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How to Start a Techwear Brand: Part 2, A Fork in the Road.

Suhail Sahrawat

You: Suhail, the last part was quite personal, and kind of weird. What’s the deal, are you okay?

Me: I was told that I had to write blogs to create engagement, and also help with SEO. I racked my brain for weeks on how to do this without making myself cringe. Writing about my own experiences is comfortable for me, and hopefully interesting for you. 

In Part 1, I talked about an early enjoyment of sneakers transitioning into an interest in clothing. This began with brands like Diamond Supply and Supreme when I was 17. Scrolling Hypebeast forums and other communities lead to an interest in brands like APC and Ralph Lauren, and by the time I was 21 I was wearing runway Rick Owens to my call center job on casual Fridays. 

At this point, I didn’t know what kind of clothes I wanted to make, but I knew what I didn’t want to make. 

One day, I found Outlier, a brand you may be familiar with. I remember reading their textile descriptions and thinking "this sounds cool, how can they make this at such a decent price point?". So I began to research the textile company Schoeller, and other brands like Arcteryx. 

After reading more and more, I began to wonder "why isn’t everyone using this stuff? It would be so useful in a climate like New Zealand, where a sunny day can turn into a downpour in the space of 60 seconds". 

Okay, we have some traction now. We know a potential textile supplier and a general ethos that we can follow. What about the aesthetic? Who are we making this for? 

Going down the rabbit hole of clothing forums, there was one designer who I never forgot and whose work I would revisit regularly because of how jaw-dropping it was the first time I saw it. Aitor Throup… You expected me to say Acronym right? I didn’t even know what Acronym was until I was half way through sampling and developing Garuda’s first release, at which point a friend commented "this reminds me of Acronym"... Coming back to Aitor Throup, I knew I couldn’t create anything even close to that, but I thought "it would be fire if someone made a halfway between Outlier and Aitor Throup, why hasn’t anyone done that? Maybe I should do that". For whatever reason, I never stopped to second guess myself.

This is going well, everything is coming up Millhouse. We have a direction and steam, but wait… how do you make clothes? What's a pattern? Grading, huh? Now we arrive at a fork in the road.

Option 1. Spend a couple of years learning how to do all this stuff, spend another couple of years getting good at it and then develop a full collection. 

Option 2. Set lower goals of making a couple of items instead of a collection, find the right people to do it, learn through (costly) mistakes, throw it out there and see if it sticks.

Both had their pros and cons.

I chose option 2, figuring that there’s a chance this whole idea is terrible and will fail miserably, and I’d rather fail fast and learn fast, looking back I have no regrets about the decision I made.

Tune in to Part 3, where we introduce a new character to the story and start sampling. 

<- Part 1 / Part 3 ->