Sinstar clothing is a fresh brand (just two years old!) making waves in the UK scene. These guys are legit enough to prove that gutter punkin’ is a career not just a lifestyle choice. T-shirt Magazine caught up with Ryan, Sam and Jay to see where they’re at on the dawn of their SS 2012 release:
Julia: You come from tour life, so did Sinstar originate as band merch or were you dead set on it having its own independent identity?
Sinstar: It was always going to be a separate thing. The idea behind the brand was taken from our lifestyle on tour, the imagery was influenced by this but we never wanted it to end up as just band merch. However, we are doing some great collaborations now with ‘Young guns‘ [J-playing Vans Off the Wall 2012] and ‘Kids in Glass houses‘ which is all good. I think having the support of band’s we looked up to and toured with and the fact that they dig our brand is awesome. We were very dubious about what people in the industry would think of our brand at the beginning because we didn’t have a clue about anything, but we were brave with it and it seems to have paid off so far.
J: Did you tap any contacts from the industry to move Sinstar along?
S: We honestly didn’t do any of that. Like I said we weren’t sure how people would receive us in the beginning and I’m sure a lot of people expected us to fail so as we have grown as a brand so has our contact list. We meet people out and about and go and get stuck into the scene we love and that’s how you make new friends who in turn want to help you out and vice versa.
J: You were able to spread the word and build hype by hocking tees while on tour, but you simultaneously ran an online shop. Which one of these tactics do you think had a more valuable impact on where you stand today?
S: Having the website was the main thing, followed by advertising in magazines. On tour we would sell stuff but a lot of the time we got drunk and ended giving friends from other bands tees as well. It’s all good, if they like it they’ll wear it and in turn someone might see that and ask where it’s from. The website just made us look professional like we weren’t two random guys in a shitty white transit van driving around Europe.
J: You guys jumped into Bread & Butter right out of the gate with your first drop still steaming off the presses. If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you have brought?
SAM@Sinstar: I was on holiday at the time and Ryan rang me and said I’ve heard about this show and I’m going to do it. Over that next month on his return we learnt so much stuff about the industry and the standard people expect at shows like that, the sort of quality we thought was quality was shit. We upped our game and apart from me being there we would do it all the same again. It’s a learning curve.
J: B&B is obligatory, but what other tradeshows would you suggest new brands check out?
S: We totally recommend Stitch in the UK. We’ve had an amazing time at both shows we’ve done so all in all that’s another place to definitely be seen.
J: You manufacture your Tees in Portugal which has a strong history of textile manufacturing, but they also have an admirable tech industry. Have you found the mills/factories maintain a classic approach to production, have you experienced a bleed of innovative influence from the tech industry, or a blend of both?
S: We are still a young company, so we haven’t seen some of the caveman stuff that may have been going on but Portugal’s approach to manufacturing garments is always the best. The factories are incredible and the way they do certain things is just so amazing. To see how some garments are actually made to look the way they do like the jeans that are burnt with a James Bond laser is wicked. The most important thing for us is that they focus on quality – they have good morale’s and for business that is so important.
J: You’ve expanded into your own cycle studio and dropped a complete fixie recently. Kudos on taking on a huge commitment. What are your future plans for development? Will you cater to the ‘custom’ build market like Squarebuilt or will you continue to drop lines of standard completes?
S: I think standard fixie bikes is where It’s at. We are a clothing brand after all and we don’t want to try jumping in at the deep end by jeopardising SinStar’s main focus.
J: Do you find yourselves considering the unique requirements of apparel for velo culture when working out your cuts and picking fabrics since the longer cuts and tighter pants seem to vibe well with the sport?
S: We don’t want to get into to making type specific garments for certain sports as such. We do what we do really well and the fact that our clothing sits nicely with this and still aside from it is important. Maybe one day we’ll custom some pieces but for now it’s all about keeping it tight.
J: Congrats on landing ASOS and Choice. What have you found are some of the pros and cons of landing a larger retailer versus selling to sole proprietor boutiques like you have in the past?
S: There are only really pros so far. Choice and ASOS are very prestigious retailers and because of this other smaller and similar retailers have jumped on board which is great – they’re also lots of stores that want our stuff but because we want to keep it tight and make sure we don’t sell the brand out we choose to go with certain stores.
J: The UK has traditionally held a niche of distinctive style, but in the recent past style worldwide has become more and more homogenized through flourishing international trade and information channels. Do you still think there are styles unique to the UK? Is it important to you to maintain your heritage through your brand?
S: Our heritage so far is short but the main aspect of who we are and what we do comes from the rock scene and it’s real. We don’t profess to be fashion experts but what we wear governs what the brand sells. Where we are from governs the graphics and styles we produce therefore influencing the overall look of the brand.
J: You have some very strong references to film, Dali, and maybe a little Justice in your last line? What influences did you have for the SS12 line?
S: This line is more vibrant in colour and less dark in ideals. A lot of thought goes into the graphic pieces so they feel real and we really wanted to capture summer but still retain our unique approach to the dark stuff knocking about upstairs. We are both really proud of it.
J: What is the one item in your studio right now that you couldn’t live without (besides standard equipment)?
S: Er! Theirs a compressor we bought for Ryans drums and we having to live with it because we blew it up. That reminds me Bob in Reading, if you’re reading this we haven’t forgotten. I’ll call him now before I forget. Basically it makes drums sound fat!
J: Who is the target consumer of the SS12 line? What are they doing tonight?
S: They are probably out having a good time living life, maybe drinking, maybe not – just going to a gig or chilling in some field with a stereo. They are between the ages of 16 and 40 maybe older who knows! Who wears our clothes isn’t a major concern it’s the fact they choose to wear SinStar that makes us proud.
Look out for our review of the SS2012 line hittin’ the books soon.