Meet Your Maker: Sam Nolan Of Afends
We caught up with AFENDS Mens Designer, Sam Nolan to talk life in Byron Bay, his Dachshund, Pony (check out Pony’s very own Instagram account – it’s hilar), his passion for photography, and a few of the quirky things that take place at HQ.
We hear you do a bit of everything at AFENDS. Describe your day-to-day?
At the moment my day-to-day involves working on the men’s collection. My wife and I will do the occasional shoot too. During the 3 years I’ve been at AFENDS, I’ve worked everywhere from the warehouse to design, so it’s good to be focusing more on one particular element now.
How did the opportunity to work at AFENDS come about?
I was working at a camera shop and freelance shooting women’s fashion when I was approached to shoot for AFENDS. After a couple of shoots had passed the head designer at the time asked if I would move down and work in the warehouse and do shoots on the side, so I picked up everything and dragged my life to Byron.
Where’s are you guys based?
The office is based in the Byron Arts and Industrial Estate, which is booming with rad stores and cafés now (including our own café, plug, plug – ). My wife, Bec and I have a little house in Mullumbimby, only 10 minutes from the office.
Describe your workspace…
It’s a big white room filled with a big wooden desk… with a dog (@helloponygirl).
Walk us through a typical day at AFENDS…
I head straight to the café downstairs, then general procrastination sets in… After I’ve woken up, said my good mornings and heard about the good surfs I’ve slept through, I head to my office. The design room is seperate from the rest of the office, and right up the end, so Bec, Pony and our garment tech Mike Fishwick set in for the day. Some days I’ll try and skate with the guys in the warehouse at lunch or go to the beach. It’s a super relaxed environment to work in as you would expect from a Byron Bay company. That being said, everyone knows that there is always plenty of work that has to get done, and we all work really hard so we can have an amazing environment like this day in, day out.
Tell us a couple of quirky things that takes place behind the scenes at AFENDS HQ?
1. More than half the staff are vegetarians – not really quirky, but cool none the less!
2. At the moment we have 3 dogs roaming the office. Pony, a long-haired miniature dachshund named Oso in the design room, a Shitsu x Silky Terrier named Hendrix in the marketing room and a 12 week old Doberman in the warehouse.
3. Since the coffee shop opened the whole office has developed serious caffeine addictions.
Describe the AFENDS crew in 3 words…
Washed up losers…myself included of course.
If you could have any icon wear AFENDS, who would it be? Why?
I can’t really think of anyone who I would want to see it on in particular. I think it could be because I’m not really one to care about people’s status. I think the most excited I’ve been to see someone wearing AFENDS was when a guy took a package along the Kokoda trail and handed it out to kids in the villages. That was rad.
Walk us through the design process for AFENDS’ summer 14 menswear collection?
I’m not the one responsible for the current collections so that might be a bit hard for me, but it mostly now involves a spot of travel, internet trawling, some loud music and a lot of coffee.
What will we see you wearing from the collection?
From the current range I’m wearing our new Deadbeat slim denim in vintage blue. I’m a simple guy and I’m happy with a good sturdy pair of denim!
Can you give us a sneak peek into what we can expect to come out of AFENDS next season?
Lots of rips and a real punk vibe!
Give us the brief history of Sam Nolan?
I grew up in a little coastal town 2 or so hours south of Byron Bay. It’s similar to Byron, but you just have to replace all the hippies with deros. I moved to the Gold Coast to study Hotel and Events Management in early 2004 and eventually found my way to design school in 2006, where I met my wife a year later.
The fashion industry is a bit of a hard one to crack, how did you get your foot in the door?
I flunked it… I wasn’t trying to at all. I’ve been a qualified designer for 7 years now, and then taught myself photography which I was looking at as a full-time career. I guess the opportunity to design garments was really just presented to me. I’ve always loved clothes and been passionate about them, so I guess it was just a logical step in my position within AFENDS.
Describe your morning routine…
I’ll shower, eat, feed our abundance of animals, play the internet for a bit and then attempt to wake up Bec, which is the main struggle of the day. I feel like if I manage to get her up and we get to the beach before work I’ve accomplished something for the day!
What is your ideal Sunday?
My idea Sunday is one that is followed with a public holiday on Monday. You can’t beat those Sundays. It also involves a big group hang and surf at Belongil. That’s been a frequent occurrence this summer and its been epic!
What do you get up to outside of AFENDS? Any hobbies?
My favorite thing to do is travel with my wife and friends and shoot photos. I want to travel enough that I can classify it as a hobby!
What’s playing in your headphones right now?
Right now… The Pixies – Doolittle, Monkey Gone To Heaven and Hey are heavily played.
The last place you travelled?
I’ve just got back from Paris, Morocco and London.
AFENDS AW15 Campaign
Japan, Mexico and back to India!
Downstairs at our café.
Favourite watering hole?
Toby Cregan’s house.
What’s the next big thing to come out of AFENDS?
More development with our hemp based products. We’re expanding and experimenting with it so much more and it’s so great. The more we move away from water and chemical heavy fabrics the better!