A brand which has grown from clothing a few mates in a small Welsh town just over a decade ago, Weekend Offender has become an established designer clothing brand. Having taken to the world of fashion like a proverbial duck to water, the brand now boast a nationwide customer base and a flagship store in London. Here, we have an exclusive interview with one of the men who started it all.
Upon celebrating the brand’s 10th birthday recently, joint-owner Sam Jones described what it was like to set up his own fashion label, saying: “Well, we started off buying blank tees and printing them locally in Wales. We were even sewing the labels in ourselves at my house”.
Huge soft drinks company Pepsi have recently promoted the brand as a measure of their burgeoning overseas reach too, listing them as a brand for their “What to Rock at SXSW” list- a festival in the US state of Texas. Asked what his highlight of the decade had been with Weekend Offender, Sam said simply: “probably opening our own store in Soho and moving down here to run it”.
His laid back nature belies the obvious hard work which has gone into taking the brand to where it is today.
In an attempt to find out more about what inspires him to achieve even more success in the future, I encouraged him to answer: what is the key to ensuring the brands longevity in the tough industry of fashion? He answered thoughtfully: “The key is to stick to what you are good at and not to follow trends too much”.
Weekend Offender has become known for creating pieces inspired by subcultures past and present whether that’s in sport, TV, fashion, film or music. As well as naming the majority of their products after iconic footballers, they have recently offered to give away fans discount in their Soho store on the day of a game. This unique gesture has made the brand a cult favourite among such groups and has ensured a young and vibrant set of consumers. With this in mind, I asked if he felt this limited the brands target audience at all.
“I think the subculture thing appeals to everyone. There’s not one person I know, young or old, that doesn’t like to talk about music, film and football.”
He then added: “Who knows what will happen in the future though. We are always looking for new customers”.
The brand’s consumer has traditionally leaned towards being football fans
Sam still designs all of the clothing and has a hands-on role in making the products too, just like when he and his friend Rhydian Powell did during the early days. So focussing more on this personal involvement I asked him which item he was most proud of. He said without hesitation: “Our Category A Goodwood jacket with the New Order inspired lining”.
Asked what sort of things will inspire him when designing the future lines of Weekend Offender’s clothing, and why he thought people bought into his youth cultured approach.
He explained: “As long as we stick to football, music, film and so on, I think we will be okay. Those things will always remain important in people’s lives”.
Adding, “You’d have to ask that to the people who part with their hard-earned money to purchase our stuff I think”.
Weekend Offenders influences are clearly visible from their designs (below)
In their own words the brand is about making no-nonsense, functional clothes with an insubordinate twist. As they continue to expand further they have two distinctive ranges, a Mainline collection for bold colours, broad cuts and so on, then a Category A line for more subtle and more refined designs, both continue to grow year on year.
So the ultimate question for me to ask owner Sam Jones is: what are your aims for the next 10 years? To which he simply replied: “Retirement or bankruptcy”– somehow reflecting the youthful vigour of his fledgling designer brand.