Think you're brave enough to up route and move to a different country at the drop of a dime? Well that's exactly what Sean Haire has done. After a holiday to the US he fell in love with New York so knew that he would be back at some point, but never thought it would be like this! After his partner was offered a job in LA it all seemed like it was coming together, as if it was fate. And here we are today, he now runs one of my favourite brands out there 'Above and Beyond Traditional' so I thought I better get some inside info about him, how the business started, has grown and where he plans on taking it. Here's how it went...
Hello mate, can you please give us a brief introduction.
Hi, my names Sean Haire and I’m the owner of Above & Beyond Traditional. I’m a Londoner living in Los Angeles and I just recently turned 30 years old. (That hurts when you actually say it out loud) .
Is that enough or do you need my height, weight and shoe size? (Because I’d rather keep that undisclosed).
Haha that is the perfect amount of information dude. Oh, actually I will be needing your bank details haha. So what does a normal day consist of?
Well, at the moment, I find myself running A&B as my full time job. So, I basically just smoke weed all day, take photos, write into my blog
(aboveandbeyondtraditional.tumblr.com…shameless plug) handle any orders, work on future designs and basically push the brand on social media to help stay relevant.
Damn, I wish I could devote all my time to my business. One day! If you ever find yourself too busy and need some help with all the weed smoking, I’ll be more than happy to help out. If you had to pick just three things, what would you say are you top interests?
I’d probably say that Travel, Art & Photography are what really gets me going right now, but I also love alcohol & football! (I am still english after all).
Haha, alcohol and football, you are definitely still english. Is there anyone that you would call a role model? Or an inspiration of yours?
Well I have many people in life that I look up too, but in regards to life in the clothing business, I’d say I draw most of my inspiration through travel, nature and traditional tattoo art. I love tattoo art, I have many tattoos myself (as does everyone these days), it’s a main ingredient in the mixture that is Above & Beyond Traditional.
That’s awesome man. Tattoos are a massive interest of mine so I can understand why it has such an input to the brand. Now one thing I do want to ask is how and why you ended up in Los Angeles? Do you feel that the move has been beneficial to making the brand a success?
Well, after a holiday in New York we fell in love with the country, so, America was always in our sights but Los Angeles was an unexpected surprise. My wife was given an amazing opportunity to work for an advertising company out here, she happily accepted and here we are!
It most definitely has been beneficial, it certainly changed the direction of the brand and I also thought of the name “Above & Beyond” on the flight over here. So, I guess the brand wouldn't necessarily exist, if it weren't for the move.
Bloody hell, that’s a pretty random stream of events to get you to where you are at today. Both physically and with the brand. I didn’t actually realise that the brand wasn’t even created in the UK, so that’s cool. Thank God for a holiday to New York! When did you start Above and Beyond Traditional and what was your motivation behind it?
Although I had the idea almost 3 years ago, I officially launched the brand in May of last year, so just over a year ago. It was never a dream of mine to create a clothing brand, I just kind of fell into it when a friend of mine started his own clothing brand. I thought I’d try my luck at doing a spin off brand, in Los Angeles, of his brand, but it never worked out. I think, I thought, that it would be easier but it wasn't at all.
So, I took all the experience I gained whilst doing that and went back to my original idea. I learnt from my mistakes and started fresh with A&B. What started off as just a money making scheme, has now turned into something I'm really passionate about.
Holy shit! For a brand only just over a year old you have done an incredible job so far! I’m actually shocked at how much you have managed to do in such a short period of time. Considering you’re a fairly new brand, what has been the hardest part of building a brand so far? And also what is the best part? Other than always looking good.
It’s difficult to say, there are so many hard parts! I think the hardest parts of starting any clothing brand is finding a good manufacturer that you can trust to deliver your items to the standard you expect. There is nothing worse than going through the whole process to then, at the last hurdle, have a product of lower quality than you expected. That, and funding everything are the hardest parts for me, I think.
The best thing is definitely meeting new, and like minded people from all over the world, from artists to photographers, models, manufacturers and of course our customers, it’s a great experience. Also, the feeling of seeing a product, that starts as an idea in my head, come alive as it makes its way through all the different stages and finally makes it into the hands of a happy customer.
Ye I get that. I started a brand a few years back and felt like I had a great concept for the first collection and then the manufacturer in China didn’t meet my expectations but I didn’t have the funds to try again with someone new. Where do you draw inspiration from for new collections?
Artwork and Wildlife. We like to use a lot of animal themed designs in our products to invoke that sense of freedom we all crave.
Ah that’s such a great concept man. I had noticed the animals and wondered what the theme for them was so now it’s good to know. Are there any lines that you hope to introduce in the future? Like bombers or headwear?
Oh, most definitely. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re slowly but surely building our inventory, and, we plan to have headwear, jackets, button ups, polo shirts and lots more in the future.
Good! Because what you have designed and produced so far has been awesome so I can only assume that any new lines will follow suit. Over the years, out of all the pieces you have released could you pick one item that is your favourite?
I have many from our Traditional Collection, but I must say, our new Crocodile “Pocket Muncher” Tee, is by far my favourite to date. We’ll be making more of these soon, with a Shark, and a Tiger, possibly featuring on future pocket t-shirt’s.
Ah wicked man. Not many people can pick just one piece so I’m glad you can. Especially as you already plan on taking the design idea and branching it out a little. Are their any brands, models etc that you would like to work with in the future?
Wow, where to start, theres loads out there, too many to name but I’d love to work with brands like Abandoned Ship, Few & Far Collective, Whiskey Grade.. Brands that share similar aesthetics as we do. Another brand I’d like to collab with, Love Sick London, is already in the pipeline. As for models, Jaime Fraiche, is someone I've followed for a very long time, so I’d love to see her wearing our clothes in the future. I’d also like to work with Filthy Mouth Creative and Haris Nukem, just to name a couple, but I'm open to working with anyone and everyone, its all love.
Their are some very formidable names in that list, but most of all I’m super excited about the collaboration with Love Sick London. I’ve actually been fortunate enough to interview the main man Danny Mee, he is an awesome human. Hopefully by the laws of attraction some of the other guys will some how read this and get in touch! What is the best piece of advice you have been given, and what is the best piece you can give?
Believe in yourself, believe in your brand and never give up!!
Never give up is always a good piece of advice, it can apply to anyone no matter what situation they find themselves in. What are your main goals to accomplish with the brand?
I mean, you have to think big, right? I’d love to have stores all over the world, an epic following on social media, front cover pieces, of us, on all the big fashion magazines, have men, women and children of all ages, sizes and cultural backgrounds wearing and living the brand as we see it through our eyes, but, I’d also be happy just to have our own store here in Los Angeles where we can design, manufacturer and sell everything ourselves under our own guidance just doing something we love!
Having your own building where you would have 100% control from start to finish would be brilliant. Damn right you should aim high! Let’s hope that one day we do a recap interview and you can brag about your multiple stores, publications and millions of customers. Where do you hope to be in 12 months time?
Who knows, but, if I have another year like our first year, I’ll be happy with our progress.
I don’t blame you! Your first year has been a great one. More importantly, what can we hope to see in the near future?
More amazing clothes, with a lot more selection of styles. More pop up shops, collaborations and just a lot more of us.
Good, I wasn’t expecting anything less!
To finish we have five ‘would you rather…’ questions,
...have no one show up to your wedding or your funeral? Wedding No one did anyway! lol.
…have more time or money? Easy, time!
…be half your height or double your weight? Thats a horrible question! Half my height, at least I’ll still be cute!
…mentally never age or physically never age? Seeing as I've mentally aged as far as I possibly can, I’d say physically never age!
…free starbucks or free iTunes for a year? Do Starbucks do tea? Yeah, Starbucks, I love their pastries!
Any final words…
Yeah, thanks for the feature guys!! Peace & Love to you all!
I wish you all the best in what you're doing here.
Text Kiefer Horlock
Images Sean Haire
Models Nik Hampshire, Jessica Kittredge & Kevin Broda