Interview with Ian Paley, Garbstore

The following interview with Garbstore founder Ian Paley was published in Issue 4 of Proper Magazine in around 2007.

Obviously you’ve now popped up with the new Garbstore venture but what is your background? How did you get to where you are now?

I’ve been around in the Industry since 1995, My first endeavour was a label for Paul Smith called R.Newbold, a lot of fun and a really great label (still in Japan! ), I then encompassed all of Paul Smith Jeans and conceived launched Red Ear again in Japan first. This was my first real introduction to Japan, I’ve been a regular visitor since around 96, my old man used to travel allot to Tokyo in the 70’s so it’s a pretty special place for me and at that time ( mid to late 90’s these labels were doing serious business, it was a whole lot of fun.

From there I worked at Bartle Bogle Hegarty as an external consultant mainly on Levis in San Francisco, this led to a lot of spin off projects and label development for Levi’s in San Francisco, another city on the regular trail, gave me the chance to play in the archive and to see first hand all of the original jeans. A real moment in time for me.

Just after that I started my relationship with Burberrys, mainly working out of Barcelona on the development and re-launch of The Thomas brand. Another really great bunch of people, my hat is always off to the guys at TB in Barca. I work also with the German brand Closed who are immense friends and have been a real constant in my life for over 10 years. Germany still remains one of most favourite countries with great stores and really progressive people. Again added to my annual circuit!

People and places are just as important as the Labels they do, I’ve been very lucky to have met so many of the good guys.

Are you still involved with OTS? If not do you mind me asking why and when you ceased to be involved?

I am no Longer Involved with the brand I created and launched and loved for 8 years of my life. It’s now in the hands of others and Legal reasons forbid me from allowing to offer any sort of explanation. It’s been nearly 18 months now.

The last few seasons are not my work.

How much of what you experienced in your other roles (particularly OTS) influenced what you’ve done with your new brand Garbstore?

I suppose early OTS time is my biggest influence, doing what I feel is right and not pandering to current data or opinion. It’s nice to get back to a single thread running through everything, when things are farmed out labels glaze over; they become more serious and a bit formulaic, I suppose it’s the old dinosaur reaction thing, the bigger you are the harder it is to turn around.

One of the slogans behind Garbstore is ‘unfamiliar vintage’. Can you elaborate on that?

Unfamiliar Vintage basically means vintage inspired garments that have a good portion of reality in them, original cloth, original zips buttons, some dead stock some reproduced in the same way.

Quality in casual wear is something that has been cheapened over time, it’s real roots were in formal wear and the quality of that time is something I both admire and aspire to achieve. It’s rare to find great things from the past that are perfect, we are different shapes now and are not soldiers trained for a specific role. Taking something original and adapting, redesigning looking to the left and right around the product to see what else could have existed but didn’t.

To read the remainder of this interview, get hold of ProperMag #4

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