Although the majority of our newer fanbase may not know it, FKOF started as an effort to support the independent musicians, brands and characters doing things I liked the look of. While the majority of our focus now lies with the music side of things, I’m still very much keen on the idea of being an all-encompassing ‘culture’ publication.
While the fashion side of things petered out after a few killer brand features early last year, after our occasional fashion contributors went on to bigger and better things, I still reminisce back to the days when we did a bit of everything. You could argue we’ve come on leaps and bounds since finding our musical focus – but that’s a conversation for another day.
I discovered the following brand through my mate
El Stu bertos off Myspace one hazy night a few years back in Gravesend. We were listening to old Fused Forces vinyl when Sam turned up with a crate of old hip-hop records. Turns out Sam also produces, is a web developer, rides BMX and does loads of other cool shit. It’s taken a while (we’ve both moved jobs a few times, I moved out of London and a few other things happened) to sort, but we caught up recently to talk Less Effort – his ‘culture’ brand that I’ve wanted to feature for ages. Here goes…
Hi Sam! Long time no speak, how goes? Great thanks!
Awesome. You’re a web developer right? What made you decide you wanted to run your own brand? I have always been creative. Alongside the development work, I do design and graffiti. Being into streetwear and BMX, the move came naturally to clothing. I started with my housemate Benson as we both had the same sort of ideas and interests.
Back when we first talked about Less Effort, the brand seemed to be inspired by your love of BMX and the associated culture – but it strikes me, having looked at the site and the webstore, that the brand might be bigger than ‘just a BMX brand’. Who or what inspires the your work with the brand and the products you design and create? One of the main focuses is BMX, as it’s something I have a lot of love doing and have made friends through it. BMX is only one of the aspects to the brand alongside music, graffiti, travel and anything creative and fun, which is what inspires the stuff we create.
How would you best describe LE? Who would you see as competitors or in a similar vein? LE is a creative outlet mainly focusing on clothes, but we extend it to media, music and creative artistry.
We don’t really follow what’s on the market, as ideas seem to come naturally and we don’t see the need to ever forced what we do.
Less Effort’s been around for a while now, have there been any memorable high points in its history? Any low ones? The journey so far has been pretty amazing! As a brand, we’ve brand done things like BMX trips, hip-hop shows, albums, and videos.
Of your products, which do you feel reflects the brand’s ethos the best? Why? Which is your favourite from your product list? It would be hard to pick a single product, as we’ve learned from every product we’ve produced as it’s all been been hands on. The 5-panels we were particularly pleased with – and we think the London Haze tee is quite unique. The tee was a collaboration with Oli Trowell – the first feature from our artist series.
How important has the web been in what you’ve succeeded in doing with the brand? In an internet-less world, what would you have done differently? The Less Effort site was the first e-commerce store I have built, so a lot of the build was learning as I go, but the site works well for our size at the moment.
On the social side, I would say Instagram works best for us. It provides pretty solid customer interaction and has lead to customers worldwide. On the other hand, a lot of product is sold in person to friends and friends of friends at shows or out riding.
What does the next 6-12 months hold for the brand? Where will we see it progress to? Sweatshirts will be out soon. We’ve got more products from the artist series, with designs from Deps & Loanne Le. And there’s more trips, products and good times planned!
Is the brand stocked in any brick&mortar stores? If so, how was the process of getting the brand into retailers? We are currently only online but, in the future, we would like to stock at retailers we like.
Is running your own brand something you’d recommend others do? If you have the time and passion for it. It’s not something I’d recommend if you just want to make a quick bit of money as the market’s too massive.
A lot of people seem to be setting up on their own at the moment, but there seem to be few brands that stand the test of time. Is there anything brand owners can do to future-proof themselves? There does seem to be a trend of copycat labels popping up and cloning trends. I think the idea behind Less Effort is to involve people so they feel more part of the crew. We’re not rushing products out the door, we have a steady flow of releases with bigger products coming out as we go and as the brand evolves.
What are your long-term goals with LE? Bring out good clothes and products that we would wear ourselves. Work and collaborate with interesting people from all over the planet. And manufacture as many of our products in house as possible.
Any final words? Thanks for your time and all the best for the future! Thanks FKOF, SRC, all our customers, followers, family and friends!
As always, if you’re a young brand looking for exposure, hit us up on Twitter (@FatKidOnFire) or fire us an email. We’d love to hear from you! I’m also on the hunt for new contributors – so if that’s you drop me a line!