Interview With Clash Boutique: Nick Paulsen
1. Where did the name ‘Clash’ come from?The name Clash came from ‘The Clash’ London Calling record. I knew I wanted to start a streetwear business that specialised in British style and I had been actively listening to bands like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Specials, The Buzzcocks, Sioux and the Banshees. I had always had a fascination with Britain and the underground street culture that existed around the punk movement in London as I feel that was also when fashion really developed in an individual way rather than a collective. I was sitting back one night listening to a record and noticed the London Calling record at the front of my vinyl stack. It was then I realised how important the word ‘Clash’ was. The bands I was listening to inspired my belief that when it comes to fashion and music there are no right and wrong. Just an open mind that I think does ‘Clash’ with the ideas and ways fashion is presented to people today. People are almost fearful when it comes to fashion and if they don’t have that particular ‘piece’ that is in right now then they won’t be keeping up. These bands and their message to me was to do your own thing and expressing yourself in your own way is so important.
2. Have you always been involved in fashion?
Yes – I worked around clothing retail for a long time. It wasn’t necessarily ‘fashion’ but it taught me a lot about people and their buying habits. It also taught me customer service which is the most important skill to have in any retail job. Starting from a retail assistant I progressed to regional manager looking after handfuls of stores. Previous employers have been both Amazon and Huffer.
3. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mainly musicians and not because they all have amazing style but because they tend to be the ones that ‘get’ the power of individuality. If I was to give you a style icon I would say any of the characters on Brighton Rock or Snatch. Real cool British gangsters. Or anyone in the band ‘The Specials’.
4. Who buys your clothes?
Haha mostly my parents! I don’t think it’s sympathy but my Dad in particular knows and feels my passion for what we are doing and really enjoys hearing the history of the brands and styles I try and buy in. But I think the beauty of the era that Clash is inspired by is that it attracts young and old. We have sold our Harrington Jackets to men in their 70’s and to men in their 20’s. We attract younger teen girls but also women wanting something they haven’t seen before. So it’s really a mix of ages from different locations.
5. You stock some great brands – do you have a hero label?
I do. Before we had opened the store 4 years ago I had done so much research into brands and how to get them in. So I continue to buy in product and brands for Clash, always on the lookout for something a little different and unique. People say I am a little quirky, so I guess that may come across in some of the styles we get in.
Dr Martens. My favourite brand. Their history and quality is what I love. Everyone can connect in some way to Docs. I love it when we get someone who tells us their story of when they purchased their first pair back in the day or on the flipside when we get a younger customer coming in who is so excited to be getting their first pair. Their styles are timeless.
6. Do you use social media? Which platforms?
We have a pretty large Facebook following which we find helps with getting people to the website. Instagram is small but growing. We also have Twitter. All of these really do help to get the word out.
7. Does ‘Clash’ get involved in NZ Fashion Week or other catwalk shows? Or are you editorial only?
No – Fashion Week isn’t really something we really believe in. We have supported many musicians in the past so often our ‘models’ have been onstage jamming! We are keen to look at other avenues but at the moment like the idea of sticking to our values in having product that everyone can be a part of. Not just a select group.
8. What is you go-to magazine for fashion?
I don’t really have one but I am reading Billy Idol’s autobiography so that would be it at the moment!!
9. Do you think New Zealanders are fashion-conscious?
Depends on what part of the country you are from. I’m originally from Christchurch and have lived in every major city in NZ. I was glad to get away from the overly conservative scene in Christchurch. I found Dunedin to be an amazing place for unique style at a really low budget. People dress amazing down those ways and really feel comfortable with the style they have and the people they are. Wellington is super hip. A mix of op shopping students to wealthy business people with cash to spend. I find Auckland to be an almost smaller fashion scene in the way that it centres around Ponsonby. It’s very trend focused and it seems that a lot of people up here are guided by the Kardashians. I guess being in the big smoke sometimes it feels like there’s more pressure to blend in? We will always try to stick to what inspires us and hopefully that inspires other kiwis! On the whole I think New Zealanders like to dress nice and ultimately it’s someone’s inner self that creates true style.
10. What is the best way to buy from ‘Clash’?
Online at http://www.clash.co.nz or you can visit us at our showroom 264a Ponsonby Rd, just email email@example.com to make a time!