G’day mates and darls.
Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition of the 10@10. This evening’s ‘Man Behind The Menswear’ is Mark, a full time Dad who’s loving life at the other end of the globe to me in sunny Australia.
Now, if memory serves me correct Mark aka @shadows_of_indigo is the first Aussie to feature on the 10@10 so that’s cool and hopefully he’s set to be the first of many! *Mark if there are any fellow countrymen denim heads you know about then send them my way bro*
I’m going to swiftly move on here and not blabber on as much as I usually do! I’ve just read Mark’s interview for the 3rd time and it’s so great and in depth that there is more than enough for any bloke’s mind to absorb and enjoy. You can tell Mark took some real time for us here @clobbercalm and it comes across in every answer he’s given.
MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Mark aka @shadows_of_indigo
LOCATION: Melbourne, Australia
OCCUPATION: Previously in Marketing (Brand Management) whilst doing photography part time but for just over a year I’ve been a stay at home dad, which is truly a gift and awesome. It’s tiring but the best part is I get to see my kids grow up before my eyes. 2nd best part is that I get to wear denim every day, weather permitting. And I haven’t tucked in a shirt for over a year and I try to stay well clear of social events that require me to do so. Friar tuck is no friend of mine!
1. So Why Instagram?
I treat IG completely differently to Facebook. It’s a different beast, not just because its image based but because it’s connected me with strangers who have become friends (FB friends too). IG to me is not about sharing pictures of my kids or what I did on the weekend like FB is for (I sometimes do though & certainly don’t mind when others do). For me it’s for sharing images of hobbies & interests, such as fashion. I keep the 2 lives kinda separate and call IG my dirty little secret as most friends don’t know I essentially share pictures of me standing around like a douche in my clothes I was embarrassed about it all in the past but have made peace with it (although I still feel very self-conscious taking pics in public). It’s a hobby & interest just like sharing pictures of your kids or the food you are about to eat.
I also don’t have any friends into this type of clothing. I have fashionable friends, but no one into this modern American/Japanese “workwear”, raw selvedge denim & boots, so I love that IG gives me an outlet to share a hobby & interest and importantly a community to be part of. IG is also just so positive and supportive. It’s not about bragging or showing off. It’s not competitive. It’s about sharing a common interest and appreciation. That’s why I love IG. FB is full of haters & trolls and so easy to get into arguments with strangers. IG is just about likeminded people geeking out over indigo, fits & fades.
The worst part of IG is how it can suck you in and takes up a decent amount of time. Good time, but still time. It’s why I had a 9 mth break after the birth of baby bear no. 2. pretty much a month into the slubfaders contest too. It also can be expensive, as it makes you aware of brands and stores you didn’t know of before. It’s like a highly targeting fashion ad being piped straight into your inbox. There’s a danger to feel like everyone else has purchased shirts from the latest drop and you haven’t. I just have to keep reminding myself to be selective and not get carried away with purchases.
IG is a great way to find out new brands, types of clothing you might not have considered, stores where these are available, as well as real life fit pics etc. And importantly to find out about sales occurring (being an Aussie I’m hit with sometimes crazy shipping and shit exchange rates).
2. Why Denim, Boots, Workwear, Ruggedness?
It just speaks to me. I feel like I’ve found a style that feels right and is who I am. I’ve always been interested in clothes and fashion as a kid and young adult, albeit more Japanese street wear brands (Bape & Evisu). I’ve had a jacket and sneaker fetish since a teenager. Raw selvedge denim really took off when I made my 1st of many trips to Japan. I was an avid denim wearer before that but something about Japanese raw selvedge denim and the whole look called me and my first pairs were Evisu (just the hand painted gulls, not the diacock) and The Flat Head. I loved the Japanese fashion of denim and boots. I’d owned the timberland boot as a kid but my boot fetish really started shortly thereafter with my purchase of some Bathing Ape boots (more disposable income with no kids back then). I always had a massive love of the boots Goths & Skin Heads wore and I also loved Doc Martin boots when I was a kid. That yellow stitching was amazing and I always wanted a pair of 9” cherry docs (still do). Although their philosophy was very disagreeable, I love the skin head look of big boots and denim with cuffs.
I love how denim, leather and indigo change over time. They look great to begin with and then as you start to live your life in them they reflect who you are and what you do in them. They kinda have integrity & truth to then, in the way they show what you have done in them, not what you wish you had done in them. I’m not sure I could get anything but raw denim, because I want the whiskers and honeycombs to be where the denim actually folds, to look real. I also love the art vs science aspect to denim and raw indigo items. There’s so many ways to skin a cat and it’s fun exploring them and finding a method that has the right ratio of art:science for your interest levels.
I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of true workwear per se, more modern workwear inspired pieces. I like to tip the hat to vintage workwear, but I like the modern fits much better and half of my clothes wouldn’t survive true outdoor work. My open weave flannels get snagged on door jams, they wouldn’t survive a week in the forest as a lumberjack And there’s no way I’m going to pave the back patio in my apolis indigo wool chore coat The items hint at ruggedness in much the same way as they reference true workwear, but I’m a suburbs dad so they more so need to survive horsey rides (Dadda knee fades abound), sticky hands, being pulled & stretched and boogers.
3. What are your thoughts on the rise in popularity of “Instafashion” and the community it is creating?
I think it’s great! As mentioned above it’s a great way to see fit pics, online window shop, learn new styles, have a creative outlet and most importantly meet new friends who are into the same thing you are. The community is what it’s all about!
One thing that totally amazes me as a Marketer is how we’re all so willing and even desire to advertise and promote our favourite brands & stores. If a brand has great product & brand positioning then we become the marketing foot soldiers. These brands represent us and we represent them. And then in a way, we too become a brand.
4. Top 3 brands to shop and why?
It’s hard to choose 3 but here goes.
• Rogue Territory: It was the 1st non-Japanese brand I got into. I love Karl’s aesthetic (fabric, fit & even button choices) and his unique take on heritage workwear with a modern twist. It’s simple at first glance but there’s great attention to detail and the quality is there too. I think he does some of the best shirts in the business (love the classic workwear pockets he does) and the supply jacket is also a classic modern take on the trucker (love the contrast button hole which is great for sunglasses but actually tips the hat to vintage fob watches I believe).
• The Flat Head: My favourite denim brand by far (lump RJB in there too). The brand just speaks to me as it has the right level of American workwear heritage fused with Japanese aesthetic and craftsmanship. I love the arcuate, which to me is a big differentiating factor between the top denim brands, who all use top quality denim and have great craftsmanship. They also do amazing shirting and wallets.
• 3sixteen: Love the aesthetic of these guys, especially with their jackets and shirts. The back yoke is unique but not just for the sake of it. It looks good. The quality is there as well as aesthetic of materials chosen. I love their type3s shadow selvedge trucker and flannels best.
Worth a mention (I know it’s kinda cheating) is Apolis (makes the best outwear I’ve seen in their raw indigo wool chore coat and other items using that amazing material), Taylor Stitch (love their shirts and probably have more of their shirts than any other brand), Freenote Cloth (great aesthetic and quality. Love their waxed riders jacket & indigo workers jacket especially) and Ewing Drygoods (love his function and aesthetic of leather goods especially key clips, cuffs and belts).
5. Where’s your favourite place to shop these brands?
I shop at so many different places being into American/Japanese modern workwear and living in Australia, but based on pure numbers it’s probably Snake Oil Provisions, Lone Flag and then Standard & Strange. I also buy a lot direct from the manufacturer and love a good sale so buy anywhere that has what I want, in my size and the best price inc shipping.
I buy vast majority online and from overseas unfortunately but locally I have purchased from Corlection (Melb & Sydney), Up There Store (Melb), Right Hand Distribution (Adelaide), Big Trouble Store (Sydney) & Godspeed store (Melb). Haven’t purchased from them but shout out to Pickings and Parry (Melb), Great Southern Denim Co (Sydney) and just opened Urban Lupe (Melb). The Melb & Aussie scene has changed vastly vs 5 years ago, which is awesome. I’ve also purchased from Okayama Denim and always keep my eye on Denimio (no purchase yet as small sizing is an issue but it will happen).
6. When did you decide to voice and share your love for your clobber on social media?
Probably posted my 1st clothing image late 2013 (my Bape boots). I got a minimal response but I saw the potential for furthering my interest and joining a community. Bit by bit my feed had more boots, denim and socks and less kiddies and arty iphonography imagery and then it is what it is today – my dirty little secret of a fashion blog of sorts.
7. What’s the secret behind your great images; Who takes them? When are they taken? How do you capture the magic your followers enjoy so much?
The vast majority of my images are taken by me. Normally with an iPhone held out at arm’s reach for the looking down or boot shots. For the full body fit pics I purchased a cheap iPhone stand from ebay. I use the 10 sec timer, rush to the spot, stand like a douche and repeat
Occasionally I’ll get my wife to take a shot, or a trusted friend or even my 5 yo daughter who was starting to get into posing me too but has since lost interest Most of the images are taken at home on the deck outside. The light is ok and most importantly I don’t need to feel self-conscious.
Only recently I’ve discovered I can use the DSLR to take images by myself with the timer. I’ve found the perfect time of day between dinner & kids bed when the golden light hits behind me and the deck lines lead off and I can get some good bokeh. It’s actually easier than I thought it would be, but it’s the same as with iPhone really. I use the 10 sec timer, rush to the spot, stand like a douche and repeat.
8. What feeds do you like to follow and check in on? Who should we check out?
This is the question I didn’t want to answer, because there are so many people on here worth following, but I’ll mention some of the people I first followed 3 years ago that helped me really get into this community.
@snakeoilprovisions and @sopmireezy were some of the 1st guys I stumbled across and they were the 1st store I found online that I liked. They are great guys, with a great sense of individual style & aesthetic and a brilliantly curated store to match. As a marketer it’s great to watch how they have used IG to create a community within a community.
@cuffington, @jaesungxlee and @jjayhawks were around since I started and have amazing feeds. They’ve been great to watch what they put out every day is of a true professional level. More than anything else, I like their clothes and aesthetic style.
9. What tips would you give new starters on Instagram to help them get there feed off the ground and successful?
Have fun and be yourself. There’s no need to rush. Don’t get too caught up in numbers of followers. You only want followers that actually like what you do anyway. Post what interests you and likeminded ppl will find you via hashtags. Don’t get too caught up in follow for follow. There’ll be people you follow who don’t follow you and vice versa. It all evens out in the end.
You do need to put some effort in your pics though. IPhone is fine but I’ve seen some pics of great kits but the image is so dark you can hardly even see it.
Be active, ask questions. Most people on here are here because it’s their hobby and interest and are more than happy to answer fit questions or care questions. Just remember to say thanks.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) Only with you.
What would they be? And Why?
I normally take these kinds of questions too literally, and would normally answer: a pair of thongs (Aussie, not American), boardies, white Tee, duvet suit for the cold nights and a bottle of water.
But my fav kit is as follows:
• Apolis raw indigo wool chore jacket: This is arguably the best jacket ever made imo. Its lightweight (surprisingly), has a really distinctive style, really well made, fit is spot on and most importantly the fabric is beautiful. A textured raw indigo wool blend that has so much character. Stunning in sunlight. I love this material so much I also have the raw indigo wool CPO and Blazer.
• The Flat Head denim: Either a TFHxRJB collab I got in Japan or my newest pair I’m waiting to wear which is a collab between TFHxRJBxCorlection store. Great details and fit.
• Zuriick Merriman boots: My fav boots by far! They are 8” in black mexel leather with the larger vibram 2021 sand sole. Double stitching which I love and they’re made by Nicks so are amazing quality. I love how serious they are! I think they must remind me of Goth & skinhead boots a bit being black, 8” high with the larger wedge sole.
• Rogue Territory ISC: I love this shirt! It kinda has everything you would want in a shirt. Raw indigo, selvedge placket, triple needle chain stitch seams with run-off and the best catseye buttons I’ve ever seen on a shirt. Seriously love those buttons!
• Kirin Ichiban beer: I think Japanese lagers are the best beers in the world. Or some good quality Sencha.
So much good info crammed into this weeks’ 10@10, a real insight into how a normal everyday bloke (one of us) sees his denim passion from all the way across the pond! It’s great chatting to the Oz guys as we don’t see as many in the community as we would like but I guess that’s because the climate only allows the purest of Australian denim heads to enjoy the indigo threads.
Next week we will be firing on all cylinders again on the denim-front as we get @katobrand to sit down in the 10@10 hot-seat and let us into the minds of the guys behind the brand + the products they create!
As always, Monday’s feature will be followed by Thursdays’ ‘Man Behind The Menswear’ and hopefully a cool little announcement on something we have been working on here @clobbercalm HQ (the island in my kitchen) 😉
Have a tip top week folks and stay close, below is a few things listed FYI…
1). There are new products on the CLOBBERCALM STORE. Take a look, the independent craftsmen & woman that make our product are the real deal.