Beach Brains is the baby of all our amalgamated talents. Dan’s been in the fashion game for over 20 years, and Jody’s been in it for about 17 — both working on the full mix of branding, sales, marketing, and distribution. Killer team. BB4EVA.
What inspired you guys to start Beach Brains together? Is there a brand that you loved growing up, or was it that you wanted to create something that you’d never seen before?
GH, JC, DG: We definitely saw eye-to-eye on aesthetics, so we could have gone down multiple routes. But in the end, fashion combined all our skills and loves — it was the obvious direction. It feels cliché, but we felt a huge gap between surf/skate clothing and high-end fashion. We wanted to produce clothes at a high-end quality, but with sub-culture grunge aesthetic. We wanted to produce clothes that you could wear to the beach, then out to the bar later. We love the collision of these two lifestyles.
We love your non-conformist approach to fashion and design. Your website says that “Beach Brains exists in sub-cultures”. Can you talk us through this a little bit?
GH, JC, DG: We try to make season-less garments that transcend trends and stay in your clothing collection for years without feeling out of date — timeless pieces. Our ranges are designed to flow between each other, so you can mix and match from different drops. The sub-cultures we exist in are overlapping and feeding into each other — we’re the makers, the doers, beach dwellers, and city slickers. We’ve been artists, designers, business owners, travellers, DJ’s, and surfers, and we all bring these pasts into the mash up that is Beach Brains.
What aesthetic inspires you the most at the moment?
GH: Fantasy. Mall Goths. Dirty Techno. Romanticism. I feel like my brain is splattered across the internet. I feel like I’m inspired too easily. I need to reign it in and set a line, or I get lost in the plethora of the worldwide web.
JC: Working with these two is the biggest inspiration.
DG: It all starts with the fabrics and colours. Classic fits with unique fabrication. Garments that are function over fashion.
I understand that you guys have been in the industry for quite some time. How much has the fashion industry changed over time? (Good or bad, big or small).
DG: It’s been a long time. I’ve seen trends, as well as skatewear and surfwear labels come and go. But change is good — new brands come in and disrupt the old to push the boundaries of what’s considered ‘normal. The fashion world is inundated with brands, and so, it’s getting much harder for new businesses to rise to the top. We’ve seen a bigger gap between fast-fashion brands and high-end fashion brands, leaving a hole in between — this is our space.
JC: I have a similar background and experience to Dan and think he’s summed it up perfectly. The market is going through a big shift at the moment, and I feel the next generation are embracing brands with value and quality over quantity, which is exciting for our brand.
What’s your favourite thing about your current collection?
GH: Damn nice fabrics.
DG: Our Bush shirts are always a favourite of mine. We spent hours and hours searching for the best plaids.
JC: I love our shirts and boxy, heavy weight tees — wardrobe staples for any occasion.
Where do you get your inspiration for shoots, graphics, etc?
GH: 032c magazine pushes boundaries on both the photography and graphic design front. Every-time I pick up their mag I’m inspired to shoot or design. The photographer Daniel Regan and Ryley Pascal are always inspiring me, they’re definitely worth checking out; bucket list is to work with these guys someday. Something that often inspires me to sit down and create graphics or shoot some pics is seeing friends chasing their dreams and winning. I get so psyched on friends’ success and hustle. I feed off it and absorb it.
What are your plans for the summer coming up?
GH: I’m scooting away to NYC and LA pre-Christmas to get some fresh perspectives and inspiration for our upcoming ranges. Then we’re going to setup a killer summer pop-up and get as many people brained as we can — beach club!
JC: I’m excited to show in Paris the next two seasons and grow our international footprint.
DG: Between working on the new collection and focussing on refining and pushing our fabrics forward, I’ll be heading to the beach and then to Paris to show our range. I’m excited to swap the summer with winter and showcase our brand to the rest of the world.
What are your favourite items in your studio?
GH: I’m in love with my computer and camera gear.
DG: The Willy Guhl chairs in our photo studio and my basketball hoop in the warehouse (lots of time spent trying to clock it).
Tunes you’re digging at the moment?
N95 – KENDRICK.
DADDY (PAPPY REMIX) – APHEX TWIN.
AIN’T NO WAY – DENZEL CURRY.
TIME GLITCH – DUSTER.
GRIM – WIKI.
CASH ROMANTIC – OVERMONO.
BAD LOVE – DEHD.
IT IS SO NICE TO GET STONED – TED LUCAS.
MAGGOT BRAIN – FUNKADELIC.
DESMOND DEKKER- ISRAELITES
SONIC YOUTH – 100%
FUGAZI – BAD MOUTH
GZA- 4TH CHAMBER
YAEJI – GUAP
TIRZAH – HOLDING ON
RUSS – GOODBYE
SOLOMUN – AROUND
RAMPA – NECESSITY
JC: I have recently gone back to my 90’s/2000’s DJ days:
I CUBE – RZA,
CAN YOU DEAL WITH THAT, BEAT DAT (feat Vin Sol) – JEREMY CASTILLO
GOOD LIFE – INNER CITY (Kevin Saunderson)
CLEAR – CYBOTRON (Juan Atkins)
MINE TO GIVE (David Morales World Mix) – PHOTEK