It’s been quite the year for Sydney locals Adin Taylor and Jono Friend. What started as an itch to pump some “oomph” (in Jono’s words) into run-of-the-mill menswear, quickly turned into a party in Palm Springs to celebrate the launch of clothing line DearFriend.
An editorial shoot in LA with model Jordan Barratt quickly followed, and before you could say ‘Need New Friends,’ the pair had launched their first collection in General Pants Co. A second party in Bondi with Kayex – another Sydney duo making waves – celebrated the opening of DearFriend’s pop-up shop in Bondi Beach, and now we’re here, with the brand’s second collection Adolescent Advocate.
We caught up with Jono to get the full low down on DearFriend’s first steps from conception to international success.
“The [brand’s] aesthetic is a collaboration of both our styles, mixed with some unique vintage,” Jono tells us. If you’re not familiar with the ASOS insider turned fashion designer, Jono’s style wavers somewhere between streetwear and more minimalist, tailored pieces. Adin leans more toward the vintage side of life, but both styles are apparent in DearFriend, which I would describe as retro-inspired streetwear mixed in with some more tailored basics.
“The [brand’s] aesthetic is a collaboration of both our styles, mixed with some unique vintage.”
As for adding a bit of “oomph” into the oft-boring realm of menswear, the pair have certainly succeeded in that. There are floral and tropical-print button-ups, workwear-inspired trousers and retro shaped jackets in satin black and acid yellow; the whole collection is punchy and playful but walks that clever line of blending seamlessly into what you already own. In other words, every piece is something special, but completely wearable.
It’s a far cry from Jono’s first foray into the designing world, which came in the form of the more pared-back clothing line VOT. DearFriend, as Jono puts it, ‘‘is a better representation of my own style,” but VOT was a great learning platform for the designer, who touts learning from experience – “it’s the best way to grow” he says.
And what of being a designer in Australia? Jono tells us he thinks the fashion industry here is slowly growing. And why wouldn’t he? With a shop on Bondi’s Gould St, sharing the sidewalk with international brand-stocking Tuchuzy, Love Stories, The People Vs. and Lucy Folk’s new store PLAYA it must feel like Sydney is competing with Los Angeles’ Melrose Avenue or London’s Carnaby Street.
No doubt the brand will be launching far and wide though? There are plans to “branch off to some overseas avenues” Jono confirms, as well as a third collection. Plus we heard some whispers of a womenswear line, “at the moment it’s just talk,” Jono says. But we can’t imagine it staying that way for long, anything this pair touch turns to fashion gold-dust. And we’ll be waiting in line.