If your music taste skew to heavier side of spectrum then the name Joel Birch should be familiar if you have been exposed to local success story turned international juggernaut, The Amity Affliction. It is projects outside of music though which give Joel the opportunity to flex his creativity without the bounds of a microphone and stadium lights.
WORDS: ANTHONY THOMAS
Native Brand is one of those projects. The name may ring a bell from our feature on Milan Chagoury in Issue 8, who was a partner in the business at that point in time. Since that article Milan has moved on to other projects while Joel stayed aboard and now steers the ship under a new vision and renewed vigour the make it work.
Under the slogan, “Dream Forever”, Native Brand’s new direction is single minded in tangibly articulating Joel’s view that there is beauty to be found everywhere, everyday. And if you think about it, operating under that guiding principle implies that, really, anything is possible. All you need is a dash of everyone’s favourite secret sauce, imagination, to uncover it. The label’s latest range is the most literal distilment of this to date.
Under the slogan, “Dream Forever”, Native Brand’s new direction is single minded in tangibly articulating Joel’s view that there is beauty to be found everywhere, everyday.
This fondness for the little things seems to stems from Joel’s innate affinity with nature and, aesthetically, this is where the label leans heavily on as a source of inspiration. Yet while nature is part of the label’s DNA, the designs themselves are actually intended as visual nods to the romanticism of travel and surf photography and the feverish excitement that comes with discovering new places.
Native’s newfound sense of purpose and self-confidence has come off the back of a number of significant learnings though. Notably, the need for simplification and localisation of the supply chain (Grand Scheme are close collaborators) and also unsatisfactory results from experimentation with street culture influences two collections ago. The latter was a particularly important reality check for Joel to reset and bring things more in-line with his feelings about nature and living near the ocean.
Perhaps most interesting though is the opportunity Native Brand has to further enrich its proposition by start leveraging Joel’s global perspectives from touring into future iterations. And from his point of view, the sky really is the limit when you’re dreaming forever so what that looks like is really anybody’s guess.