Articles on this Page
- 01/06/13--14:09: _NZ's Common Magazin...
- 01/06/13--16:45: _New Yeah, Rad Calendar
- 01/07/13--17:40: _Elver's all class
- 01/07/13--17:42: _Some Fancy Spaces...
- 01/08/13--14:20: _Kind Graphic
- 01/09/13--14:30: _New NZ design colle...
- 01/14/13--13:54: _This brand is my sp...
- 01/14/13--14:58: _Fellow & Friends (+...
- 01/20/13--15:10: _Last copies of Desi...
- 01/20/13--17:57: _Pick n Mix time, guys!
- 01/21/13--17:22: _Collar Stool Cool (...
- 01/27/13--14:43: _Of Style and Substa...
- 01/27/13--15:51: _Recommended Listeni...
- 01/28/13--20:50: _Five Faves
- 01/28/13--20:51: _Brand & Store Front...
- 01/29/13--12:21: _A Design Introvert ...
- 02/10/13--15:04: _And now, back to re...
- 02/10/13--15:04: _cool brand (pun int...
- 02/11/13--12:50: _Valentine's freebie...
- 02/11/13--17:28: _Fancy Spaces I wish...
- 01/06/13--14:09: NZ's Common Magazine has launched...
- 01/06/13--16:45: New Yeah, Rad Calendar
- 01/07/13--17:40: Elver's all class
- 01/07/13--17:42: Some Fancy Spaces...
- 01/08/13--14:20: Kind Graphic
- 01/09/13--14:30: New NZ design collective, YOURS
- 01/14/13--13:54: This brand is my spirit animal
- 01/14/13--14:58: Fellow & Friends (+ you can WIN a Silo Pendant!)
- 01/20/13--15:10: Last copies of Design Yeah Calendar (and A3 prints) only $29
- 01/20/13--17:57: Pick n Mix time, guys!
- 01/21/13--17:22: Collar Stool Cool (+ WIN a Silo Pendant light!)
- 01/27/13--14:43: Of Style and Substance: The story behind Lower and Thanks
- 01/27/13--15:51: Recommended Listening - Lorde
- 01/28/13--20:50: Five Faves
- 01/28/13--20:51: Brand & Store Front Appreciation Society
- 01/29/13--12:21: A Design Introvert (+ you could win a Silo Pendant light)
- 02/10/13--15:04: And now, back to regular programming
- 02/10/13--15:04: cool brand (pun intended)
- 02/11/13--12:50: Valentine's freebie for lazy people
- 02/11/13--17:28: Fancy Spaces I wish I lived in...
(But is that a giant puzzle piece I spy behind the gold lamp? You ruined it, puzzle piece. Go home.)
Through the three years of their design degree, they became not only good mates, but also fans of each other's work. They pushed one another's design, collaborating together to develop ideas and resolve forms. Both Daniel and James were nominated for 2012 Best Awards, James for his Revival Vest (which went on to win a placing at the international James Dyson awards), and Daniel for his intelligent gloves for prosthetic arms.
After graduating, Sam and James started work tutoring at their alma mater Vic Uni, while Daniel began a role in product development at Design Mobel. But the plans for YOURS design collective were in motion. They started developing their first products, and made a deal that as soon as they each had one at prototype stage, Daniel would find a studio space in Tauranga and Sam and James would make the move up the island. And in July last year, that's exactly what happened.
The YOURS studio and showroom, on Tauranga's 11th Ave, is tucked in behind what was an Art Gallery. The space itself was a bit of a shithole (I saw the before photos); but the trio have transformed it. For months, they spent weekends and late nights in the space, ripping up the stained carpet, laying wooden floorboards, polishing concrete for the showroom floor, constructing walls and making a lot of the furniture from upcycled materials. When Design Mobel went out of business (leaving Daniel out of work), the company donated all sorts of 'scraps' from the factory, including a massive rimu headboard that Dan now has as his desktop, and 20 furniture pallets that the boys have turned into walling.
So, why Tauranga? I didn't really need to ask that - I live at Mount Maunganui for the same reasons they chose the area. It's just a 2-hour drive from Auckland for business, but the leases are much more affordable for a fledgling brand, and there is a definite emerging design scene here. Don't be fooled into thinking it's all surf and sand here - there's sophistication, too.
Just a few weeks ago, the doors opened on YOURS design showroom and studio, and the debut collection of YOURS furniture and lighting...
Look with your eyes...
In the next couple of weeks, we'll have a nosey at the YOURS product collection and each designer in more detail, and you'll get a chance to win a YOURS piece.
Design Yeah 2013 is a project by Fancy and Design Assembly, with help from the design-loving team at B&F Papers.
"I'm really lucky, I get to do what I love for a living.
So I sort of feel a responsibility to enjoy it as much as I can."
Back in 1998, Jake was working at Mount surf shop Assault. He’d always had an eye for design and fashion, wearing things that were a little distinctive, picking what was going to be big well before it became mainstream. As he sold and watched labels created by other young NZ guys - labels like Huffer and RPM that were really taking off at the time - Jake toyed with the idea of creating his own.
Glenn and Wendy Bright, Jake’s bosses at Assault, encouraged him to give it a go, so he designed his first Lower t-shirt and had just six of them made. The aim was to have some fun with it; maybe make a little pocket money. When the six sold, he printed another 12, then 24, then 50…
Along with Assault, Jake credits Geoff and Christina Wylie-Miln, owners of Nevada, with helping Lower to take off. Geoff got behind the label, promoting it in his very influential store, and helped navigate Jake through the world of retail along the way. Mike Smith from RPM was an invaluable sounding board in the early days too.
Stores outside the Bay began to take Lower on, but true to its name and its roots, it remained very much an underground label for a long time. First, it grew a very loyal local following, then it started to gather momentum around New Zealand.
Two years after those first six tees were printed, the popularity of Lower was undeniable. Retailers couldn’t keep stock on the shelves. Jake registered a company, calling it You Know We Ain’t Limited. He was right; they most definitely ain’t.
Today, Lower is an influential force not just in New Zealand fashion, but also in popular culture, writing trends one after the other. And if you love Lower, there’s plenty of it to eat up – the brand does four seasonal collections a year, plus monthly ‘Quick Strikes’ (not-to-be-repeated short runs, that often become collector’s items), and other limited edition injections.
In 2008, supported by the popularity of Lower, the company decided to open a concept boutique, one that would break the streetwear mould. “We liked the idea of being able to present our brands the way we wanted to.”
Re-writing those retail rules that stores need to be on a main strip, with foot traffic, the first Thanks store sat in Mount Maunganui’s semi-industrial Matai Street. Jake and his friends decided just to offer a well-curated selection of their favourite labels. Thanks stocks Ksubi, PAM, Stolen Girlfriends Club, Something Else, and other leading-edge and independent brands, many of which are not widely available in New Zealand. Thanks is also the first (and often last, with product selling out quickly) to get new drops from Lower. And all that support Jake was given by storeowners when he first started out? He’s been able to pay it forward, stocking Thanks with emerging labels from local designers.
There’s more than just clothing at Thanks. There’s luggage, jewellery, independent publications and an inimitable atmosphere, too. Music plays on vinyl, the interior design and product styling is brilliant, and the staff are fun and unaffected.
Just a few months ago, Thanks opened its first out-of-town store, in Napier. The reception so far has exceeded every expectation. There’s an online store too, thanksshop.co.nz. It opened soon after the first shop, offering the same carefully curated product range to the rest of New Zealand – with free delivery.
Why has Lower and Thanks resonated so much with people? That’s not easy to put into words. There are just some who see things differently, aesthetes who ‘get it’ before the rest of us. The tastemakers. They’re the sort of people, Jake and his friends, who always want to be doing something fresh, realising new projects and exploring new ideas.
So, because some of their ideas didn’t fit inside the Lower brand and their collective taste had broadened with time, they created three new clothing labels. Yip, you read that right – three. All within just a few years, and all whilst launching and running the Thanks stores and other ventures.
First came Five Each, a smart basics brand with a clean, simple aesthetic. Only five men’s designs and five women’s designs are created each season, in understated colourways.
Next was menswear label ON & ON, a more grown-up, sartorial older brother to the youthful Lower brand. ON & ON is Jake’s personal project in many ways, an outlet for his higher-end design ideas. The range includes beautiful leather goods to dress your tech, like the honey-coloured, hand-stitched (and seriously handsome) iPhone sleeve.
Now & Then is the latest label in the You Know We Aint Ltd. stable. Its feminine yet functional aesthetic takes what’s on-trend and blends it with vintage inspiration. The collections, along with Five Each garments, are all designed by Tamryn Reeve.
What next, then? The company has already been experimenting with product design, releasing a limited edition Lower G-Shock watch. And Thanks has just made its first foray into furniture design, collaborating with local designer Timothy John on the Sidekick stool.
You’d be forgiven for assuming - with such success in the fashion industry and a brand built on being very much ahead of the pack - that Jake Pyne would have a certain sort of attitude. The truth is, I’ve not met a more humble, helpful guy.
He lights up when he talks about the inspiration and support he gets from his wife of 12 years, Stacey, and their kids - daughter Milla (7) and sons Hayes (5) and Ari (4). And when I ask Jake why he thinks he’s been so successful, he doesn’t mention himself once. Jake and Stacey trust that a higher power is to thank for it all. He feels blessed in so many ways; not least of which is his team. Many of them were friends of Jake’s or fans of the brand before coming on board. “We have amazing, hugely talented staff. People I’m proud to call my friends.”
Jake is also ever-grateful to the businesses and customers who have got behind his brands along the way. “That’s why we called the stores Thanks. If it weren’t for the support of other people, especially locally, this whole story would never have happened. We never want to take that for granted.”
“Fashion constantly changes, and we want to always be moving and evolving. But our values never will.”
This was actually an article I wrote for UNO magazine's Summer issue. I thought you might be interested in and inspired by it... Photos by Quinn O'Connell.
(She's from NZ, she's only 16 and she writes her own stuff).
You can download her full EP here, for free.
I hereby call the first meeting of the Brand & Store Front Appreciation Society. Help yourself to a cup of Pinto and a Superwine. First on the agenda, August cafe in Wellington. Sorry I don't have more photos, I was too busy making name tags.
Here's Daniel Kamp, one third of NZ design collective, YOURS. Let's have a look at the two products he has designed for the YOURS debut range...
Daniel Kamp from YOURS design. Sort of looks like Jude Law.
Order your choice of grind, and boutique roastery Eighthirty will deliver it to you. And if you're in downtown Auckland/Ponsonby, you can choose delivery by bike.
(Design kudos to Butcher & Butcher)