A couple of weeks ago, The Adelaidian caught up with Glenn Livingstone, an aspiring local looking to become the next big thing in menswear fashion design. Having had a passion for fashion his whole life, Glenn only recently took his first step into the fashion industry beginning the super stylish and sustainable local label, Identify Yourself Clothing.
Hi Glenn! Tell us a bit about what you’re doing at the moment?
Basically, I’ve begun working on my own menswear label called Identify Yourself. My designs are essentially conceptual street-wear and high-end fashion. I aim to produce luxurious garments cut in a way that seeks to accentuate a man’s body. These designs are made to stand out – they’re not made to fit in with the rest of the guys. That’s all the reason why I’ve labelled it Identify Yourself, because I want my guys – the guys who wear my stuff – to identify themselves and show the world who they are. Like most small businesses at the start, I couldn’t find anything I liked. I thought to myself, ‘I follow so many fashion blogs, Instagrams and websites from Europe and they have amazing stuff – so many great avant-garde pieces. Why isn’t that here in Australia?’ So I started creating my designs to cater to that.
What made you get into men’s fashion?
It’s always been a passion of mine. I started working in men’s fashion when I was younger but, of course, being young and unsure of what I wanted to do in life, I ventured away from that. Three years into doing an electrician trade, I realised that wasn’t my path…it just never really interested me that much. When I come into men’s fashion, I’ll say, “I want know how that thing’s stitched, I want to know what fabrics that’s made out of, who designed it, how they made it.” That’s true passion and for me that’s what I’m really interested in – that’s what I’m going to pursue!
What do you try to bring out in people – in your customer?
I guess I’m trying to create confidence in a man. When he puts on clothing, he’s demonstrating who he is. Fashion is a pure form of creativity, really. You see everyone dressing differently because they’re trying to express themselves. And they’re trying to show it to the world! So I’m bringing that out in all the guys I dress, I want them to put my stuff on and feel fucking great. You’re either gonna love it or your gonna hate it. But that’s life!
Do you have any fashion influences at all?
Belgian fashion designer, Maison (Martin) Margiela for sure. Amazing designs. He started out in women’s wear but his men’s stuff is brilliant. Givency, Yves Saint Laurent – high fashion houses are always good to look up to. In terms of more edgy street wear, Represent from the UK is doing some really cool shit. A lot of the high-end sneaker houses are doing some really great stuff as well. I love when garments are showcased as art, that’s what I want my stuff to be showcased as too. There are also those grungy rock bands that just look fucking cool – they always inspire me. People who really stand to themselves as individuals who are not afraid to be who they are. It all motivates me to create designs that guys will wear and say, “ You know what, I’m not afraid to be who I am and I’m going to wear this and look damn good.”
What do you think about the Adelaide fashion industry?
Australian Fashion Labels are obviously killing it. Those girls are doing an absolutely amazing job – they’ve really hit that market and they’ve got their five labels that each target a different customer base. They’ve just nailed it on the head. You’ve gotta get a lot of inspiration out of that. Personally, in regards to menswear, there’s a lot less in Adelaide as opposed to womenswear, and a lot of them are actually doing a lot of similar stuff going for a hipster street-style. It’s absolutely great, but I’m actually really interested in that high fashion style – I want my guys to really stand out. I understand guys like to look cool and follow trends but we need to remember that, while trends don’t last forever, style does. I’d love to bring about that change in Adelaide! It’s certainly a tough market though.
There’s some cool men’s fashion happening in Sydney and Melbourne at the moment – a label called Circle Park in Sydney is doing some great work. They put on an outstanding show at Fashion Week, too.
How do you think you’re going to go about expanding your brand?
I’m going to begin by starting in Adelaide because it’s the best for me in terms of pre-existing connections and building a base. The brand will be online so, essentially it’s global, but you’ve got to work to get your name out there. Social media (Instagram especially) is going to be massive for me. I plan on teeing-up and creating strategic partnerships with people who have a large social media base and also cover a large customer base to my own. This will include the likes of local cafes, tattoo artists, artists in general, bloggers, fitness models are a maybe. It’s all about networking, building, growing and learning!
Another thing I see is that people tend to get a garment in the mail, it’s posted, there’s your shirt, great. With my stuff, I’m really trying to wow my customers. Every point from when they jump on the site to when they receive the clothing items has to wow them. The functionality of my site has to be amazing, the packaging of garments has to be amazing. It will come down to every single one of my garments being sent with a handwritten note by me saying something along the lines of: ‘You’re a stylish motherfucker, well done.’ Through these avenues is basically how I’m going to try and get my label out there – by being different and being that class above.
Look at the online menswear clothing boutique Mr Porter for example. The way the things run on their website is just seamless and, once you order, it’s beautifully packaged too. People go, “Wow, I want to share this, I want to wear this, I can’t wait to tell people about it.”
I just want to keep moving forward, keep trying things, keep changing.
Give us a bit of a run down of your processes and plans for the future of Identify Yourself Clothing.
So, I’ll be starting small with jerseys and singlets. I’m pushing for the official label launch to occur during August, in conjunction with my finalised Spring/Summer collection, which I have 7 styles of tees for. I plan on testing the garments to see how they go in today’s market and I’ll set my price points based on that. Once I’ve got that out, I’ll have my Autumn/Winter collection coming out for next year. That collection will be moving well into denim and leather as well as keeping my jerseys around. Summer will be drop crotch track-pants, singlets, things that are kind of Rick Owens inspired. A lot of my aesthetics are similar to that.
Notably, with each of my designs, I’m trying to incorporate an ethical, sustainable and environmental aspect. The ethos has got to be consistent all the way through. The fibre’s got to be as natural as it can, if it’s not, it’s got to be recycled or up-cycled or just weaved with some sort of sustainability in the design. Considering I’m still starting, it has been somewhat difficult to figure out the environmental processes, but it all begins with organic cottons and wools. I’ll be making sure all my producers and manufactures are Ethical Clothing Australia accredited. It’s worthy to note that the fashion industry is, in fact, second to the oil industry in regards to environmental damage. Now that’s fucked up. Bringing about a change starts with our generation. And that’s what I stand for: cool fuckin’ pieces – good for the earth!
I am working on a full launch strategy at the moment so, for example, I’ve got the next 8 weeks of social media content sorted, scheduled in and ready. Then I’m working on a competition to build my database through Facebook, Instagram and what not. I’ve got some people in the background helping out with that, basically I’ve got all my backing stuff getting ready. Swing-tags, packaging, etc. Again, it’s all recycled and eco-friendly. All of this work will be building up to the official launch in August.
What would you say to an aspiring male designer who wants to get into the fashion industry?
Hustle. Straight up hustle. Be prepared to be knocked back and don’t let it wane any of your confidence. There’ll be people out there who will want to help you so just keep asking, keep researching, learn and learn. Have a thirst for knowledge. Learn how to make things, learn how to do things. Educate yourself. Talk to people and make it happen. Find your voice. Have a standpoint, have a message and push that. I can’t encourage that enough. Success comes from hard work and I can’t wait to keep pushing myself and growing. Identify Yourself Clothing is my passion and, hopefully in the future, it could become other people’s passion too.
You can follow Identify Yourself Clothing on Instagram via username @identifyyourselfclo. Make sure you keep an eye out for the launch of the official website!