In a fashion world, were vibrant colours, loud graphics, outlandish pairings, and explicit messages reign supreme, it seems that calm, cool, and collected, is what stands out. Ironic huh?
Could it be then, that sometimes less is truly more? STUDIO.BLAQ certainly believes so. The release of their first collection has not gone unnoticed. On the contrary, it has made many of us poke our heads up from our absorption into our own daily lives out of a cocktail of curiosity and admiration. The muted designs of the luxury streetwear brand have a timelessness about them that could almost be described as subtly regal. Moreover, their attitude towards sustainability rings true and solid, fusing itself with STUDIO.BLAQ’s values, as well as its design and production process, translating into a cohesive and stunning product.
You guys know what big fans we are of ground-breaking, forward creatives. Particularly those who tackle on the pressing issue of sustainability. So you can imagine our excitement when we came across STUDIO.BLAQ. Naturally, we had to have a chat with them and explore the depths of the luxury streetwear brand’s journey. So, we caught up with the owner’s Matt and Anthony to find out more. After all, more than one out there could learn a thing or two about STUDIO.BLAQ, they’re definitely onto something…
Photos courtesy of STUDIO.BLAQ
Could you talk to us a little more about STUDIO.BLAQ’s name origin?
We came up with many different name iterations, with Tokyo Black being one of them. However, it was STUDIO.BLAQ that felt right. The ‘Studio’ part reflects our base – where all designs originate from, while ‘Blaq’ (referring to the colour Black) expresses our drive for minimalism and a clean slate.
What do you think sets you apart from other luxury streetwear brands?
I think both our combined expertise and integrating our personalities as founders into the branding, will help set us apart from the noise. We also believe in maximising the end usage of our garments, and this will develop more overtime in our designs. This is certainly a niche within the market, something that most fashion brands don’t focus on. We never want to follow the trends, as there will always be a bigger, more established brand in the space, that consumers will choose to shop at.
When did you realise you wanted to jump into the fashion industry? Tell us a little more about your journey.
Matt: I’ve been running digital marketing campaigns for dozens of large fashion brands over the last few years, so starting my own brand felt like an obvious next step. I had built up the marketing know-how in terms of what it takes to get a fashion brand off the ground, but I had no idea how to design, develop and produce original garments. This is where Anthony came in!
Anthony: For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a keen interest in fashion. After graduating from London College of Fashion in 2019, I interned for many fashion companies, including Balmain in Paris, but I’d always wanted to start my own brand. After the lockdown period, I felt ready to start realising all the fashion, design, and production skills I learnt. Iknew Matt worked in marketing fashion brands so I reached out and we decided to start STUDIO.BLAQ. It’s been a long process of design and realisation so far, along with many delays and lessons learnt but we are in a really exciting place right now.
Why Japan as a source of inspiration?
After travelling to Tokyo in 2019, we became immersed in its street culture and nightlife. It was clear how the global streetwear market had been shaped by Japan over the last few decades, and we wanted to use this as the main source of inspiration for our brand.
Function and maximising end use is the most important factor in our design language, and this is really evident in a lot of product design & lifestyles we saw in Japan.
We also take influence from Japanese hiking & walking wear, in combination with elements that are more street-ready.
Your colour palette is very much a back to basics vibe. How come you choose to steer away from colour? Is less more?
We knew that the name of the brand had to reflect us as founders, but it also had to communicate the direction in which we see the brand evolving.
The colour black has always stood out to us. It acts as a canvas to focus our development on texture and details but with an overlying aesthetic. The styling and development will all evolve from this space where the minimal use of colour will allow us to better explore a garment’s function and interactivity, as opposed to pushing loud colours and graphics.
What is your favourite garment you have designed so far?
The X Pullover is one of our favourite pieces in the studio because we feel it communicates the functional, street meets mountains aesthetic we are influenced by, with exceptional fabrication and detailing, including the nylon zip chest pocket.
Tell us a little more about your first collection.
This first collection is an introduction to the brand in terms of fabrication, colour, silhouette, and the beginnings of our design-led ethos of maximising end usage. We wanted to keep things minimal yet detailed enough for us to build on and iterate in the future, ultimately creating a ‘wardrobe’ collection in the long term as opposed to a seasonal drop structure.
The fabric decision was a key part of the first collection. We spent days going back and forth with the manufacturers to ensure the fabrics were exactly how we wanted them, both high in gsm and luxury in feel.
Are you already thinking about what’s next? Or are you savouring this moment of launch?
We already have a lot of products that we’ve been sampling in the studio and spending time wearing and user testing, including staple accessories such as cross-body bags, trucker hats, beanies, and tote bags. We really believe everything we produce and release needs to be right! If you check us out on Instagram, we like to share a behind the scenes preview of what we are making in our Central London studio.
What other brands/designers/creatives would you say you look up to, or have served as guides of sort in this journey of yours?
Having an awareness of the market you are releasing into is incredibly important, but we try our best not to become influenced by other fashion out there and really focus on, as well as harness, our own product design skills. It’s more important for us to look at engineering and product designers as reference points rather than the fashion industry.
How does STUDIO.BLAQ show its commitment to sustainability?
We only use the best fabrics, trimmings, and manufacturers to produce garments with longevity. Those that can withstand our rigorous wear testing and high standards. That way, our customers won’t ever have to throw them out. Our commitment to longevity is further exemplified in our colour palette. With muted tones, we avoid the season trends that are known to cause detrimental damage to our planet.
We’ll also be looking to get creative with the way customers can order our products in the future. Iterating on the pre-order model, we plan on introducing new sales methods that won’t result in the wasteful over-production we so often see in the fashion industry. Watch this space!
What are your aspirations as a luxury streetwear brand? Where do you wish to be in 10 years?
We are really keen on developing the idea that we become a go-to brand for many when it comes to building their wardrobe. This is pushed by functionally, wear-tested and user in mind product, with incredibly high quality of make & fabrication. We hope that down the line we’ve developed a big community of people who trust us when it comes to the clothing they wear every day.
In summary, we hope to remain to create products on our own terms. Products that meet our sustainability goals without ever compromising. We don’t see any limits to the growth of the brand.