Born out of passion for clean modernist design and meticulous detail, the debut Notch London collection is a strong mix of key wardrobe staples – shirts, jackets, soft jerseys, denim and clean outerwear. When they got in touch with us to give us our spin on their collection, we fell short of ideas – especially since much of our narratives play off brand’s histories and past. That’s where we’re forced to be creative, Y&Y’s always been about more than just posting photographs for the sake of it. It’s always about the team – the shift from a blogging platform to a platform where we can showcase what we create has been in place for a year. It’s forced us to work more as a unit to bring the features to life.
After brainstorming as a team, we decided to go with the option – ‘shoot some cool ish’. Keep it real, keep it Y&Y. No hassle of hiring a signed model but using ourselves and the camaraderie between the team to showcase the collection. Which is a stark contrast from what the brand have created which has a strong Scandinavian aesthetic and a model with a strange hairdo.
As a photographer, it’s always a challenge to invoke the right emotion out of the model. Being in a single setting for shoot that consists of 18 or so looks is challenging. You’re forced to be more creative with the limited resources and space you have. That’s why we went for OneFourteen Studio in Tottenham; the array of props and the beautifully rustic wall work so well. Have a gander at what we came up with below, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the folks from Notch to gain a little insight into their brand and ethos.
1. Why Notch? Is there a backstory to the brand being called that?
We were looking to create something new and incorporate various elements into our brand. The name had to represent this, us trying to make ‘our mark, our notch in menswear’. Notch resonated with us all as we realised we would be able to show intricate detailing by inserting a Notch in our designs and having that as our trademark! We also love the symmetry in the name.
2. How did the brand come about? You guys are still relatively new so would love to know how y’all were originally formed and the story behind it all.
The team and I are a huge fans of fashion and have had a deep passion for it. After working for years in the fashion industry we knew that one day we wanted to start our own fashion label. About a year ago we finally decided to make our dream a reality so we gathered up a team together that understood our vision and the style that we wanted to produce, something different, very modern and minimalistic yet still familiar and thus Notch was created.
3. In terms of design aesthetic, the SS collection is quite minimal and clean cut. It gives me a Scandinavian vibe. What was the inspiration by the collection?
We wanted to design a collection that is clean and yes that may have a Scandinavian feel to it which is quite minimalistic however we still wanted to keep a certain Britishness to it and I do believe we have indeed succeeded. Not like brands who look to Britain’s great past and heritage for inspiration, we wanted to look forward and modern day living in Britain and relate to men living and working in the cities today.
Our vision is to have that modern look, the clean and sleek look that is very current and fashion forward but still feels familiar to the British man. Our main priority is that our customers feel comfortable in our clothes and can wear our look at any time and to any occasion.
4. It’s minimal but still very versatile as showcased in our editorial. What’s your favourite piece and why?
Before we initially started we were adamant that we would create pieces that we would be proud to wear and this has surely been the case so far but I guess if I had to choose one I would have to say I am quite excited about our indigo sweaters, I love the cut, detailing and the fact that you can wear them for any occasion.
5. Are future collections going to take on a similar aesthetic or are you hoping to take a fresh new take on things seasonally?
We feel confident in the aesthetics of the collection and that it emphasises our own style and what Notch is seeking to achieve. So in that future collections will take on a similar aesthetic. However, there will definitely be seasonal changes, keeping it relevant, development in designs in keeping with changes in trends and introductions of new fabrics, techniques and ideas within fashion all while maintaining our own identity.
6. Do you intend to maintain minimalism throughout all your collections? If so, how do you aim to make a statement?
We are passionate about the clean minimalist look, its very much part of Notch’s foundation and will run throughout collections. Statements are less obvious and in your face but we aim to make them through the use of original fabrics, silhouette and the intricate detailing.
7. The current collection takes on a casual modern aesthetic, would you consider branching into street wear, sports lux or tailoring?
Yes why not? We are pretty flexible in regards to that and who knows what the future of a Notch will bring however for now we are focused on providing the best casual modern aesthetics with a London twist.
8. “NOTCH LONDON IS A NEW MENSWEAR LABEL BORN OUT OF A PASSION FOR CLEAN MODERNIST DESIGN AND METICULOUS DETAIL.” What is it about detail that is so important?
Detail to us is extremely important as it equates to quality. Intricate details show a passion and thought process to provide a sense of quality and style rather than a fast fashion approach. Making clothes to last and less throwaway, we look to produce items that will sit in your wardrobe for years and become go to items. Before we can ask consumers of that we have to take the time and consideration to create something special.
9. Notch London is the name, how do you represent London now and going forward to the rest of the country and the world?
We try capture the modern side of London, things people see day to day such as design aspects, styles in buildings and the functionality running throughout the city.
Also, not just the city itself, we’re about representing the people who live in London, and the lifestyle of always being on the move and fast paced. We achieve this with the simple and ready to wear nature of the brand and outfits that are smart enough for the office and casual enough to walk straight into the bar after work.
This lifestyle isn’t specific to London, other places in the UK for example Manchester have very much the same way of life, and modern structures and a functionality in design can be seen across the country and the world. Our first collection was inspired by London and what we see but its not limited to London, people can live anywhere but still find relevance in what we’re trying to achieve.
10. Would you ever collaborate with other brands? If so, which ones.
Collaborations have very much become the norm and seem to read about them constantly. We don’t want to force it because its something you’re meant to do or rush a product we’re not happy with. Not to say we’re against them, if the right opportunity arose, we’d definitely consider it but for now we’re focused on developing Notch and its identity. Brandwise, it’d have to be someone on the same wave length with the same ethos working together to produce something new and something that would excite consumers as well as ourselves.