Firstly, I’d like to apologise to my This Life family for my lack of posts over the past few months, but my hiatus hasn’t been unproductive! I’ve enrolled in a writing course and have been getting some other projects underway in the mean time.. But I’ve finally managed to pull together a pretty balanced organisational structure so I can get shit done on all the platforms I’ve dedicated myself to so expect to see more activity from yours truly!
I had a quick chat with Kieran from Black July clothing – a GC based clothing company with simplicity and style. Some of you instagram folks may have come across the notorious #blackjuly posts but if not, I got the details on the scheme of things below!
T: What is the meaning behind Black July and what is it all about?
BJ: I wanted the company name to be really personal to me, so I grabbed my last name “Black”, and the month I was born in “July”, and threw them together. It just worked.
Buuuut did it ever occur to you what the acronym BJ stands for?
Many times, I get constantly reminded of what it stands for when new customers figure it out, and they ask the exact same question.
With so many other clothing and street-based labels out in the game, how do you think Black July distinguishes itself from the rest and what inspired you to start it?
My clothing company is based on greyscale items and the weird, not-so-perfect drawing style I have. I started the company because I was sick of trying to find casual clothes to wear that would fit the way I liked it.
Do you think Australian apparel differs from American-based apparel companies? How?
It definitely does, but the gap is closing each year. The internet helps me stay current on what people want around the world. With huge brands like Supreme, Obey and others though you can see their influences leaking into the Australian mind-set of “cool” clothing.
So besides your own label, what other clothing brands do you delve into?
The funny thing is I don’t really wear brand name clothing. I usually just wear plain black t-shirts or button-up shirts from Lowes. Nothing fancy, I don’t usually like to spend a lot of money on my clothing and I think that’s apparent in my pricing model.
You have a really interesting (and clever) marketing campaign – reposting photos of fans wearing your gear.. was this intentional or did it just happen?
I’ve been a fan of Instagram for a very long time, it was only recently that I thought I should make a totally separate account for Black July. Since a lot of my friends, friends-of-friends and so on seemed to like Black July it seemed like a natural step to get people wearing the brand and putting it on my feed.
Where do you source your garments from?
Like most Australian companies, I’m using AS Colour which is the Australian/New Zealand version of American Apparel; both in quality, style and fit.
I source the printing and is done on the Gold Coast.
”A t-shirt company based on simplicity and grey scale” is your slogan; where do you pull inspiration from for your designs?
I grab my inspiration from just about anything. Most of it comes at the weirdest of times.
In the bathroom, in the shower, in work meetings, etc usually times where my mind should be more focused on other topics at hand
What are your weapons of choice when creating or brainstorming a collection and what does your work desk/area look like?
It’s a mess. It’s covered in drawings, chewed up pens and dirty coffee cups. I’ve never really had to think hard about what I want to release under the name Black July. I’ve been really lucky so far with a great fan base that like my stuff.
So what does an average day consist of?
Wake up at 6:30am, start work at 7:30am, finish at 3:30pm, send out orders (if there are any), update stock levels, design stuff for bands or other companies, then go to sleep. Eating and breathing come into play sometimes.
What are your favourite Black July items?
I love winter, so I would have to go with the crew neck jumpers and beanies
Is there any winter-wear that you would like to incorporate into the collections that you haven’t as yet?
I would like to get windbreakers, gloves and a billion other things but I currently don’t have the funds.
What is your association with the artists on the music section on the BJ homepage?
All of these artists help me out through social media, gigs and other little things by telling their friends and followers to check out Black July. It really is quite useful. But they do get discounts and I help them out with their band’s merchandise designs, stickers and whatever else they need help with.
So you design clothing un-related to Black July; What is your general process for that?
The clients usually tell me what they want, in the case that they have no idea what they want (which is the usual case) I provide some guidance in what I think will suit their branding.
Are there any particular photographers or artists that you would like to work with down the track for the production or design of a collection?
I like to keep everything local and small scale when it comes to photography and getting other people to help me out. Keeps everybody happy.
What do you think our government should be working towards changing for a better future?
Particularly start ups like mine need a lot of initial funding, so a few more readily available grants would be nice.
So it hasn’t been an easy feat getting Black July started?
Definitely not, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve done. Including my 4 year double degree.
What is coming up in the next couple of months for Black July?
I’ll be leaving the country for 6 weeks to go to America. So it will be a great time to connect with artists and a whole bunch of endless inspiration opportunities. If anything, it will only make Black July even stronger as a brand and company. In regards to products, it’s all a little hush-hush right now but if you find Black July on Instagram there are a few clues on there @blackjuly
Is there a set schedule for the trip? Will you be meeting up with anyone over there or try to?
There is a schedule to fly all over the place, CA, IL, FL, OH, NY, NV. So pretty much everywhere. I’ll only be trying to meet with people. Nothing is planned on that front, unfortunately!
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