Many people think the streetwear scene is becoming too commercial. They are right to a certain extent. None of the big brands are unknown and streetwear has become a huge culture – it is hard to describe it as niche nowadays. It began as a counter culture movement but has become arbitrarily mainstream. This was not how it was supposed to be. Originals who built the scene were wearing Supreme and Palace before you even heard of it. For me, that is the essence of the community. Helping smaller designers achieve their dreams and simultaneously expressing yourself though clothing. A mutual, unspoken agreement between yourself and the brand is made.
You don’t need Bape, Gosha, or Supreme. There are many under the radar brands that allow you to truly be you, and express yourself via the medium of fashion. Rather than succumbing to the pressure to dress in the most hyped brand’s tracksuits, there are independent brands that are holding up the culture itself and preventing it from becoming almost ‘too hyped’.
Our weekly focus on some of our favourite under the radar streetwear brands is helping you once again break away from the fray. It also provides some of the most talented designers a platform to show off their work and hopefully turn you into a fan.
This week we focus on Alcove Studio, interviewing the founders and designers of the brand, Lachie and Issa.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Issa: I’m 18 years old I grew up in New York and London, but moved to Oxford at a young age for schooling and have lived between Oxford and London since. I have always been passionate about the arts but was never good at painting haha
Lachie: Similarly to Issa, I’m 18; London and Oxford based and over these past years I have loved the freedom of working on our own project, doing something completely independent. All the creative stuff in my life has had to be done off my own back, my school didn’t offer Photography and didn’t let me do art A level as I didn’t do it for GCSE’s, it was a set back but I guess it motivated me more as I could do all of this outside of my school, making me more passionate about it.
Who is the most influential person in your lives?
I: My mum simply because she herself is a poet and author and she offers me daily inspiration with her words, but more so she has always supported me and has always been the one to push me to follow through with my designing.
L: My mum and my older sister, half of my family are very academic and conventional, and my sister was the first to really break that mold by getting a degree in fine art and kind of showed the creative side to of life to me. She’s made it so much easier for me and has inspired me. My mum’s just had confidence and supported me in whatever I choose to do.
Tell us the most interesting thing about yourself.
I: Its hard to say really but the most interesting things about me come through most clearly in what I design and that’s for you to interpret.
L: My favourite thing to do is photography, particularly street based. I love the idea of capturing moments in time otherwise unseen.
How has your interest in fashion shaped who you are today?
I: For me it has shaped my perception of everything haha. Since getting into designing I am constantly on the hunt for inspiration and simply having that open-minded mindset is the clearest change that I see in myself.
L: Yea it’s completely changed they way I dress and therefore the kind of person I am. It’s also made me way more open-minded towards all areas of life in the way that the fashion industry pushed boundaries, I think a lot of people readily shun creative careers which is so stupid, ask people if they really enjoy their careers and you’ll see I guess aha.
Why did you want to start a streetwear brand?
I: A number of reasons; I skated from a young age and that indulged me into the culture at a young age but I wanted to create clothing that I wanted to have.
L: To channel creative potential into something material.
When did you start Alcove?
I: In year 10, so 2013. For a project at my school when I was 14 I made some simple, vector transfer print tees and my peers liked them, so I asked Lachie if he would like to start a brand with me officially.
How many collections do you have?
I: So far we have four, but our most recent ‘Villains’ collection has just released on our website and our older collection is available on Congro Store.
L: Yea and once school finishes there’ll be so much more time to invest into this which I am so ready for.
What distinguishes Alcove from all the other independent brands out there today?
I: Whilst a lot of streetwear brands are all show and no substance, Alcove offers both.
L: We don’t act as a fast fashion brand copying the biggest brands for lower quality, lower priced goods but offer new ideas and push new designs and styles forward.
Supreme often include controversial products such as the money gun (make it rain gun), the infamous brick, and even motorcycle helmets as a bit of a ‘fuck you’ to consumerism. What’s the hidden or visible message that your brand aims to get across?
I: Even in the most desolate, depressing places you can source beauty.
L: It’s ironic really as Supreme have pretty much embody the elements of consumerism they were so against in the past. It’s just become washed now, but that means space for new brands.
What are your views on the current streetwear scene?
I: I hate it; I think people fill a void of insecurity with clothing.
L: Yeah, it’s in a bad way at the moment, the exclusivity for it has died for sure and the only measure of a ‘grail’ these days is if it costs you over £500 or something stupid like that. It’s lost its edge.
What are the ultimate aims of Alcove, where do you want it to be in 5 years time?
I: I want to be able to walk through London and see people wearing Alcove.
L: Yeah, that’s the dream. Also I think a big goal is to expand it into something bigger than just a clothing brand, something of a creative collective, where all forms of creativity can be explored. Music, Art, Design, Photography etc.