If I had to sum up in one word why I started Garuda, it would be: Anger.
When I was 18 years old, my mum got diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and two weeks later my father passed away. After the initial shock faded, I had conversations with people close to me about legacy. Why legacy? It was because I knew no matter how much people cared at the time, one day they would all forget who my dad was, and move on.
This lead to several more deep conversations with friends and family “Some day we will all die and will be forgotten, and the luckiest among us will be remembered for a generation or two at most, so what’s the point of waking up everyday and running on the hamster wheel of life?”. Everyone had their own answer, whether it was “No. Don’t think like that! We are lucky to be given life” or “Yeah bro, you kinda right”.
One year on, I was filled with a paradoxical mix of anger and apathy. It spilled over into almost every aspect of my life.
The only thing that interested me was conflict, so I sought it out — from creating drama in the workplace to starting arguments with random people on the internet.
Some time passed, but my anger remained. As a young child, or teenager or adult even, people will always tell you that anger is bad, that it is a character flaw. I knew people were right but in no way did that make me any less angry if anything, it made me angrier. At a certain point I simply accepted that this is who I am, so I can either:
- complain about it, or
- weaponise my anger and channel it into something useful.
At the age of 20, I thought about what I wanted to do with my life for the first time since I finished high school. From the age of 13, I was dead set on architecture, but that didn’t pan out for a variety of reasons. Thirteen was also the age when I bought my first pair of Air Jordans (2008 Olympic 6’s). This sparked my love for shoes, which transitioned into an interest in clothing.
I knew I had no desire to attend university for architecture, but at the age of 20, I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life. I remembered that a friend in high school started a clothing brand in our final year, which made me realise I didn’t need any qualifications to make clothing. This started to appeal to me because, at the end of the day I could still make something that people lived in. Sure, it wasn’t a building but rather fabric around their body, but it was close enough for me.
So I started researching more about clothes and learning as much as I could, I knew that I wanted to be more than a printed t shirt brand, I wanted to build clothes and challenge myself and the consumer.
How did this desire lead to Garuda and techwear? Find out in Part 2.