Introducing Victate’s summer drop.
About a year ago, I saw Victate’s Liberty pocket t-shirts, and ever since then, I have been a huge fan of the brand. Consequently, Victate’s head designer Ed Li and myself have kept a close working relationship. I admire his hustle and creativity as not only is Ed twenty years old, fine like French wine and still studying his dentistry degree, his personal style is eye-catching to say the least. Ed is the embodiment of suave minimalism. Chuffed was an understatement when he asked me to style his Private Stock collection, and working on photography with my Individualism brother Jelani Pomell only enhanced this already creative shoot. It really was a pleasure to work with Ed. He has clear vision about what his brand represents and where he would like to see it go. I was inspired by his drive and determination, which will always be the reason I champion Victate.
The Private Stock collection features three Liberty floral sleeved t-shirts in red, emerald green and navy blue. With the body of the tees made from 100% silk sheen cotton and packaged in a Victate tote bag with a matching floral label, this is premium street wear at its finest. Exclusivity is emphasised further by limiting the t-shirts to just twenty pieces per colour.
Aaron caught up with Ed and delved a little deeper into the origins of the brand and his plans for the future.
How long has Victate been around?
Victate has been in existence for nearly three years now, where the creativity started in autumn 2009. Saying that, the real business began a year later in the autumn of 2010.
How did it all begin? Tell us a little history.
It was really all quite out of the blue. I was asked by two friends to help start a new brand, where I would be in charge of digitally illustrating their drawings, making the images possible to screen print. What actually happened was that I was brought into an early brainstorming process where, a month later whilst lying in bed, I decided on a lead word- victorious. The ideas of taking control and ‘dictating’ ones own path also ran through my thoughts that night. The next morning, I woke up and wrote down two words, one of which was Victate, and another one, which I honestly cannot remember. I had merged two words to create a new one which functioned on its own, yet still held the definitions of its constituents. Straight away, I drafted a logo. I remember – I just had a really good gut feeling about Victate.
After pitching Victate to the other two guys, it became that one of them shared my vision whilst the other had another name in mind. Eventually, it was decided that they would go with the other brand name. This decision allowed me to createVictate, a new concept to the street clothing market. In hindsight, this was just as well, as at the time, I was becoming pretty bored of the brands that were already being imported from the United States.
During the first year, the £60-£80 a month that I earned from tutoring children allowed me to pay for samples
from which I intermittently made pieces for Victate. Then, in the summer of 2010, I decided to work full-time at Selfridges in order to fund my brand. Subsequently, every season has been about gaining experience and allowing Victate to create the best products possible, whether it is the best garments, website design or photography.
What is Victate’s Unique Selling Point?
Well of course I would say that Victate is a unique brand, but I also truly believe that.
We create products that are functional and have undergone heavily scrutinised design processes.
We ensure that the product is suitable for its target audience, as well as setting our collection at a reasonable and justifiable price. All this is tied together with the simple, yet sophisticated aesthetic that Victate is known for. A prime example is a bag that we are currently developing for winter 2013. It is a shame that I can’t say too much about it, but the team and I have lost count of the changes that have been made since conception. A better half of a sketchbook has been dedicated to this bag, as we take into account every detail from the practicality and aesthetics of a piece to the comfort and manufacturing, which is usually half the headache. We often joke about recording our late night discussions about product design, as the stuff we notice and pick up on can sometimes seem so minute to an outsider, but in actual fact are crucial for us to explore. The bottom line is, we simply will not release a product until it is something we are confident and proud enough to carry and sell to customers. I am glad that we are actually at the stage of creating what we hope can be near final samples – fingers crossed.
What is the basis of your current collection, and what is your favourite piece?
When we set out for summer 2012 we had a few targets. The first was to introduce premium wool snapbacks into our collection. We also wanted to continue to work with Liberty fabrics as we really respect their ethic and range, and as returning collaborators, use this opportunity to develop from the previous collection. It actually turned out that this season was not heavily themed, with the exception of our love for floral prints that we have continued to present since last summer 2012.
My personal favourite has to be the Liberty sleeved t-shirts. The amount of work that is put in on those tees is almost inexplicable. All the sleeves were pattern-cut by us, a team of four people working outside of office hours, cutting out over a hundred-and-thirty sleeves out of twenty-five metres of Liberty art prints. It was an infinite equation of paper pattern + pencil + scissors. We did not want third party manufacturers, as it was not worth running the risk of error. It was imperative that the sleeves needed to be pristine and of the best finish. We also patterned the rest of the t-shirt, which took many revisions by ourselves in London, as well as by the manufacturers to ensure their understanding of our product. The finer details considered to compliment Liberty’s fabrics vary from the thread colour and texture used for embroidery, to the type of cotton and the weave technique used for the body of the tee. Not stopping at just the product, packaging was another step we ventured into, opting for Victate-branded canvas bags that are finished with a patch of Liberty fabric from the corresponding t-shirt. Essentially, we used this season as a platform to distinguish our Mainline as well as Private Stock work from other street-wear brands. I hope we have achieved all of the above.
Yes, this process was laborious, but I speak on behalf of the team when I say that we are extremely proud of the final collection and I hope that everyone who has ordered a t-shirt is just as excited as we were when we received our first delivery of our Private Stock collection.
So how can we get a hold of your stuff?
The simplest way to get hold of our stuff is by visiting our website www.Victate.co.uk where any new stock will be available first. Otherwise, Victate will always be available in limited quantities and in select stockists. At the moment, we have two stockists; Robot Bunny in Whiteleys shopping centre, and The Open Liftestyle store in Leeds which can also be accessed online at http://www.openlifestylestore.com/ .
What is your PERSONAL biggest Sin Of Style that you have committed?
I have been thinking about this for a long time since I knew it was coming!
I think my personal low was in my teens when I OCCASIONALLY wore eyeliner along with chequered Vans Sk8 Hi’s during my emo phase when I skated a lot.
I still love skateboarding – there is nothing wrong with that, but my appearance was a sad cliché of Kerrang! crossed with a lowly indie skate mag.
What is the one SOS you hate seeing on other guys?
There are way too many…haha. I think young guys/kids who wear everything they own are the worst. You know the sort, a try-hard who has got his Beats, Jordans (or better yet, Yeezy’s), Givenchy tee, Louis Vuitton key-holder, Gucci belt, Supreme cap and some ill-fitting G-Star denim all at the same time. The key is to pick some of that outfit and style yourself. The funny thing is the slip-up of worn socks or five-year-old underwear that let an outfit down. Quite simply, it is better to dress according to your individual lifestyle than attempt to be part of a commercial movement that is ill fitted for you. I don’t think I need to go on…
These tees are selling out pretty fast, so do yourself a favour at www.victate.co.uk