October 2024

Your Own Life

Words: Gabriel Knowles Images: Asuza

They say if you need something done you should ask a busy person. If that’s the case then the men behind Asuza are worth asking if the need arises. Not content with holding down full time jobs of some repute, or playing and recording albums with their respective bands, Jonny Goldcoast and Dan Preston decided the time was right to enter the men’s fashion game with their special brand of retro futurism. With a dedication to combining the best of now, then and what we haven’t even seen yet – stealthy designs coupled with classic craftsmanship that focuses on the finishing touches – Asuza are breaking to mould. Gabriel Knowles catches up with the Asuza crew to find out more about their philosophy…

Gabriel Knowles: You guys have been running Asuza together for a few years now. How did you guys meet?

Jonny Goldcoast: Yeah, we’ve been doing Asuza for about two years now. I met Dan in Sydney when he was living there and I was living in Melbourne and then I moved to Sydney and Dan moved from Tokyo to Melbourne. So we haven’t really been in the same place much but it’s worked out pretty well.

Dan Preston: When I first met Jonny we just had one of those loose nights were you start talking about doing something together. I think we were in Vaucluse cemetery, we’d been at a party nearby and got rambling. Then I moved to Japan and I was running a ski lodge there before and then I moved down to Harajuku in Tokyo and started on Asuza in between freelance jobs.

GK: How did the long distance thing work out?

DP: It’s great to have him back in town, now we can get done in a day what we used to get done in a week.

JG: But now that we’re both back here in Melbourne it’s good because we’ve got the studio space and we have a pretty free flowing creative connection, we can just sit down and talk about bullshit for ages. So it’s not a matter of not having enough possibilities it’s a matter of pulling back and refining things to a point that’s actually achievable given the circumstances.

GK: You’re both pretty busy guys outside of the label with your full time jobs. Do you find yourselves wanting more time for Asuza or are you happy with the balance?

JG: A lot of people think you can’t do anything properly unless you focus on it full time but I think if things are linked, and most things are these days, then you can. More than ever people are doing multiple things. We’re the ADD generation. I think it’s confusing for the generations that have preceded us, I hate to think what our kids will be like. Everything feeds everything else, I’d be bored if I just did one thing. I think we’re far more interesting these days and a lot of the people out there doing good stuff at the moment aren’t just doing the one thing.

GK: It’s interesting that you both also play in bands on the side too. Is that a response to the fact that everything else is in your lives keeps you so busy that you need another outlet?

DP: Music’s my outlet where I can switch off and still be creative and not have to think too much about the end result, where as the fashion you’re always considering trends and the commercial aspects of running a brand. With Outrun, we’re supporting Fischerspooner this month and we’ve got our first EP out soon too. The thing with the music is you can just go for it and have fun and if people like it then that’s a bonus.

JG: I agree. We’re (The Amazing Phillips Sisters) finishing up our first proper release and we’re hoping to put it through someone local, maybe just as a vinyl and digital release. We recorded with this amazing guy call Jack Farley in his warehouse in Northcote. He’s recorded Beaches and Spider Vomit and a bunch of other local acts that we’re into.

GK: Is there a special formula that you guys use to come up with your designs in between everything else?

JG: We work together coming up with a theme and then Dan goes away and turns that into visuals and then our friend Scott McPherson goes away and interprets that with his crazy moon pig mind and then we end up with something skewed from what we might have done, it adds diversity. It also still tells a story which is really important. When you’ve got multiple people doing things it can look like you’ve gone to Japan and just bought the top ten most popular prints!

GK: I know you guys have had some issues with people referencing those prints and designs a little too closely. Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

JG: We’ve had a few people reference things we’ve done but at the end of the day it’s a compliment and it means we’ve got a pretty good idea about what’s happening out there. You can’t get too upset because everything seems to be referenced these days. As long as you’re continually moving forward then it doesn’t really matter anyway, although if you only had one trick in your bag then you’d be fucked.

DP: I think it’s actually quite a compliment having worked in this industry for a quite a while. I mean we all reference things anyway, we try to get our reference points from obscure places like old Italian horror films and transcendental videos and all sorts of stuff. It’s kind of cool seeing your idea interpreted by someone else. Especially if it comes out a season later!

GK: What does the future hold in stall for Asuza?

JG: We’re looking to expand the range a bit more now that we’ve had a good response. We’re developing more unisex items and some women’s stuff too.

DP: We’d like to develop more things under the guise of You Have Your Own Life Now: Asuza. Which might not just be fashion – it could be site specific installations, projects, multimedia stuff. Anything unusual we’d like to get involved with.


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