Last month Megan from Ballad of, a digital arts magazine from London reached out to us for an interview. We talked about the origins of this little brand, what inspires the brand, and the future of streetwear. Check out the full interview below.
Can you tell us who you are and what you do?
I’m Matthew Vernon, a designer living and working in Sydney, Australia.
How did Neue Goods come into being?
Like a lot of young designers, I always had aspirations to start up a brand of sorts. Over the years of being interested in design and streetwear – I’ve seen a lot of indie labels start up and fade away. Often a result of teenagers starting things up with almost no idea on how to build out a brand or run a business. I always told myself I would resist the temptation to start up a brand until I really saw potential in the ideas I had, and would only start them if I had the resources to continue it for at least a few seasons. Late 2015 I had some early ideas for some designs, and after some positive reactions I decided to get them printed.
One of the Neue Goods shirts features the names of different fonts listed down the sleeves - is digital design a big influence on the brand?
One of the major downfalls I see for a lot of indie labels is a lack of a brand story. A label should be an expression of who you are, and your ideas. Fashion is a way for people to show the world what they’re about and what they agree with. I’ve been aware of Streetwear since my early teens, but as of late, I’ve found it hard to align myself with any of the work being produced by the usual suspects. I stopped skating, and now spend most of my days inside behind a computer creating work. In terms of clothing – there really isn’t any brand out there creating quality goods for people like me – designers, creatives, artists and people working in technology. Yet, all the way through design school, and in every design studio I’ve worked in, Streetwear was everywhere. I’ve never met a designer who couldn’t dress well. So Neue Goods is a brand that has roots in streetwear, but instead of pulling references from Skateboarding, Graffiti and Hip Hop, you’ll find references to design, art and technology.
You use female models, often with a bit of tomboy edge - is the brand particularly aimed at either girls or boys more?
Being a male and the sole designer and creator of the brand, it will always have an obvious lean to male-orientated designs, but I have always intended for Neue Goods to be inclusive for people of all genders and backgrounds. I figured the best way to cement this early on was to have a female model for our first collection. Streetwear can be pretty fucking mysoginistic at times – especially in the subject matter of their look books, and early on I decided that I didn’t want to have any part of that whatsoever. Moving forward with the brand, I’m committed to working with, and highlighting the work of people of all backgrounds in an equal and respectful manner.
Streetwear is currently reaching new heights in popularity - I work near the Supreme and Palace stores in London and there are often queues throughout the streets for those stores. What are your thoughts on the growing market for streetwear?
I’ve only been aware/interested in streetwear for a little over 5 years now – so I can’t talk about it’s growth since the early days, but even just over the last few years there’s been some pretty obvious changes to the game. When I first started buying it – the internet definitely played a part, but not as much as it does now. It’s not uncommon for a 16 year old kid in an isolated town in rural Australia to have a wardrobe full of Supreme without ever stepping foot into a Supreme store. With Facebook Swap Groups, Proxies and VPNs – it’s never been easier to get your hands on the more “exclusive” stuff. In that sense, the internet has kind of broken down the barriers that used to exist in the industry and it’s forcing brands to think differently. Instead of swinging their ego around in terms of the retail exclusivity of their items – I can see a lot of them becoming more experimental in their designs and cuts as a means to differentiate themselves from other brands.
There are interviews and features of other up and coming creatives or projects on the Neue Goods blog - do you feel like the people you feature are reflective of your brand?
Yes definitely. I almost think of Neue Goods as an online journal first, clothing line second. In fact it definitely started that way – I was running the journal and interviewing creatives for about 6 months before dropping the first line. There is a whole host of amazing artists and creators out there that often go a little un-noticed and I wanted to provide a platform to explore their craft. I also just wanted to build out a nice little community of creators around the brand before it launched. Looking back at some of the names I’ve featured really makes me smile as I’ve been following most of their work for quite some time and it’s been great to finally get to work on something together.
What can we expect to see next from Neue Goods?
Our next collection is at the printers as we speak. It’s a Spring Collection and I’m hoping to launch it in those special first few weeks where the weather starts warming up and people really get excited about the approaching Summer. It’s full of bright pastel colours to reflect this amazing time of the year. We’ve also got a brand new website in the works that should be out soon as well!