Streetwear has established itself, and UK street culture, as a significant part of the fashion industry. It’s in abundance at the moment; we’re being saturated with low key, raw brands alongside the dominant household names. We had a chat with the guys from ARO Clothing, an “innovative & forward-thinking skate & streetwear clothing brand” who have collaborated with young designers and artists from around the globe to produce apparel that maintains a modern streetwear style fused with an urban skate style.
“ARO was set up by a tight-knit group of friends with a common interest in street style, music and skate culture. We wanted to create a brand we felt represented us and use the brand as a creative outlet. It started with simple cut-and-sew pocket tees and tie-dye tees that were all handmade with locally sourced fabrics. We saw a lot of interest during that summer and decided to put in the work to make it something larger. Since then, we have developed and tailored our style with each season, sourcing higher quality products and creating looks that inspire us. We’ve managed to create a dedicated following through hard work, and the help of social media. It’s great that small brands have access to audiences without major advertising campaigns, and the strong relationships we’ve built with our following is one of the reasons we’ve been able to grow.”
As we continue to converse our attention turns to the influences and inspiration that drive the brand forward. Lewis (ARO) informs us that their interest in style has always been “very instinctive and self taught, which allows the brand to feel more organic.” Whilst explaining that ARO focuses on engagement with art and culture as opposed to mimicking trends, Lewis acknowledges that influences are still sourced through other brands as they “form part of the world we engage with.”
A movement that ARO implement into their brand is a unity of the arts. All segments of the creative industry working together under one roof.
“Two of us studied film and photography, so those are things we’re pretty passionate about. At the moment videography pays the rent; doing a lot of camera and editing projects, and ARO is our passion project. As we grow we’ve been trying to combine the two a bit more, we do all of our own lookbook and website photography and create animations to promote the brand online. Little ways we can use our creativity to expand the brand.”
As the steam evaporates and the grim taste of a lukewarm coffee sets in our attention turns to one segment of the creative industries in particular, music. Lewis is quick to point out that musicians are artists themselves, so therefore they naturally have a creative and stylistic flair that is represented through not only their own clothes, but the way that they act.
One genre particularly dominated the previous year. Grime has been an important part of UK street culture since its birth, and Lewis acknowledges that the growth in popularity has
“helped sportswear make a comeback into street fashion.”
Across the pond; Travis Scott and Kanye West have both started to make waves in the fashion industry. Whilst Lewis recognises this, he enforces that at the end of the day it completely depends on how the buyer digests these influences.
“Online streetwear communities like The Basement are doing well at bringing these individuals together over a shared love for fashion and music to discuss what they like and don’t like. It’s a good platform for us to hear directly from our target audience.”
As our conversation nears its end we ask Lewis about his future plans. Are there any future projects planned? Any collaborations we can look out for?
“We’re getting ready to release our S/S16 range, which will feature a more streamlined design. We’ve done a lot of looks we’re really proud of, but we’re looking to create a cohesive series of items for the new drop. We’re also looking to doing some different garments we haven’t released before. We’re also hoping to do a few collab pieces this year; we’re making great contacts as we expand and getting in touch with some great UK streetwear brands. Nothing confirmed yet, but keep your eyes open!”
We sign off with a message for young artists, designers and visionaries; to anyone looking to pour their surroundings, feelings and passion into a brand.
“Have fun with it – that’s the main thing. Don’t think that you have to be as big as Supreme in the first year, these things grow and develop organically and as long as you’re being creative with your ideas and having fun, then the passion should translate well to your products.”
Words: Andrew Moore – @