Did you ever expect to see politics mixed with street wear? No? Neither did we, but we are so grateful that it has been. Sam Cartwright is not only making some incredible clothing but he is also doing it with a strong stand point. Something in which not many businesses do nowadays. With his brand GVNMNT Clothing Co' he is fusing current affairs with something that the youth pay so much attention to, fashion. We knew that his concept was great so thought it would be a good idea to learn some more about the brand and the man himself. Here's how it went...
Please can you introduce yourself to the readers.
I’m Sam Cartwright, 29 from Birmingham, Director of British street wear brand GVNMNT Clothing Co’.
What would the ‘average’ day consist of?
It’s hard to say, each day is different. On a very basic day I’ll be packing up orders and running through future designs. Other days I can be out looking for locations for future shoots or even out shooting. A lot of behind the scenes work gets done finalising details and designs and going through emails, so that takes up a lot of my time.
Obviously street wear is a passion of yours so I expect that to be in the list but what are your top three interests?
British youth/street culture, current/political affairs (usually in exasperation) and design and creation of clothing/apparel.
It’s not often politics and street culture make the top three of someone’s list so it’s interesting to see that political and current affairs play a part in your brand and contribute to the inspiration behind it. Would you say you have any role models/inspirations?
I don’t really believe in role models, we all make our own way.
Ah, that’s fair enough. Hopefully one day you will be someone else’s! So how and when did GVNMNT begin?
Me and an old friend were always interested in fashion and it kind of just went from there. We toyed with the idea for a while at the end of 2012 because we were over seeing our culture being misrepresented. If we were going to do it, we wanted there to be a strong message behind it. There’s a fair few meaningless brands out there and we didn’t want to be one of them so GVNMNT was what naturally came to us. We found our feet after about a year so it started to move in in late 2013. My old partner ended up leaving to pursue another career, so I started a new partnership with my designer Ash and the rest is history I suppose.
That’s awesome man, I’m glad you persevered through the first year and didn’t buckle under the struggles. It seems like it was all worth it now. What have you enjoyed the most about running the business so far? And on the flip side, what have you most disliked?
Man, I’ve enjoyed it all but I think it’s all the people I’ve met through the brand that tops it. It’s crazy to think some of the people who are in my life now, wouldn’t be if I hadn’t started the brand. That’s pretty cool I guess. I always said to myself if it ever became a chore or something I fell out of love with I’d leave it. Don’t get me wrong there have been tests but I see them all as learning curves rather than set backs so I don’t dislike the hard parts. Nothing worth it comes easy ‘ay.
That’s a great attitude to have man. If everyone succumbed to the hurdles of starting a business then we wouldn’t have a fashion industry at all. Heck, we wouldn’t have any industries! The fashion industry is synonymous for being a very quick business, customers are always waiting for what’s next. What do you draw inspiration from for new releases?
Most of our inspiration comes from our environment and current affairs. The hypocrisy and propaganda we see on a daily basis from politicians, the press and ‘celebrities’ plays a large part in our design process. There’s inspiration literally everywhere, you’ve just go to open your eyes and see it.
It’s great to see a brand coming with a totally new approach, seeing you focus on politics so much is so fresh. I don’t know anyone else out there doing it. Are their any new lines that we can hope to see soon? Like backpacks or trousers?
Yeah man, our SS16 P2 is dropping July 29th. It’s a mixed bag of garments, headwear and outerwear including our new travel bag . We’re excited to drop this one as we feel it’s one of our strongest yet. We’ve got a few totally different ideas for AW16 but I’ll be keeping them under my hat for now.
Damn, that’s not long now! I’ll be keeping a look out, for sure. Out of all the pieces that you have released, is there just one single item that you can say is your favourite?
There’s been a few stand out pieces for me but I would have to say the ‘Gross Gains’ heavyweight coaches jacket we did in winter 2014 was my favourite. The navy and mustard colour scheme and the quality of the fleece lining was dope. Still wear it to this day…
The quality must be good if you are still wearing it now! Do you ever take a moment to sit back and appreciate how far you have come and look at everything you have accomplished?
I’m one of those people who is never satisfied. Kind of like my own worst enemy. To see where the brand has come from; a couple of T-shirts and a snapback when we first started nullis pretty big. I just know it’s only the start so I’m excited to see where we can take it from here design wise and as a brand as a whole. I’m not one to celebrate success too early so let’s see what the future brings.
Well make sure that one day you do give yourself some credit because you’re doing a great job and you deserve it! Are there any brands or people that you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t already?
There are too many to mention them all. I’d love to do some collabs with brands outside of fashion to try and go outside the borders of the industry.
That would be cool man, going against the traditional path seems to be what you guys do best. What is the best piece of advice you have been given, and what is the best piece you can give?
Short and sweet, but still one of the best pieces of advice for anyone. What are your main goals to accomplish with the brand?
I think the main goal is to spread our message throughout our community, and beyond. It’s not an obvious brand at first, so for people to understand the brand’s values, dig deeper into what we’re about, and then want to purchase a piece is a great feeling. But for me the ultimate goal is to provide an avenue for anyone to express themselves through our brand.
Well, I for one, can’t wait to see that come to fruition. This question can be either personal or business, or both: Where do you hope to be in 12 months time?
What can we hope to see from you in the next month or so?
This months a busy one for us. We’ll be releasing our SS16 P2 on the 29th so we’ve got shoots every week running up to it. We’ve got a couple of collaborations coming up that we’re working on as well so they’ll be wrapped up this month too.
I’ll be keeping a very close eye over the next little while then. I’m really looking forward to the next drop, the pieces you’ve been releasing recently have been great, so I can assume that the same will follow. We always finish with five fun questions. Have you ever...
…fallen asleep at work? Yes, late nights and early mornings can take their toll.
…choked on something you’re not supposed to eat? Nah.
…egged a house? Hasn’t everyone?
…had a pet? Yeh a few.
…shot a gun? Yeh at a farm years ago.
Any final words...
Yeah, just want to say a big thanks to everyone who’s got behind us so far, not only the supporters but all my day ones who have backed me entirely from the start (they know who they are). The good people I’ve been fortunate to meet along the journey and the other local brands that have shown us love all deserve a mention too. As always it’s Politics As Usual though, so stay tuned as it’s only the beginning for GVNMNT.
Text Kiefer Horlock
Images Morgan Tedd
Models Pia Kristina Cruz & Jack Heap