"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for Crohnies!" Happy 2018 everyone. We kick off the new year with a designers insight into one of the new(ish) breed of streetwear brands, Ageless Galaxy. We grabbed a word with Creative Director Tamish Aswani to get an understanding of what goes into launching and building a brand, even when life throws you a major curveball.
Last year whilst taking my daily browse through Instagram over the morning coffee, I scrolled across an image a friend of mine had posted under his shops account. His business, named Main Source is a streetwear and sneaker store based in the lanes district of Norwich in the UK. As a sneakerhead, clothing connoisseur and businessman Damien for as long as I've known him has always looked for that exclusive, be it a shoe or vinyl, when he was a crowd pleasing Drum & Bass Dj.
The image in question boasted the incoming arrival of an exclusive brand to Main Source. Not just exclusive for the area, but for the country! So straight away I knew that he was onto something good and wanted to explore this fresh looking brand a little more. The name Ageless Galaxy struck a chord, pushing your own limits and loving what you do, with the freedom to just do it. In a market saturated with the next big thing, it is clear to see that Ageless Galaxy has it's head screwed on when it comes to business and delivering a product that has passion and a view towards the future stitched into the fibres of it's cloth.
So, without further ado Give Crohn's A Slap From Me! welcomes Tamish from Ageless Galaxy.
1) As you stand in your workspace, what can you see out of the window? And what is on your desk? Where are you located?
Out of Our Window:
I see a telecommunication mast, an office building, a mosque, trees, traffic and the grey sky. Nearby there’s the grime on our rooftop including AC fans, rusted scrap metal and palm trees.
On Our Desk:
We share a communal command center together. Although it’s not clearly divided, everyone’s got their workstations. You’ll find our NASA book for inspirations, pantone guide, sketches, swatches, labels, pens, markers, Star Wars book, lamps, speakers and a Napoleon Dynamite figurine (this is random but whatever).
Normally it’s super messy, but we curated the table just for the photo…
We’re located in -6.269449,106.8155245 (Decimal Degrees) or S 6°16’10.016”, E 106°48’55.888” (Degree, Minute, Second). If you don’t have a GPS on hand, you can find us in the middle of equator in the beautiful city of Jakarta, Indonesia. Our neighborhood is called Kemang where artists, creatives and entrepreneurs set up shop.
2) The Launch! How did the brand start…Let's go way back? Who are the founders? When did the brand launch? What are your creative backgrounds? Where did the name come from?
It all started 5 years ago, when I was in college in Vancouver. Being inspired by Benny Gold, Rebel8, Jeff Staple, Mike Giant and Johnny Cupcakes to name a few, AGLXY was developed as a fictional brand for a final project. Although it was just an assignment to bang out, I went all out. Whatever I wanted to do creatively down the line, putting graphics on a shirt would be key. After all, clothing is a medium anyone can communicate their message easily. I did some intense experimentation for the look and feel and screen-printed one-off shirts with a friend. In the end, I got a good grade and that was it.
Graduation happened and I aimed for the stars as my design adventure began. Not long after, the reality rocket hit me when Canadian firms didn’t want to hire me – immigration and other excuses. Stressed out and barely scraping by to pay rent as a freelance designer, I found my lifestyle wasn’t great at this point – always feeling overwhelmed, not eating or sleeping right – losing myself mentally and physically. Despite finding a way to keep pushing through it all, in the end it wasn’t working. Now looking back, the universe somehow was sending a message that there may be something else for me.
Packed my gear and headed home with a quick transit through Hong Kong to see family, but importantly find inspiration. By this time, my weight was terrifyingly low and a cough developed in Vancouver got worse. In Jakarta, doctors discovered a cancer had been growing for some time.
I wanted to survive cancer. I had to survive cancer. The doctors said that I had to be mentally strong for the battle. Being bored out of my mind, I couldn’t let myself focus on the illness the whole time. It wasn’t good for my cause. In need of a distraction during my treatments, I looked through my old files to do some housekeeping. On one of my digs, I stumbled upon one of the AGLXY quotes, “Live to strive, strive to live”. Somehow my “past self” was preparing my “future self” for a life-or-death struggle with this quote. It represented the mentality of having the belief in yourself to push your way through anything. Don’t just die and disappear. Rather, make your mark in whatever it is. AGLXY represents a positive mentality that everyone can relate and it was important to share it with everyone.
Despite being sick, I was still freelancing. In my free time, I made it a point to browse through graphics and create shirts. I remembered telling myself that this project had to be inspirational. It had to bring out the fighter mentality in everyone. I want to see people to break through their struggles.
My treatments ended and while I was recovering aka also beating cancers ass, I needed to start thinking of how to get things rolling. Giorgi Krisno AKA Ogi, the other half of AGLXY, was working for a popular lifestyle book store at the time. He and I were friends and always discussed what we wanted in life. When we hung out, we’d always ended up talking about running our own business. With my focus fully dedicated to creative and OG handling the business side, the brand Ageless Galaxy was born.
With AGLXY alive, we were always thinking about how to push the brand further. With no investor or sitting capital to use, we decided to set up a design studio and offer our creative services to jumpstart the brand. Initially, the studio was a means to an end with the brand as the primary focus. Fast forward to now and the creative wing snowballed into something big on its own. We wouldn’t be here with everyone had it not happened. In the end, we just focused really hard and shit just happened. Now we got our own squad and have the opportunity to work with amazing clients.
I lived the mentality and continue to do it. That’s how the brand became a force. We kept our heads together and developed AGLXY into a reputable creative company and brand.
3) Reaching for the stars! Where do you draw your inspiration? What brands have you looked up to?
Inspiration-wise we look everywhere. The weirdest things online, tech innovation, old school space figurines… There can never be enough sources of inspiration.
Brand-wise Benny Gold and The Hundreds. Keeping it 100 on the mentality is important. Hype is now finally starting to come in for streetwear in Jakarta. Some brands are switching gears just to catch this wave. To us it’s about building a culture here in Jakarta where it’s not just fashion and/or being in-trend. It’s about being awesome and not being dicks.
4) Have you or will you look to collaborate with other brands or creatives?
All the time. We love it. Being a brand in Jakarta and getting to link up with international brands is an awesome experience. As a creative studio, it has opened the doors to a whole different community, creating opportunities for collaborations.
Because we love food and drinks, we’ve been blessed to have joined forces with companies like Bulleit Bourbon. We helped them out on several successful occasions, and they now support our events. Locally, we’ve collab’d with a popular coffee shop called Common Grounds and Chinese bao joint called Bao ji. Outside of F&B, we’ve done lifestyle collabs as well with BMW Indonesia and a monthly party in Amsterdam called Rock The Boat.
Every project we do is fun because we always managed to click on a mentality level with the other party and everything gets easier from there. We got some collabs on the way so stay tuned.
5) One giant step! Taking the leap of faith in your talents and vision, how have you built the brand? What have been the biggest challenges? Especially coming from a country that people may overlook as a streetwear hotbed?
Nobody knows where Indonesia is and that’s totally fine. Most people just know Bali when someone asks about the country. So we made it a point to put the country on our back. We carry the flag proudly whenever somebody hits us up. We’ll never stop until people find out. We just think there are plenty of solid people beyond the West. Some dope people are doing amazing things in Southeast Asia, and we keep pushing to represent. How we do it is just to throw dope activities and lifestyle events. Create affiliations everywhere when we travel. It’s all about building relationships. You can’t make it on your own. We have that underdog mentality because lots of people have counted out our region, let alone our country and city. It’s about time Indonesia puts a stamp in the world beyond orangutans and coffee.
6) You release your new lines in 'Pods'. Can you explain how this works and what goes into each of these capsule drops? How often they are released? How do you look to stand out from the crowd?
The idea is that in sci-fi movies, when people need to escape their ship, they jump in a pod and exit. But you already knew that. So every drop is like the AGLXY mothership launching pods out to the world.
As for the logistics, we aim to release 4 pod collections a year. By doing this, it feels like something is always out. You won’t feel like you’re just sitting on your ass bored out of your mind waiting for the next drop.
In each collection, you’ll typically find 4 T-shirts, a jacket and socks. Sometimes it’s big and other times small. This way it won’t be monotonous. When we’re in the kitchen, we also design the articles in a way that people want more than 1 article. And every pod is super different than the last. There’s always a theme and motto released so it will be cohesive. With that said, you’ll never find the same graphic, creating the exclusiveness of the collection. To sum it up, our pod collections are small, dynamic but definitely not boring. Seriously how exciting is it when there’s a brand that is releasing something new multiple times a year? It keeps everybody hungry…
7) Your attention to detail is there for all to see, from the cut and sow garments; the slick and clean graphic design work, even down to the packaging. Do you believe in "you reap what you sow"? If you give that little extra, you'll be recognised for delivering a polished end product? Or does this add more pressure on delivering on the next release?
Our design and creative background made us this way. We don’t settle for less in our projects for our clients, so why should we compromise for ourselves? And unfortunately, we noticed a lot of brands today could care less beyond their logo. Because of that, the value is just not there in the products. We decided we don’t ever want to be like that.
It’s our goal to create an experience from the moment you see the shirt on the rack to the moment you get your receipt, the whole thing has to be consistent and dope. For instance, we’re proud of our T-shirt packaging method – using screen-printed Ziploc bags. We’re creating an experience. The attention to detail shouldn’t stop at the product. You want to make sure that the buyer feels like their money was well-spent.
Honestly maintaining a standard doesn’t create pressure. It may seem like setting high standards can backfire, but it’s in our nature to always think about the details. It’s how we operate so we don’t see pressure. Think of it as an athlete preparing for a competition. It’s about developing muscle memory. Once you got it, it’s second nature. One thing for sure, we’re nowhere we want to be and lots to improve on ourselves because we’re simply not satisfied.
8) So, as well as a growing clothing brand, you are also a design agency? What came first and what has been the most satisfying assignment outside the clothing brands grasp? We noticed you'd created some pretty rad wall and window installations, is there a graffiti background somewhere in there? Or was this just part of a client’s brief?
As mentioned in the earlier question on how did AGLXY begin, the design agency came first as Giorgi and I didn’t have money for the brand. This temporary project became something permanent for us. It helps create a different perspective for the brand and allows us to gain a variety of inspirations and insights. Because of that, every project has been awesome. We have lots of discussions on who we want to work with, and we go get those projects. As a result, we end up affiliating with those who we want like Adidas, Nike and Four Seasons to name a few.
Every year we make a list we want to accomplish from hospitality to automotive. If we love something, then we go for it. It goes back to our brand of doing what you love and chasing it. At the moment, we have our sights on working with an airline company, being a space-inspired brand.
As for the wall and window installations, many of us have an illustration background. I, myself, was an illustrator under the name Pronto Pixel. It was my outlet to deal with cancer. That distraction became something I continued today. So yeah, murals are fun and we’re always down to help out anyone who needs one.
9) Health over wealth! Our project is a self-funded initiative (We have day jobs) and we are really looking to spread awareness and fundraise in a unique way. Does AGLXYCO have a motto? What is the main driving force and gets you out of bed in the morning?
Live to Strive, Strive to Live is our main motto. It’s the set of words that spawned Ageless Galaxy. I see it relating to cancer since it was what impacted me when I was going through the ordeal. The goal is spread the awareness of this motto to everyone and just make a positive impact.
Go after what you want but make sure you take care of your body. A healthy mind and body is important. Make sure you take care of any unwanted stress. You can’t get rid of stress completely because it’s everywhere but you can control the things that are irrelevant to accomplishing your goals.
10) To infinity and beyond! What is on the horizon for the brand this year? What was Pod 006 about?
Pod Colelction 006 was interesting for us. We’re stoked for it because it’s a super left turn from what we’ve done in the past. We usually play it safe going with traditional colors and cuts. This time we experimented with pastel colors to match the summer vibes and trying out different articles. People are starting to take notice and we’re aiming for everyone to be vibing out with this collection. At the end of the day it’s about having fun with the collections.
Ok… The countdown quick fire round!!
•Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars, of course...
•Best place to eat in Jakarta?
We have a lot of good food here in Jakarta, but if you want to try a bit of everything, hit the streets with an open mind and be ready for some tummy battles.
•Favourite brand outside of your own? Why?
Benny Gold is the main reason why we started. He also began by designing for others and slapping stickers in the street. Benny’s paper plane icon really resonates with our mentality to always keep pushing . The Hundreds is more about having a mentality that’s bigger than the brand, and we want to be like that here in Southeast Asia.
•Ultrasound…Favourite music in the studio currently?
We have to confess that we’ve been out on the road a lot lately. Meetings and working near our rendezvous to avoid traffic. But in the car you find us bumping Kaytranada, Profiles, Tycho, Majid Jordan, Purity Ring, Old school hip hop and the occasion Blink 182 for nostalgia.
•Cartoons or Action Blockbuster?
•Biggest learning curve in brand building?
Production and logistics because that’s out of your hands.
•One line of advice to a young designer/creative/brand wannabe?
Don’t fucking give up, if you start it, go for the long run, not for the hype #whateverittakes.
•Which planet would you like to pin the ALGXYCO flag?
Pluto because everyone forgot about that guy.
•ET or Alien?
•Time Capsule…What will AGLXYCO be remembered for?
Inspiring others to never give up on their dreams.
Thanks Tamish and the team at Ageless Galaxy for your time answering our questions. So refreshing to find a brand with great core values and such an inspirational background!
For more info on AGLXY check out their Instagram and their soon to be launched website. If you're looking to purchase garments from their Pod 006, you can grab them exclusively from our friends Main Source who are more than happy to help you with any enquiries here. Tell them we sent you lightyears ago! Pod 007 will arrive early 2018!
Also available at Habitual Singapore.