Tonight sees us journeying back to North Yorkshire, where we meet a relatively new streetwear brand out of Harrogate…
Last weekend, we went up to North Yorkshire for a short holiday and ended up bumping into Jim, half of streetwear label Synapse Collective. He and his business partner, Don, run the brand out of a shop above one of the best tattoo shops in North Yorkshire; North Star Tattoo where they share space with another extremely exciting label who’ll be featuring on these pages one day!
Don was away on holiday when we popped into the shop, so we had a chat with Jim to see what’s currently going on with the Synapse crew…
Who is Synapse Collective? Two founders run Synapse Collective; Don Richards of North Star Tattoo and myself, Jim Mawer.
You guys are based near Leeds – there seems to be a strong scene developing up in North Yorkshire! What inspired you to start the brand? We started the brand after Dead End Records (a record label run by my friend Josh Clayborough and I) decided to wind things down. I was now looking for a new project. With an interest in clothing and after talking to Don (drummer in my band and long time friend) we decided to start Synapse Collective. Don has been tattooing for over 8 years and has a great style of illustration and similar interests to myself in terms of music, sports and lifestyle. So it seemed like a great team.
What does or will distinguish Synapse Collective from the rest of the UK Streetwear being dropped these days? Our brand draws upon relevent and real influences that we believe our demographic will be able to relate to. We try not to be influenced too strongly by other brands and current trends and stick to what we feel looks good and produce products that we enjoy wearing ourselves.
Who or what influences you in your work? Don and I always have our eyes open when travelling, reading or just going about our day-to-day lives. As a tattooist, Don has a great deal of exposure to tattoo art and to date it is our strongest influence (along with 80’s skate and BMX graphics).
What’s your take on the independent clothing scene in the UK at the moment? How do we compare to the rest of the world – can UK brands compete on an international stage? I believe the UK definitely has it’s own thing going on, it’s a very vibrant place to be right now with many new companies being formed every day, many of these are already competing with international brands and are holding their own. I think other countries look to the UK for something original that they might not find down at their local store and I think that will help out a lot of the smaller brands; if something is hard to obtain then it becomes more sought after.
Where do you see you and Synapse Collective being in 5 years time? Right now we’re taking things one step at a time and developing the company at a controllable pace. We’ve seen many companies blow up overnight and then vanish in a heartbeat; we’re looking to build a brand that has longevity and that can be flexible enough to satisfy us and our customers as our ambitions change.
We have so many ideas, many of which won’t ever see the light of day, but I’d like to see us going further than just clothing albeit clothing will probably always be at the centre of our interests, i.e. eventually starting to produce extreme sports hardwear. As a mechanical design engineer, I have the skills required to design parts for bikes or skateboards etc – so it would be great to have the opportunity to put the ideas we have when riding into our products.
Where can people expect to catch your product, is Synapse Collective in any physical stores? Our products are currently exclusively available through our online store, but we are in the process of scoping out stores that we feel would represent us well.
If you could say something to your fans, what would it be? Likewise to your haters? To our fans, we say thanks for the continued support and interest – we will continue to do our best to bring you quality products that you enjoy wearing and we will always strive to be a good value company.
We are a positive brand and we don’t really focus on negativity but we always take on board opinions.
Top 5 favorite albums?
- Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions
- Rancid – And Out Come the Wolves
- Gorilla Biscuits – Start Today
- Minor Threat – first two 7”
- De la Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising
Shoutouts Thanks to our suppliers for helping us keep our high standards of quality. Thanks FatKidOnFire, without the support of guys like this providing coverage for smaller brands it would be nearly impossible to start a clothing label! Anyone who has bought our products and or take an interest in what we do.
We’re definitely loving the amount of independent streetwear labels that we’re seeing coming out of Yorkshire at the moment. We’re stoked to be able to support these guys here at FKOF and here’s hoping you guys are feeling them too! Synapse Collective are doing a lot of awesome stuff – and if you’re ever in the market for some new ink be sure to check out Don’s shop. Synapse recently dropped their Summer collection, which you can see here. We’re huge fans of their new product!
If you’re keen on what you’ve seen or what you’ve read, head over to the Synapse Collective Facebook page, follow them on Tumblr or Twitter and hit up that all important webstore to support this new brand. We will be!
If you have any thoughts on what the Synapse Collective guys have had to say, or want to recommend us a new brand you’ve discovered or just want a chat about something you’ve seen on FatKidOnFire, fire us a comment below or get in touch via email, Twitter, Facebook or the FKOF TakesQuestions page.