Something I’ve wanted to trial on the blog for a while is a recurring series of mini interviews with people I find interesting.
I’m a firm believer in broadening horizons and learning from trailblazers in other industries. There are some incredibly talented and created people doing great things in Ireland at the moment, so I’m going to trial it for a while.
If you like, please give a share, and if nothing comes of it, at least I’m learning from some really interesting people!
I’ve some very smart and creative people lined up, but if you’ve any suggestions for future interview subjects, please drop me a line.
For the first Person of Interest, I thought I’d start in a obvious place with a entrepreneurial guy I’ve admired for quite a while. Garrett Pitcher owns and manages Indigo and Cloth, a clothing store, agency, brew bar and generally one of Dublin’s most interesting spaces.
Having started in a small basement store on Sth. William Street on 2007, Gar built up the I&C brand through sheer hard work and smarts, into a bit of an icon in the Dublin style scene.
The store quite obviously prides itself on a hand picked selection of clothing and products that fit with a design centric, thoughtful and style (not fashion) conscious demographic. Previously for a discerning Dublin gentleman or woman to get their hands on the likes of Oliver Spencer or Norse Projects would have needed a trip to London or further afield. Certainly, these brands wouldn’t have been readily available in the smart, boutique setting that Gar and his team have brought to our doorstep.
According to the man himself, he’s seen a lot of change in the past 7 years. “There has definitely been an improvement in how guys dress since we opened. That’s mainly due to the large influence of the high street. They are very effective in taking a trend and blasting it out giving guys little choice but to go with it.”
One of the major aspects in recent menswear history has been a more sedate pace, and more value placed on hard wearing brands with a story and heritage behind compared to the often inane, disposable nature of female high fashion. Pitcher thinks this is due to a disappearing middle market. “I think in a recession you make up your mind whether or not you care enough about what you wear. The high street does a good job at a certain price point but if you are a little more into quality or dressing for yourself, then that’s where premium brands play a part. The middle gets lost.”
A key part of the I&C ethos has been a mindfulness and discerning taste when it comes to choosing brand associations. For example, on the ground floor of the Temple Bar store sits a ‘Brew Bar’, a joint venture with Clement & Pekoe, one of Dublin’s premium coffee roasters. If a brand is the sum of many parts, Pitcher has certainly chosen wisely, and that understanding also works itself into his own ethos on brands. “I admire small brands personally. On a larger scale, Patagonia must be admired and I really like Virgin and all that goes under it. With regards class leading, I really like companies that cross industries or go up or down the supply chain. I have always liked Our Legacy as a brand. For instance they will manufacture their own fabrics and also have their own stores. That’s the future really, making and selling. In that sense im really proud of the stuff we make ourselves too.”
A born polymath it seems, Garrett has led an interesting, creative professional life, including stints as sales manager for one of the world’s most renowned denim brands, Lee Jeans in Ireland. Indeed, one of our shared acquaintances, Gar’s friend and my former boss James, often regaled me with stories about their common selvedge fetish. So what advice would Pitcher offer to prospective creatives?
“I would advise them not to choose a certain path. I still think choosing a college course is difficult enough and that for the first few years of your career perhaps its best to try a number of companies and roles. It’s perhaps selfish but I think you need to be early on. It gives you good experience and helps define a career path, especially in creative positions.”
So what does the future hold?
Worldwide, one gets the feeling that lifestyle brands like Saturdays NYC, Monocle etc are the space that I&C is aiming to play in – rather then being just a store, being a snapshot of a way of life, a multi-faceted creative enterprise. That’s a big goal for a market the size of Ireland, but success hasn’t been an issue so far.
Indeed, the man himself intimates a similar burning ambition for the brand. “We want to experience different industries and products. I see us as being innovators whether that’s being creative for ourselves or clients.”
With previous experience in fashion styling and publishing, co-creating renowned Dublin fashion mag Thread, who’s to say we won’t see an Indigo and Cloth publishing empire sooner rather than later? “I can see publishing and another store for sure, but first we will create the brands.”
Often perhaps, we look west to the IFSC and ‘Silicon Docks’ when we’re in the mood for some entrepreneurial praising. But the future is bright for one of the guys at the forefront of Ireland’s fashion and creative industry.
A fascinating subject for the first ‘Person of Interest’. If you’ve any thoughts or comments, please leave them below or on Twitter!