Q&A w/ SIR Designer Auston Bjorkman
Where are you from?
I am originally from Montpelier Vermont, as a kid I spent a couple of my very formative years in Trinidad … My step dad was from there so we lived with his family in a tiny village called Sobo Village. I then lived in San Francisco for about 10 years before moving to NYC.
How did the brand come about?
I attended FIT with the intention to start a brand after. I tried to work with a couple of classmates to formulate the brand while in school but it was a little premature to work as a team on anything other than school work. So after a little break after graduating we tried again with more success but they eventually had to find work and follow their own paths. Mine however was from the start.
The name SIR?
Sir – This formal word as a form of respect is one I wanted to co-opt or subvert by extending the notion of respect to everyone not just a knight or superior. As humans we all deserve basic respect. I alswo play on the juxtaposition of a formal word in relation to clothing that is more casual. It’s also very unisex which subverts the notion of who can be given the title of Sir …. it goes out to everyone who is a BOSS
Your collections are athlectically inspired, where does this come from?
As a kid I was really into sports, I think I must have had alot of physical energy because I was always playing outside and getting into every sport I could. When designing Sir I intentionally used athletic elements because I feel like most people can relate to it whether or not you actually liked playing sports.
You also have a lot of prints in your collections, can you describe the inspiration for this and the process involved?
I love prints and didn’t want to use anything on the market that potentially could be/has been used by other designers. I really wanted to design original work so I collaborate with my good friend Ross Schaner who is an amazing illustrator and artist. The process usually starts with my concept and colorways for the season. From there Ross and I keep a visual diary together. We are both really visual people so after we discuss the direction we collect images to highlight and further explain our ideas. Then Ross will start designing the graphics and I act as creative director.
How did you start working with Neoprene?
I worked with Neoprene right from the jump, with my first collection in 2011. I love the weight and feel of neoprene as a fashion fabric, not just as surf gear. It holds its structure so well which showcases the form of a design.
Where do you see the brand headed in the future? Where would you like to see it go?
Of course I see big things for Sir….. I am really trying to create a new american classic and I think that is exactly what has been happening the trend has definitely embraced athleticism in fashion.
I would love to see become a true Lifestyle brand. Not just clothing but home goods, accessories, shoes, luggage, paint colors, wall paper…. the whole works.
What are some challenges you have faced in the several years since launching the brand?
At first the biggest challenges were navigating Production, it’s not something you learn in school and other designers can be very protective about their sources. It really is trial and error trying to find the right manufacturers in the beginning.
The biggest challenge right now is funding. We are still completely independent, and are growing rapidly, sometimes it takes a little extra to keep up with the growth and stay ahead of the game at the same time. So we have started looking for investors.
What’s the best part about being a designer and showing your own collections?
The best part is designing, getting to play with fabric and ideas to see your vision come to life. I love the feeling of holding an item in my hand that I made. Its fulfilling to have a physical product at the end of a journey. I also love throwing fashion shows its so fun… everything from model casting down to the attitude you want them to project.
What’s your favorite drink?
I’m a whiskey man these days. But that is subject to change.
Where can we purchase SIR online?