Like most 21st century streetwear labels, Represent started its humble beginnings as a college project for Manchester-based brothers George and Mike Heaton which saw them print graphic design tees for friends.
The brand soon gained traction via social media, allowing the boys to turn the project into a business. However like many other 21st century Gildan-printed T-shirt pushing labels, the boys grasped at an opportunity to turn the brand in to something bigger, as they re-invested their profits in to designing cut-and-sew streetwear influenced garments with the help of their grandmother.
Fast-forward seven years and the once-small project is a global staple within the realm of streetwear, showing in London, Milan and New York and being worn by the likes of Dua Lipa, Migos and 2 Chainz.
For SS19 the design duo take influence from the '90s and Britpop culture, paying homage to British heritage and the Manchester born music and style that defined the decade.
To find out more about the brand and the collection we caught up with owner George Heaton.
Hi George, How did you find your way in to design?
Myself and Mike grew up drawing rather than writing. Art syncs with us more than anything else so visuals were what we always created. That led us to taking art at college and graphic design at degree level. During college, Represent started as a project to be able to sell our creations.
We can see a lot of influence from Brit-pop in the SS19 collection, has your hometown of Manchester had an influence on the brand?
Of course, Musically, Manchester is known for Oasis, The Smiths, Stone Roses , which is amazing. Fashion wise at the moment this place is the epicentre of fast fashion, which isn’t really our cup of tea, but we’re here and we’re doing what we want to do.
However we always reference where we’re from, our upbringing and what’s around us in our clothes. There’s so much seen and unseen creativity that Manchester has produced that we like to reflect in our collections.
Besides music, is there any other inspiration behind your SS19 collection?
We reference what we feel is missing in our market as well as what we want to wear because at the end of the day, Represent was developed to bring to the world what we want to wear.
Are there any musicians you look up to?
Musicians from all genres. We’re always switching it up in the studio. It goes from crazy bangers from old rock to trap to country tracks on a daily basis!
For SS19 you’ve collaborated with two British Brands, Walsh and Admiral, do you think collaboration is important?
These collaborations let our audience understand where we’re from and what we enjoy. We collaborate with genuine British / Manchester heritage brands to create something new. We’re so overloaded with similar product from similar brands daily that it gets boring so we like to switch things up and dig into others archives.
How does the design process differentiate when working with other brands?
Like mentioned above, we love to look at the archives of heritage brands that we love. We put a twist on something already existent and give them a Represent update.
The brand has grown astronomically over the past few years - now becoming a favourite for many US artists including Migos. What steps did you take to breaking in to the US market?
It’s hard to answer this question, and it get’s asked a lot. We didn’t necessarily try to break America, we’re just doing what we feel is right and that draws the attention of the US market as such. We make great product that has our aesthetic and make as much as possible here in Britain. People love that from all over the world.
Can we expect a bricks and mortar store any time soon?
No, I prefer to run temporary events / activations all over the world rather than being stuck in one place. The Internet is huge and we have a massive retailer platform so we have nothing in the pipeline at the moment.
And finally - what advice would you give to any start up menswear brand trying to make it in to the industry?
Do what you love and find your niche. There are billions of people in the world and you’re guaranteed to find people on the same line as your taste. Work at that rather than trying to engage in an already existing product.
Check out the live video of the SS19 collection below, or head over to Represent Clothing for more info.