On our next editorial feature we decided to hit up the folks over at Grind London who've been putting together some of the cleanest product of the season. Since their inception in 2008 they've focused on developing an honest approach to menswear aiming to mix original concepts with the brands own roots and culture. Drawing inspiration from many aspects of London's various subcultures (past and present). They aim to produce well designed unique apparel that maintain the brands style, attitudes, interests and lifestyles. Hit the link below for the full interview and imagery of their latest collection.
1. To start things off, can you tell us your name and your position at Grind London? My name’s Youssef Metwali and I’m the co-founder and head of design at Grind London.
2. Can you give us a little background info on you and how you found your way to establishing Grind London? The brands formation was a gradual process – very much a grass-roots start up. Myself and my friend Barney Burton released a pair of Tees in 2008 as a small creative outlet for us, and then over the following 2 years the product range slowly increased, and the brand itself moved from being a side-project to our main focus as the demand for our brand increased. We started the brand as we wanted to use the experiences gained through being involved in various London subcultures/ lifestyles to produce something that took a unique approach, whilst ensuring substance was always evident.
3. This season’s line has been resonating well with our customers over here in the U.S. How has the overall brand perception been in the UK? Where else outside of home have you noticed heavy support? The support in the UK has been good, as I think people can identify with the brand, and in large are happy with how we’re representing our home through our concepts, collections, and quality. It’s important for me that our reception within the UK has been positive as for us it’s vital that what we’re producing resonates well with the people/ lifestyle we are championing. As a UK brand gaining international recognition we have a duty to uphold the legacy of British design, and also what ‘we’re about’ in the UK. Outside of the UK our main support is coming from the States and Europe. But the brands popularity seems to be growing well in Asia now also.
4. Can you speak on how London influences the brand's output and style? London influences everything. Everything we put out has passed through the ‘London filter’, or is seen through our ‘London lenses’. So in that sense we’re not limited to just taking inspiration from British fashion/ music/ lifestyle, we can draw inspiration from all things of interest to us, but take an English angle on it. For example you can be inspired by the brashness of hip-hop, but then deliver it with tones of cynicism. I feel you can speak on anything you’ve vested time into, but then you need to give it your unique approach to set it apart from others.
5. Since Grind’s inception in 2008, you guys have always had a unique approach for each season - operating with themed capsule collections. Can you tell us more about 'The New Sound' collection and how the pieces included in the collection speak to that? We try to focus on topics/ themes that mean something to us, personally and as a brand. ‘The New Sound’ collection was inspired by London’s pirate radio era of the 90s/ early 2000s - drawing inspiration from that lifestyle, and it’s importance within London, UK and international music. It was something I was involved with through my teens, and was a topic I’d wanted to focus on through a capsule release for a while.
6.With the latest lookbook you guys dropped an audio mix as well... is this something we should expect more of? Also, music wise - what have you guys been lending your ears to as of late? Music is always pivotal for me during the design process. It dictates how I approach and implement all concepts within a collection, and so the mix tapes are kind of us showing the processes / inspirations for those collections. At home the music I listen to is very mixed. From Hip Hop, Soul, Funk, Dub, UK Garage, Grime, and most things from the 50s/60s. But my go to guy is Ghostface. His consistency over the years is unmatched by any artist, dead or alive. Fact.
7. How do you and the team settle on a theme anyway? Is there a systematic approach or is it simply what you guys are on and about at that moment? The concepts/ themes for collections come about pretty naturally. We have specific themes we want to work with, and it’s just a case of us deciding when best to put it out. Luckily nothing feels forced, which I think comes from us only touching on themes we feel we can justifiably speak on.
8. What did Grind's first ever collection or product consist of? (theme, graphics, etc.) The first products we released were a pair of graphic t-shirts. Pretty basic.
9. Ok, last one- so the aliases.... I mean 'Egyptian Crack Cotton' is pretty cool and dangerous but 'Rap Game Terry Wogan' kind of roles off the tongue. Where did these nicknames originate? The ramblings of the frustrated lyricist within.
Words: Tommy Boudreau & Andrew White Images: Tommy Boudreau Model: Nate Haskell