Old Habits | The Rise of New-age Australian Designers Posted on 10 Sep 15:24

Being in the business of retail and fashion you notice two things; trends that are transient, and cultures that are developed to satiate the demand of what the people want. One thing that has become more apparent and is attributed to the latter, is the rise of new-age designers. These aren't your conventional design students who garnered their experience at a top design school, or working as an understudy for a well known seamstress, tailor or fashion label. Rather, we are seeing successful brands and designers coming from a myriad of different, yet still creative, backgrounds.

One only has to look at the rise and success of Virgil Abloh, the genius behind streetwear label Off-White, and now the creative director of fashion icon Louis Vuitton. Abloh wasn't a design student in the traditional sense, rather he studied Civil Engineering, developed his own creative agency DONDA, and worked as Kanye Wests artistic director before making his way into fashion, creating make-shift clothing from dead stock garments under the label Pyrex, and later Off-White. 

Now we are graced, in Sydney, with our own rise of new-age designers. Meet Claude Essuman, the creative director and owner of up-and-coming streetwear label Old Habits. Established in 2016 out of his dads garage, Claude released his first collection for Old Habits in 2017, which received an impressive reception, selling out in one month. Now Old Habits is releasing it's spring collection for September, and we will be hosting the launch party for this event at our Barangaroo store. 

Before launching Old Habits Claude took different career routes; from studying architecture, to working in town planning and marketing, and eventually modelling, always feeling that something was missing. Claude defines Old-Habits as the quintessential urban-luxury fashion label. Dovetailing urban streetwear and luxury fashion, while challenging contemporary design. Founded on the basis of rich architectural presence and drawing inspiration from everyday surroundings. 

Their new spring collection is named Resort 18-19. Claude calls this new drop his "most exciting yet", as all the materials and production, were sourced and made locally in Australia. The resort collection brings out the direction and identity that Old Habits fundamentally stands for. The four pillars, as Claude calls them, that form the basis of his designs are: modernism, classic tailoring, urban aesthetic, and signature patterns and colour-ways, these all come together in Resort 18-19

So to what do we owe this rise of new-age brands and designers? One factor that has played a major role is the advent of social media (or the internet at large), which has given people with a creative vision, and entrepreneurial spirit, a platform to connect directly with customers and fans alike.

There is something raw about a young designer formulating their idea of fashion, and sharing it with the world to see. The idea that they have no shareholders to please, or reputations to tarnish - factors like these are always in the subconscious of any top designer, or product builder - means they are able to produce content that is true to them. This content then finds it target demographic through social media, and resonates with them strongly, developing a true connection between a brand or designer, and their consumer. A relationship that every brand considered mainstream, wishes to create through its marketing, although seldom achieves. 


Give me a summary of what a week looks like for you? 

I usually start my week from Sunday, where I draft my schedule for the week to come; including my day job, meetings, and visits to the manufacturing/design studio. I work in Sydney's CBD, and I spend most of my time in the city. I participate in a lot of social events, and use this as a springboard to connect with people. Having a work balance and social life is very important to me, I spend a lot of time with family and close friends, as they influence my work a lot. 

List some items you can't live without? 

This might sound corny, but I can't live without my iPhone. Can't imagine it. 

My Maison Margiela wallet.

My Old Habits custom leather notepad. I call it the creative guide, It has all the information of Old Habits. I make sure to have it on me all the time, as I'm constantly thinking of new ideas, and getting inspired.

What are your thoughts on the concept of a new-age designer?

I believe fashion has become more accessible in this age of technological advancement, and new-age designers are evolving hand-in-hand. The future of design will only become more innovative. New-age designers bring into play a concept of design which has never been seen before; from intricate cuts, to heavily used graphics on garments, seen on runways referencing New York City graffiti culture and more.

For example, take the designer Samuel Ross, the creative director and founder of British label A Cold Wall. His innovation in design speaks volumes, and it's interesting how today's youth culture are breaking through fashion barriers, which were once considered taboo back in the early 2000's.  

Personally, as a new-age designer, I believe this is our time, we have a platform to voice out our creativity in design, in fashion, or any creative work, with the world to see.

List the top 3 products available on the Old-Habits online store now?

Old Habits Tactical Side Bag - Easy to wear, it's in trend, and illustrates perfectly the aesthetic of the brand and what we're all about. Made out of 100% Cordura fabric. 

Old Habits Logo T-shirt - Everyone needs a basic plain t-shirt, comes in black and white. Designed and manufactured in Australia. 

Old Habits Homme Sweatshirt - This is one of my favourites. The design element of having a sweatshirt is one thing, but when it comes to the detailing of this garment, it's amazing. I decided to use a hand-embroidery stitching, rather than an automatic one, this adds more weight and volume to the garment. 

Write me a quote to live by?

"Old Habits live among us"



Author: Ruben Espejel