Having only posted one feature this week (apologies for the slow feed, we’re working on that), we thought seeing as it’s Friday we might as well drop another one. We’re currently at FatKidOnFire HQ listening to The Social Network’s superb soundtrack by How to Destroy Angels’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – if you’ve not seen the film we thoroughly recommend going. Fight Club’s David Fincher directs and West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin brings the screenplay. The film is amazing, and the soundtrack even better!
Anyhow, onto the feature. The next brand are a new face in the UK streetwear crowd, but are already definitely worth getting to know. If you’re one to loathe the over-saturated high street “fashion” market, this brand’s for you…
Find out more after the jump
Manchester’s Unequal Balance (UN=) launched in the middle of last month, dropping their fresh take on streetwear and definitely turning a few heads in the process. Their line consists of five designs, three collabs limited to 50 of each (with Birmingham’s Secret Wars Mikey Brains, FKOF’s good friend Mergs and record label One records), a pin badge and sticker set and finally a screen printed poster. They didn’t hold back dropping their first line and it shows! We caught us with UN=’s Louis to find out more…
Who or what is Unequal Balance? Unequal Balance was born out of being disheartened by the reality of working for high street fashion companies, who are nothing but parasitic sellouts who suck the life and soul out of creativity. They are blinded by greed and have lost all honour.
We learned this lesson first hand by working on a diverse variety of high street brands, which just copy the hell out of each other and completely lose the notion of originality/ style. It was that spurred us into taking the horse by the reigns. Maybe without that negative experience Unequal Balance would not be here!
Creating products & providing services for likeminded people became the fundamental building block for Unequal Balance. We are massive believers of turning negative into positive. Finding that whole industry so false and negative caused us to backlash therefore creating Unequal Balance.
Grounded in design & art direction and schooled in the glorious Manchester, members of the Unequal Balance club come from varied walks of life & backgrounds but all share the common goal of making a mark & creating a testament.
Essentially we are an independent design collective/ clothing brand who lend our hands to all forms of mediums to project our voice & make a few greenbacks. We especially like art direction, illustration & precision.
Your tee designs are stylish, strong and striking – but do they convey a specific brand image or is it flexible? Combing bold designs and artist collaboration, whilst producing more than just apparel (artwork, stickers and so on); is this something you will look to continue? I think the UN= branding speaks for itself and is what we pride ourselves on.
Just as you described in the question, our ethos towards the graphics is to create “strong and striking” bold, iconic and off-the-wall graphics that catch the eye. Why stick with one specific brand image – our tastes (which are massively varied) and brand are constantly evolving! Experimenting with new graphics and styles is one of the main reason to embark on a journey of creating a clothing brand.
On the collaboration front, Bruce Mau wrote in his “Incomplete Manifesto” “The space between people working together is filled with conflict, friction, strife, exhilaration, delight, and vast creative potential”. Hooking up and working with people on the same wavelength as you is where it’s at for us and this is why we created The UN=IQUE sub-label. UN=IQUE gives us the opportunity to work with variety of artists and brands that are not just apparel-based.
For example, the third release for this is with record label called One Records in which we have produced a limited 10 inch record and tee pack. So yes full steam ahead with collaboration and diversity with the product.
What does/ will make your brand stand out and distinguish itself from the rest of the British streetwear pack? We are not solely a street wear brand, lending our hands to a variety of mediums and producing items which are not just apparel. This makes us different from the rest of the pack.
Who or what influences you in your work? Family, friends, love, fear, multiculturalism, music, reading, films, curiosity… Pretty much anything we are currently knee deep into and especially needless knowledge that you need to know!
[Detail from UN=IQUE #02 – Mergs]
You say UN= is “dedicated to lateral thinking streetwise mavericks” – what’s your take on the whole UK streetwear scene at the moment? It’s definitely thriving and there are plenty of new up and coming independent brands which I buzz off. However, it’s very insular in the sense few UK brands are spreading their roots and gaining international recognition. It’s even been highlighted in a recent interview I was reading about Greg Mishka (interviewed by The Daily Street’s Grizzle) and he proclaimed to know little about any UK Brands, which I was really quite shocked about because we think we are fairly clued up on US brands. It will be interesting to see in the next few years how all these brands progress and which survive.
Where do you see you and UN= being in 5 years time? On the clothing front we just want to develop a loyal legion of independent stockists in the UK and further afield. Our brand is about growing slowly and putting it in the right environment, making sure that quality remains the sole driving force and not to cut corners or stock it in the wrong places.
Where can people expect to catch your work, any UK stockists to watch? We have a launch party which will be happening early next year which we will let people know about shortly. As for stockists, Wood in Manchester will be stocking our gear from next year (that’s tees and outerwear – which we have been working on for the last few months and are very hyped about).
Top 5 favourite albums? That question is to hard but what I will give you are current top 5 artists that are getting a play in the ride on the regular (in no specific order):
- Capone & Nore
- Oddisee (especially traveling man)
- Madlib (all the Beat Konducta Volumes)
[UN=GENIUS, UN=MAGIC and UN=DEALERSHIP]
Shoutouts UN=IQUE CREW thus far – Mergs, Mikey Brain & One Records.
Big shouts to my web guru Pixel for eyes and Seb for his photographic skills.
Finally to you, FKOF. Peace, respect and much appreciated [appreciate the love]!
It’s truly a great time for the independent fashion scene in the UK. Brands like UN= are really pushing the envelope with what a small startup can do and it’s a termplate everyone should take note of! My UN= tee will be arriving next week and to say I’m stoked on it is an understatement. If you like what you see and are feeling what Louis has said, hit the UN=SHOP and grab yourself an UN= design. Louis and the rest of the UN= family are also on Twitter if that’s your thing, if not grab them on Facebook to keep up to date on what these Mancunians are up to.
If you have any thoughts on what Louis has had to say, or thoughts on anything else you’ve read let us know either via the comments section below or through one of the other forms of contact (email, Twitter and Facebook).