Sancho's Dirty Laundry

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Ain't Your Average Cat

09 October 2015 by Sancho Murphy

(R)Adelaide! A city within Australia - that admittedly I know little of, except for more recently that they have a super kick-ass urban renewal program in place and the government is taking initiative to support and nurture more public arts programs that benefit the wider community (not just those that seem to have a firm grip in the tight-knit circle jerk).

But for realsies, I think Canberra could do well to cast it's "Urban Renewal" buzzword gaze at Adelaide. I've been dealing with a few upstart brands now turned flagship shopfronts in less than a year! Watching these creative businesses carve an honest niche for themselves has been exciting, mesmerising and sometimes I live vicariously, day-dreaming of what Canberra would be like if we had a Renew Program in place - seriously, everyone, close your eyes and hold hands for a moment and let me take you on a visual journey: imagine Garema Place & City Walk as a thriving independent micro-business hub instead of all those littered empty shopfronts........... what a dream! We wouldn't rely on flower festivals and Scandinavian furniture outlets to legitimise us a happenin' city!

Anyways, enough of pushing my own agenda, this interview is about one such independent brand hailing from Adelaide - Average Cat. What started off as a clothing label, to an online store, has now progressed to a legit shopfront. I'd previously been getting alot of graphic tees to stock in Dirty Laundry, this is the first resident brand that focuses more on the cut & sew side of things. Nothing has been spared with the attention to detail in this product, it's really crisp and quality to boot. I sent some questions over to the guys about living in Adelaide, aspirations, the Renew Adelaide program and what gets them going, take a peep :)

What / Who is Average Cat Apparel?
Average Cat is an Australian streetwear / lifestyle brand specialising in cut & sew crafted product.

Van started Average Cat, creating what it is now. Recently we’ve gotten a couple people on board, notably Patrick our marketing and sales champion.

Van overlooks the strategy moving forward while Patrick puts it into action.

When did you come up with the idea for Average Cat Apparel?
Late 2011, early 2012. It spawned from having an interest of how things are made and the behind the scenes development of a product. As I was into streetwear, it was only natural my vocation pointed me into the clothing industry. Initially I had purchased a heat press and learned the concepts of screen-printing. From this knowledge I decided to conceptualise a brand. I was sketching out some ideas for a logo and I had this idea for a cat to be incorporated somewhere, but I wasn’t 100% set on it.

As I was drawing, my playlist was blazing in the background, the song 'Hell on Earth' by Mobb Deep came on and there is a line in the song which goes: “I ain’t your average cat / fuck rap / I’m trying to make cream and that’s that.” I love Mobb Deep and that was the moment where I thought, ‘Yep, it’s meant to be’. I still use the same name and logo today.

You guys are based in Adelaide, how goes it? How’s the creative haps?
Sure are. Adelaide is not seen as a cradle of the streetwear & creative industry but there are plenty of people here altering the status quo’s perception. We have so many talented artists, designers and creative thinkers. The government & state as a whole has recognised this and is finally putting policies and structures in place to help harness that potential. There will be plenty of noteworthy things to come out of Adelaide in the coming years.

Where do you typically find inspiration? Did you get into clothes and style through Adelaide’s culture scene?
It’s not necessarily the style through Adelaide’s clothing scene because SA is still in it’s infancy when it comes to being a driving cultural force in that sense. In regards to finding inspiration for concepts & ideas in general Adelaide is a great place to draw from. Whether it be the architecture of heritage buildings, park lands, cafes and bars - there is plenty to transform into your own style.

You’ve taken your label a step up from just selling online, you’ve actually got a flagship concept store, how’s that going for you and how did that come to be?
Doing really well. It initially started off as a pop up store through an organisation helping small business called Renew Adelaide. We had such a great response we decided to prolong our stay and turn it into a flagship.

What is Renew Adelaide? How long has it been going in Adelaide, when did you guys jump on board? How has it helped you guys develop your brand?
It’s a non profit organisation helping small business. It provides rent free retail space for a period of time and it’s then up to the business to make things happen. Lucky for us it was a success and after a short period we signed a commercial lease. We started with Renew in April 2014. It helped in the sense that it gave us confidence in pushing the brand and store, something we would have been hesitant with without that rent free period.

Just looking at your latest collection, you guys focus very much on the cut ‘n’ sew side of things, how important is fit and cut when designing your line and where are you getting fabrics from, locally or internationally? And why?
It’s very important. People won’t wear or buy something they don’t like the fit of. It’s our job and I think we’ve done really well at crafting a cut and fit synonymous with the average fashion lover without making it a generic or eccentric.

We do a bit of both. If we can source something from AUS and it’s viable we like to do so, if not we source overseas. The main reason to put it simply is that overseas have a better range of choice in fabric.

What are some of your favourite designers and brands?
There are plenty of designers and brands we love and respect. I tend to lean towards brands that have successfully turned themselves into a business. One I have to mention is 10 Deep from New York. We definitely draw inspiration from the attention to detail and utility aspect of their clothing. Even on a business level they’re able to provide an affordable product - although most of their collections involve so much detail and extra features.

As a brand and also running a flagship store, what do you hope to accomplish through what you do?
This question goes hand in hand with the above answer. Creating a successful business out of our brand. Being able to have a career through something we’re passionate about is always nice.

If ca$h-money was no object and you could travel and live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? What would you spend the rest of your life doing?
You don’t need much money to travel the world and live life the way it should but if I wanted to live the glamorous life I would have to say New York. I’ve been there a couple times and there’s no place like it. In regards to what I’d be doing – I have to say, exactly what I’m doing at the moment, Average Cat.

*I have a small business crush on these guys - they're doing it right. You can get select Average Cat items through the web-store, but we will have the fuller range available at the Dirty Laundry shop front when we open :)

Click here for Average Cat's Facebook // Instagram