culture | 29 august 2017
Their brands encompass an aesthetic that can neither be defined as New Zealand nor South African, but a natural combination of the two. We had the pleasure of sitting down with the paye siblings to have a chat about their newest collections, and how family and culture plays a big part in what they produce.
words & interview: tyla stevenson
portraits: russell kleyn
The Paye brothers grew up in the Southern suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa and lived out the rest of their teenage years in Upper Hutt. Now settled into a New Zealand climate, Bevin heads a clothing label, ‘Quorts’ and Brent a Jewellery line ‘27 Mollys’. Both have recently released new collections, that are stocked in local retail store Good As Gold.
How might starting out in Cape town influence you creatively?
Brent: It’s a motivator I guess. The main reason our parents wanted to move to NZ was for us. That was my motivator through school and even more so now, I would always think, my cousins don’t have the opportunities we have, I better put in the work.
Bevin: And you just realise what you have. The fact that we can buy some fabric and start making clothes and then sell it, that in itself is a privilege.
Brent: Yeah and I guess for us growing up over there we were like listening to Blink 182 and punk, but everyone else was listening to house, because house is the sound of the country. But we were like nah, we listen to punk and wanna wear vans. We wanted to be different.
Was punk a big scene over there?
Bevin: Only if you were white you were into that. So we were like the only black kids and it was weird.
Brent: It was kind of that whole too black for the white kids and too white for the black kids.
And I guess the history of race relations in SA is so heavy…
Brent: Yes, it’s so intense. It’s a part of everyday life. Every day you listen to the radio and you get reminded.
How would you describe a South African fashion style, compared to a New Zealand style?
Brent: Well for the regular people on the street, SA is so much more conscious. And their surroundings are just beautiful, so everyone is wearing crazy fun colours to mimic that. And it’s more of the way they carry themselves, suaveness. This one old guy would bike to church every Sunday wearing a 3 piece suit and his hat, and he lived in like the trap. Every Sunday rain or shine, he looked beautiful. And that’s the thing with church, as much as it was like church it was also a fashion show too. Definitely better than New Zealand and I say that with confidence, in terms of general style.
Bevin: People will be broke as but still have the flyest outfit on. And it’s hot. So you only have two items of clothes to wear, say a tee and some jeans, so you have to make that tee shirt and jeans look cool. Where as everyone here is layered up. Also people over there are more brand conscious, like you go to a family BBQ and everyone is wearing Jordan’s.
Would you like to explain to us some of your inspiration for ‘Capsule 3’ Bevin?
Bevin: By seeing and being involved with two different cultures my default is to try and find a mid point. Even down to like the colour pallet of the green and yellow jacket, it looks like the Springbok uniform. But the big blue coat is a very wellington piece. One of the things that got me making this collection was this construction worker in SA. We were sitting at the hospital one day, and this dude walked in and he had like his work belt, with a hammer, orange pants and a black tee shirt. Shit load of rings and big chains and what he was doing was quite unnecessary, but it’s important to who he is as a person and to make himself feel cool.
That whole idea is what I’m trying to put across. That’s kind of why I was using the swanndri, something that is worn a lot in small town New Zealand and flipped it into something that it’s not and it’s unnecessary to so. And of course I’m obviously aware of what is happening in fashion currently. So it’s like a mixture of this SA construction worker meets wellington drape and Instagram.
How about you Brent? For ‘Slippery.’
Brent: I guess it’s been such a long process for me. When I started making it like a year and a bit ago, and things have happened so I’ve had to put it on hold. It was more like trying out some things. I sort of made one piece, and then would make another piece that related to that for the collection. I just wanted things to be big and fun.
And for the launch I just wanted to make a space. And in terms of like working with Sean Burn, jpeg 2000, it brung it together and it started to make it feel like a brand. And that took the collection to another level.
How do you as brothers inspire and support each other?
Bevin: When I think of what I want to design, I think of him probably before I think of myself. Because Brent tends to wear louder stuff than me sometimes, and I’m usually designing in a louder way. But as a brother, he pushes me because of how he comes in and can critique what I’m doing.
Brent: Bevin inspired me my whole life. I wouldn’t be into the shit I’m into if it wasn’t for him, I got the direct source. Especially in our later lives, Bevin always wanted to start a brand, and he has, so in that way just making his dreams a reality, that’s a way in which Bevin has inspired me.
Would you guys ever consider doing a collaboration?
Brent: Yeah, fuck yeah. I feel like even last night (Launch of Slippery) it was a collaboration, everything I do Bevin is involved and visa versa.
Bevin: In some way it is always a collaboration.
Tyla Stevenson: @zambougie
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