Art + Design

God Save REPRESENT. The George Heaton Interview.

Joey A.X Raps With UK Designer On Across The Pond Culture, Fashion, Punk, Rap + Winston Churchill
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George and his brother Michael Heaton, from Manchester, UK – are flying the Union Jack much higher than most lately. Their brand, REPRESENT, is coming to Wanderset, and the line has gone from street wear t shirts, to full fledged fashion house that uses Brit iconography to craft a brilliant narrative that is just as much trap-punk as it is Victorian.

 

I spoke with George to dive a bit deeper into the story behind Represent. I wanted to find out what made him tick, and where the inspiration and creativity sparked from. As a creative, inspiration is never ending and can stem from anywhere, and that to be, is the most interesting part. As far as culture goes, I childishly wanted to know what the coolest shit from across the pond that we may not even know about here in Trump’s Wonka Factory.

Before the Brit’s get a hearty giggle, I point y’all to Boris Johnson. In 2017, we all have a Wonka of our own.

Without further adu, get scrolling.

Ladies and gentleman, George Heaton.

 

1. Hello George, welcome to The Set bruv! Tell us a bit about your back story – where are you from, what was childhood like, and how did that mold what you’re doing today?

So I’m from Manchester, England… Still here (sometimes). Childhood here was pretty basic. I grew up with my brother Mike who’s a couple years older but we didn’t really fit in to the usual adolescence here. American punk & rock music was our taste, art & skating was our hobby. Growing up together was great for creating, there was always 2 opinions / 2 sides on everything we did, whether it be hair-cuts or making shit. This developed into becoming a brand together as all our interests were the same but we took different approaches to a final outcome, which is why we’re so strong today.

 

2. Before starting Represent, what did you do? 

 Prior and during the first 2 years of Represent I was at college, studying Graphic design. Mike had just finished his degree in the same subject. We’re very image conscious and I had a huge ambition to be a brand owner. When I got the chance to actually sell something I created, that was the start of Represent.
 

3. So being from the UK – what do you feel is the biggest cultural difference in fashion between the states and England?

 Within our market, I think there’s a huge and obvious influence from the hip-hop and trap music scene alongside the skate culture, which has been ever present in streetwear. In Britain the hip-hop scene is much smaller than the states with only a handful of artists such as Skepta being fashion forward. Fashion and music walk hand in hand and there’s other genres that are more popular here in the UK than the states.
 

4. What type of music did you play in your development years? Was it American, or more nichey Brit genres like garage or grime ?

 We listened mainly to American rock music then heavier metal stuff. Scuzz and Kerrang would literally be played all day in the early teen days for sure. As the brand developed we listened more to American hip-hop and rap which had an influence on both the brand and our personal style.
 

5. You use a lot of classic British art and iconic visuals from late 1700’s to Churchill – in your brand as graphics, and I also see nods to punk, firm/hooligan culture, 90’s athletic and even lad looks – I assume they are all conscious curations, can you tell us the “Represent” narrative and character and how these seemingly different nods work together to paint the picture?  And is there a message here that’s being communicated?

 

There’s no message as such, we’re just curating a wide mix of British heritage and material whilst staying relative. We like to look at garment silhouettes from eras that were big in Britain, denim washes and details from various decades and disciplines of the culture in Britain. We manufacture as much as we can right here which is so important to us as we are proud to support the industry here in the UK. We have such a rich history that other brands and fashion houses have taken inspiration from for years so we feel we have more than enough right to use it ourselves. We love where we come from and we’re expressing Britain through the brand.

 

6. What’s the British fashion scene look like right now? What’s exciting you most that maybe those on this side of the pond are not aware of yet?

 I feel the direction of the established houses as well as the upcoming labels, is heading towards a more retro technical outfitting. I’m seeing a lot of more relaxed bottom wear, technical fabrics and easier looks from all diversities of brands which I love. The best Tailoring in the world is found in Britain and there’s hints of that coming through which I think we may see more of from US based brands soon.
 

7. What’s the coolest part of being a creative entrepreneur in the space and era we’re in?

 The coolest part is definitely creating what we want to wear, and that’s the business model… We’re our own consumer. As we develop with the knowledge and experience of the industry so will our style. Represent is most definitely maturing as a brand; it’s a constant progression and why we get up in the morning and love doing what we do. I couldn’t imagine being 40 years old trying to design clothes successfully for kids half that age! 
 
8. If Represent was a person, who would it be?
 Myself.
 

9. What Premier League club do you support? 

 I’ve never been into football really so I couldn’t pick a team!

Joey A.X is a recording artist, producer, and creative entrepreneur who hails from New Haven CT who has always had an eye for fashion and culture and art. He joins The Set as the voice for "Wander". He digs vintage black leather jackets, crude humor, thin crust pizza, speakeasys, film noir, Liverpool Football Club, and doing hood rat stuff with his friends.

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