Born out of Birmingham’s inner city, GVNMNT Clothing Co’ encapsulates the struggles of the second city in anarchic fashion. With a constant middle finger up to the people in high places, GVNMNT never holds back on their message. Bold graphics, political slogans, urban and gritty look books are just some of the signature attributes.
The guys have come along way since 2013; many startup streetwear brands never get past the t-shirt and beanie stage, but GVNMNT are leading the way in the Midlands, their cut n sew outerwear wouldn’t look out of place sitting alongside the industries elites, and with the addition of designer mregfx to the GVNMNT ranks, we can only see this brand setting the bar higher. Their latest AW16 collection comes with a look book shot by Morgan Tedd in a broken down warehouse.
What does GVNMNT stand for, what’s the ethos that runs deep through the brand?
GVNMNT stands for the misrepresented youth culture in Britain first and foremost. We wanted to give the youth as well as the whole population a voice, when so often the people that are being affected most by our government’s decisions get little or no say. A kind of power to the people vibe was the original idea. We also take a look at current affairs and try to incorporate our take on social commentary in our designs.
What’s the history behind the brand?
Me and an old friend were always interested in fashion and it kind of just went from there. We toyed with the idea for a while at the end of 2012 because we were overseeing our culture being misrepresented. If we were going to do it, we wanted there to be a strong message behind it. There are a fair few meaningless brands out there and we didn’t want to be one of them so GVNMNT was what naturally came to us. We found our feet after about a year or so it started to move in late 2013. My old partner ended up leaving to pursue another career, so I started a new partnership with my designer Ash and the rest is history I suppose.
Tell us how your latest collection differs from previous?
In this collection, we focused on some extra outerwear pieces – as the only thing you can guarantee through the British winter is bad weather! We also paid extra attention to fabric choices and detailing because we want the pieces to be hard wearing to see our people through to the spring. We pride ourselves on quality and want the people wearing our brand to feel like they are getting the best materials for their money.
What are the pros and cons of building a brand in Birmingham?
It’s not as frantic as the London scene – I feel like you can take more time on your designs and refine them and you can focus on what you want to do as a brand and stay authentic rather than following fads. I feel it’s given me space and the social backdrop to build a strong brand where although the designs may change the message is still the same.
I think anyone will say as a brand you do miss out on the networking and promotional opportunities that London can offer. Don’t get me wrong Birmingham is my home and I love it – I think there are really big moves being made here right now, but it has been potentially a slower process than if this was a London brand.
How can Birmingham step up and support independent fashion brands and designers?
As I have said, I’m hugely proud to be from Birmingham and I think recently it’s stepping up its game as the second city; with the investment in infrastructure, great new nights out and some incredible independent places to eat and drink. I think the only place it hasn’t noticeably pushed is its platform for small and independent clothing businesses. More events dedicated specifically to clothing would be a good start and more support and collaboration opportunities for pop-ups. I do feel like it’s starting to happen and I’m looking forward to seeing the Birmingham fashion scene grow.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Most of our inspiration comes from our environment and current affairs. The hypocrisy and propaganda we see on a daily basis from politicians, the press and “celebrities” play a large part in our design process. There’s inspiration literally everywhere, you’ve just go to open your eyes and see it.
What moves can we expect from GVNMNT in 2017?
Moving into next year we have a couple of collaborations planned with some brands and artists from Birmingham and further afield. Our branding and message is strong so we will still design and deliver high quality and thought-provoking pieces that comment on the social and political madness going on around us every day.
What public figure or icon would you most want to see rocking GVNMNT?
Man, that’s a tough one… There are loads of people that have influenced me and I see as icons. I grew up listening to Mike Skinner and as a local guy, I would love to see him wearing some pieces. I’d like to see someone in the U.S. rocking it to show the parallels between the “democratic experience” in the UK and the insane shit that they have to live through right now. Hip-hop and rap music were a big inspiration in the beginning – Kendrick Lamar has a lot to say about how he sees the world so I think he would be a great ambassador to rep GVNMNT.