One of modern sport’s finest, Lewi Brown, has hung up his boots after a stellar career of nearly 200 NRL games. This led him to unleash his creative potential with streetwear brand Earls; a legacy that is close to his heart. We had the privilege of catching up with the superstar on this brilliant collaboration and the world of fashion.
How did Earls come about?
Unfortunately, in 2016 I lost my Dad to suicide and I realised that life was way too short to be unhappy. At the start of 2019, I retired from my dream job in Rugby League and I decided to put my energy into another passion of mine… so I created Earls. The name Earl comes from both myself and my father's middle name, passed down from generation to generation. As a kid, I hated the middle name, but as I’ve grown older, I understand that my Dad’s not with me now but I’m taking him on this journey with Earls.
Where do you draw inspiration from & what excites you most about the fashion industry?
I draw a lot of inspiration from my past growing up in the ’90s, those nostalgic moments. I knew I was creative, but never really knew how to get it out of me. That is where I draw inspiration from. People breaking outside the box excites me about the fashion industry. Not just sticking with clothing. You know, Virgil doing Louis Vuitton, crossing paths and lines that have never been crossed before. That is from someone that sits outside the circle who is still learning about fashion and that excites me. If you dream big, you never know what can happen.
You’ve said that you’ve been a fan of G-Shock for a long time. Tell us about your connections and relationship with G-Shock up to now.
My relationship started with G-Shock as a kid at the age of six. All my uncles & my grandfather used to have G-Shocks. It was a big boy watch as I used to call it. I started with a Baby-G as a kid. I loved the way the watch sat and the different models they created. I then started to become a massive fan of Kanye West, he’s still my favourite musician to this day. He sort of brought back the white watch.
Do you remember the model of the first watch that you bought or received?
I remember going to Qubic, in Newmarket and got my first white watch. It was a GLX5500 – had blue buttons on the side, all white. I still have it. It was my favourite G-Shock and my passion for the white watch. That is why I chose the White DW5600 with the Earls Collaboration with G-Shock.
G-Shock has been involved in creating a number of collaborative models up to now. Do you have any favourites?
I really liked the Kith Collab. I also loved the Brain Dead & Neighborhood releases. I think anytime you can cross the lines with G-Shock with any fashion brand, it gives that fashion brand the time to be creative in a different silhouette. As opposed to printing on T-Shirts or shorts, you get to be a bit creative with the watch, the idea of the watch and how you present the watch in the box and how you receive it. Anytime the fashion industry can get involved with G-Shock is a great thing.
Collaborations within the fashion industry seem to be taking off right now – what are some of your favourite clothing or footwear pieces that you’d like to get your hands on?
Footwear for sure – I’ve been a sneakerhead since I was a kid, starting with Jordan’s, then Yeezy’s & Off White Nikes. There’s a lot of collabs coming though, the Dunks coming out, Fear Of God with Nike. One shoe I’d like to get my hands on which was released this year was the Dior x Air Jordan – I really like the low silhouette and also the OG high top. You’re looking close to $20-30k USD, just for a pair. The way they’re presented, all the detail in the shoe and the shoe bag and box. It’s a very smart collab, definitely one of my favourites.
G-Shock has continued to evolve since its inception in 1983, through design, function, features & materials. G-Shock has recently utilised Carbon as its newest material. Do you see a shift if the clothing industry with various materials/fabrics being used?
The shock-absorbing structure is one design philosophy that has not changed with G-Shock watches, does Earls follow any strict values for each piece or capsule? Something that I’ve stuck with from the start, I would never release a piece of clothing I personally wouldn’t wear myself. I have enough confidence in the way I dress & my style, that if I can present something that I would wear, it might be a chance that people would buy it. Earls is about the product, we want the product to be the best it can, the details. Improving each collection, that’s something we hope you have seen from Collection 001 to Collection 005.
You’ve just released Collection 005; what changes have you seen since Collection 001?
Our biggest change is the way that we look – not as loud anymore. We work hard on making sure our product is premium, utilising good materials, using ethical materials and packaging. We are still learning as we go, you learn more about the industry, about the ins and outs, how you can create and meet new people.
Starting a new business, especially in the hyper-competitive fashion industry can be very challenging. What are some of the major challenges you’ve faced and do you have any messages that you want to share with your supporters?
One of the major challenges I’ve faced is realising there are so many different elements than just the clothing. The product is the main focus, whether that’s a t-shirt printed on, a pair of shorts, basketball shorts. There are probably 5 or 6 different elements of different pieces of the puzzles just to get that completed. Juggling a business & being creative at the same time. It’s all about balance. Not forcing the hand when you’re not feeling creative to try and get a design done. You do not want to hurry or rush yourself. In life when you rush yourself that’s when you tend to make mistakes. Admitting what your strengths are and hiring people around you that complement those. That’s the way a team is driven, a brand is driven. Coming from a Rugby League background, it’s a team game. Leadership is a big thing and I’m looking at the Earls journey as my own team, me being the leader and everything falls back on me. The way I carry myself as a person. It’s important learning from my mistakes. You cant be prepared for growth, you can move & adjust with it.
Do you have any messages to those wanting to get into the fashion industry?
make sure that you are passionate about it. It’s not something you want to get into just to make a t-shirt. You need a point of difference, you gotta have a story. People that want to get into it, go and do it! Chase your dream. Deep down, the only one that is stopping you from chasing your dream is yourself.
You can grab your very own Earls x G Shock limited edition watches on the 4th of December from 12PM NZT with RRP $249!
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