Danity Blame’S Streetwear Fix: Tim Hoad
Meet our new columnist, Danity Blame, who will be sharing her knowledge of what’s hot and what’s not in the streetwear fashion world. She recently caught up with Tim Hoad – who is the mastermind behind London’s popular streetwear label, King Apparel – to talk about his upcoming SS11 collection (which is fronted by Wretch 32), the hustle, and how on earth such a style-savvy man like this is still single…
The Wrap Up: Hi King Apparel! Wait. Is there an actual name that we can call you? (Laughs) Whilst we’re at the introduction stage, tell us a little bit about yourself…
Tim Hoad: (Laughs) Yep! My name is Tim Hoad and I’m one of the dudes who set up King back in 2003 with my good friend, Paul Linton. I used to be a pro-snowboarder, skateboarder and kinda followed a natural path into fashion when I set up the brand.
TWU: So, the label was founded back in 2003, and nurtured from your bedrooms, from what I understand. How tough was that for you guys? Keeping off of the porn websites and pushing full steam ahead with designing must have been hard?
Tim Hoad: Keeping off of the porn sites was the hardest thing – we had to shut all our accounts down and cut up the credit cards (laughs). That was a joke, by the way. Yeah, we lived back with our parents, worked from our bedrooms and had to maintain temping jobs, whilst working all of our other hours on the brand. To be honest, I look back now and realize that it was really tough and that in hindsight, that is why most people never really get past that first stage because it can be really de-motivating – especially when you have no money (literally no money to buy a bag of crisps), living at home, no social life and working serious hours. But both of us had utter conviction in our ideas and the potential of what we were creating and were prepared to make those sacrifices to see our label come to life. So we just kept going, day to day, overcoming each stumbling block as it presented itself and maintaining our self-motivation and work ethic. We never looked too far ahead, just taking each challenge as it came, making better collections, selling as much on pre-order as we could to stores and building things up. Then a few years down the line we stopped and were like, ‘Hey, we’ve got a proper brand!’
TWU: How would you describe King Apparel?
Tim Hoad: Upscale British streetwear, built and designed with integrity for the discerning streetwear connoisseur. Not bad, that, I just made that up on the spot! Might use that for one of our new straplines (laughs).
TWU: Describe a typical day in the life of a King Apparel label owner...
Tim Hoad: Right now, it’s not pretty for me (laughs). I start at 9.30am and do everything from sales meetings, putting purchase orders in, getting people to pay us, choosing new designs and colourways for new product and arguing with suppliers about getting stuff in on time, to taking people to court, shooting photos, hitting up new accounts and working on building new collaborations. Sometimes, I don’t finish until 11pm. I need a girlfriend...
TWU: You guys were the first independent brand to work with the New Era 59Fifty model. How did that all come about?
Tim Hoad: Yes, we were, and it frustrates me to a degree that a lot of people don’t know that. It comes back to the instinct thing again. We could see back then that these hats were going to be massive, long before anyone else saw it. You couldn’t get them in the UK and we decided by hook or crook that we were going to work with New Era. We hustled and made the right calls and made sure we spoke to the right people to secure a meeting. Once that was done, our drive, motivation and passion for our brand sold it to them and they jumped on board. We’ve never looked back and we like to think that we have done the same thing with Starter for our snapback caps. We are the only European brand currently with that collab deal. It’s going to be big!
TWU: There’s a great deal of music cross over within the brand and the people who front it, like for instance Plan B and DJ IQ. Why did you guys decide to take the brand down that route and how do you decide on who’s right for the job?
Tim Hoad: We follow a lot, and I mean a lot of music that exists below that line that your average Joe will never cross or go beyond. Music for us is just an integral part of fashion – the two constantly cross over so we wanted to reflect that in our brand. We know what we like and if there are artists that we find ourselves pumping out of the office constantly or find our peers are also feeling, then we will more than likely look to act on that by trying to get them involved with the brand. Plan B, DJ IQ and Wretch 32 are very good examples of guys we supported 6 years ago and who are making serious moves now. I like to think we saw their potential long before the mainstream and that people who know what’s up understand that this is what the King brand is about.
TWU: If you had the chance to work with five musicians, who would they be and why?
Tim Hoad: Firstly, it would have to be Yelawolf. This guy is a humble, next level lyricist. He’s tattooed; he’s an ill skateboarder and has had a ridiculously tough life. He’s going to be massive! Secondly, it would be the OFWGKTA collective. Although there is a marketing machine creating an illusion of self-made stars, these guys are still mad talented, got serious steez and are putting out some wicked material. Frank Ocean’s ‘Nostalgia ULTRA’ is sick! Thirdly, it would be The Weeknd. They probably have the best mixtape that I have heard in about 5 years. The production and creativity behind the lyrics is just next level. Again, people will be all over this dude like a cheap suit in 6-9 months. Then it would probably be a punk band like Set Your Goals, NFG or someone like The Deftones. We all listen to bands like these and would be stoked on getting King on artists from a completely different genre. And we can’t forget Kanye West!
TWU: Wretch 32 is the main man for your SS11 collection. How did that connection come about?
Tim Hoad: Yeah, we first met Wretch32 about 6 years ago. He was part of Combination Chain Gang back then and we met him in his place above a chicken shop in Tottenham, it was proper raggo. We’d heard about these guys and wanted to work with them and over time, Wretch was the one who kept with it and pushed it to the next level. We just promoted him and our affiliation from day one, as we had faith in his ability. That faith is now paying off.
TWU: And lastly, how would you describe the SS11 collection and what is your favourite piece and why?
Tim Hoad: For SS11, the brand is really evolving and maturing into an accessible streetwear line that anyone can wear, but that retains that underground ethos. The Signature denim in grey acid wash and the Marine hood in navy blue are my personal highlights. They just reflect everything that is good about British street fashion right now.
Check out all of King Apparel’s collections over at www.king-apparel.com.
Words: Danity Blame (@Danity_Blame)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)