3 hours ago | By WGSN Insider
Get more Denim insights as a WGSN subscriber
Jun 10, 2016
By Dio Kurazawa
If you don’t know Ash Black the man, the myth, the legend; you’ve most likely seen his product in the more trendy lifestyle stores like Goodhood, Whistles, Harvey Nichols or Selfridges for example.
We caught up with the man himself by taking him on a little fashion/retail/art tour of London to find out what his brand is all about and more importantly to determine how the hell his garment care product receives such positive global interest.
Very much a man about town, the Australian born entrepreneur links up with us at one of his favourite coffee spots, No. 193 in Soho. The first stop on our day travel diary, is where we map out our game plan for the day.
Ash shares the theme of the day with me. “Its Friday Dio, so we have to hustler hard. London is a fast moving city. A day in London is equal to a week in Melbourne. So, the theme of the day is to hustle hard.”
What exactly is Ash working so hard to hustle? Mr. Black products take aftercare for denim and accessories to a whole new level. If you love your denim as much as I do, you simply don’t wash them, which of course leaves you dealing with stains, bacteria and countless lonely nights thanks to the undesirable aroma that comes with such a practice. Ash’s Denim Refresh is applied to your jeans in the form of an all natural vapour spray. All of his products are produced and developed in Australia. Eager to get started, Ash ushers me off to his first tasks of the day, shop visits to check on the progress and placement of his products.
Our first stop is the LVC store in Soho. Mr. Black products don’t currently have a standalone store here, but Ash explains, “I’m working on it, give me some time mate.” It surely won’t be long, as the appeal of the products go beyond a niche audience, helping boost sustainability too. Mr. Black’s products actually help reduce the strain on our planets resources. Considering how we over wash our products at home, Mr. Black’s products reduce the need to do so, furthering saving water, energy and chemical dependency.
Ash and I move on to our next stop on 286 Upper Street to check on his product at the Albam Clothing Store. Very cool staff and dope clothing, no doubt. Ash loves having his product in these smaller stores, but does not deny that his 3 year plan includes collaborations with major high street brands.
This is not only an effort to increase sales, but also to align his product with high street brands poised to promote innovations leading to ethically responsible clothing pre and post production. Ash sports a grin as toothy as a cheshire cat as he hints about a very big deal he has brewing with a very large commercial denim brand. “This is a conversation to have over lunch,” Ash winks.
Ash reserves lunch at Ottolenghi, an amazing place to satisfy your hunger with healthy and tasty food. Still buzzing, Ash goes on to explain that his brand will collaborate with a very large heritage denim brand to promote sustainability. Not willing to reveal the brand itself, due to non disclosure agreements, Ash promises we won’t have long to wait.
“This has been a long time coming. Our products are placed in many cool stores around the world and we’ve achieved much of what we’ve set out to do. This next step is really exciting and it has really enabled us to focus on our desire to appeal to the masses and get the message of sustainability out there on a scale we would normally not be able to.”
“Our departure from the niche denim head focus towards sustainability, has really helped open doors and place our company in a very positive position for the future.”
After repeated prodding, I accept and respect Ash’s decision not to reveal the brand. Lets hope Ash invites us to the launch party, I’m sure it will one not to miss.
Surprisingly, Ash invites me to check out the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at The Victoria Miro Gallery. I assume this is a part of his daily schedule. (sweet) If you have the time, please go and check out this exhibit, its quite interesting and if your a lover of all things Halloween, as I am, this will really appeal to you.
This has been an amazing day with Ash, a chance to understand his product, plans, inspirations and sustainability goals better (plus get my Art fix for the week). I look forward to his new developments and applaud his sustainability efforts. (Power to him). Later on this month at Soho House, Ash will hold a screening of The True Cost, a film that everyone should see. WGSN Denim supports this event and we look forward to welcoming you June 14th @ 6pm.
Like what you just read? Follow Dio on Instagram for the latest indigo inspiration and denim news.
DENIM HEAD? Our team of experts are at every trade show, determine tomorrow’s trends and know which looks are going to have a huge impact on your business.
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.