the simple life
George Gorrow and Dan Single hate the Internet. “Well, it’s a bit of a crock, isn’t it?” remarks Gorrow, who founded the Ksubi brand with Single in 2000. He declines to elaborate. Single nods his head vigorously. “Yeah,” he picks up on behalf of his partner, “you know, everything about the Web is always, like, wooo! But then it’s not, really.” Rather remarkably, this line of Ksubi thinking winds up making some sense—after all, every Web site launch is a bit like, wooo!, and then after a while, that revolutionary new link on your bookmark bar is just another page where you go to buy something, or watch something, or find out about something else—the name of that movie James McAvoy was in before he was in “Atonement,” the romantic status of your most recent ex. Single and Gorrow are right: Down with the Web and its false promises! Up with the analog! Here’s to record stores, telephone calls, and plain old network television. Did we mention that Ksubi is relaunching its Web site this week? And that every single style of coveted Ksubi-brand denim will be sold there? Wooo! Here, Gorrow and Single talk about freedom of speech, why being from Australia matters, and learning to love the World Wide Web.
So, if you guys are such big Internet haters, why did you decide to relaunch Ksubi.com?
Dan Single: You’ll see when it goes live, but it’s a pretty
passive-aggressive Web site. We wanted it to seem as low-tech as possible, like a first-generation Internet version of Google.
As a joke?
George Gorrow: Well, it is pretty funny.
DS: But we also wanted to emphasize that the Web site is there to be functional. What I really can’t stand is Web sites that are all marketing. “Brand positioning,” what have you. Bells and whistles. At Ksubi.com, you search for something, you find it, you buy it. Or not.
GG: Which, you know, I think gets to the fact that there are practical reasons for doing the Web site, the primary one being, we felt like there ought to be a place people could go to find everything Ksubi. Jeans, jewelry, T-shirts, eyeglasses, whatever else we decide we want to get into.
It seems like you’re getting into a fair amount lately. There’s the bar…
GG: Shhh! And there’s a new collaboration on the eyeglass range, but we can’t talk about that yet, either.
DS: We’re continuing the Richard Nicoll collaboration, as well. We can talk about that.
OK, talk about it. Ksubi and Richard Nicoll have such different aesthetics, the connection has always been a little obscure to
DS: It’s not obscure at all. We’re Australian, he’s Australian. We stick together.
GG: And actually, the fact that his aesthetic is so different from ours is a bonus. That kind of thing keeps the work interesting, you know?
DS: George and I have quite different aesthetics just between the two of us. And Jeremy Scott, he’s another one—I think people were surprised we’d be working with him, but that collaboration has worked out really well, and we’re going forward with it.
Ksubi jewelry is another newish development. Do you have any collaborations planned for that?
GG: No. But we have made a necklace called the Wife Trap that I’m particularly fond of. The pendant is a mousetrap with a diamond where the cheese would be. And it works!
DS: Actually, the jewelry is one of the reasons we wanted to launch the Web site, because outside of our own stores, there isn’t really a retailer who stocks the whole range. And even if one did, the way jewelry gets displayed, I don’t know, there’s something…It’s not quite us.
GG: We get censored a lot. Like, there are stores that won’t stock any T-shirt that’s too political, or that talks about sex. And then there was the sculpture we made, it was a businessman’s hand sticking up out of the ground, with two of the fingers chopped off, and the store we made it for wouldn’t let us install the display. They said it would make children cry.
The fingers were chopped off? Why?
GG: Oh, you know.
No, I mean, what does that have to do with Ksubi?
DS: It has everything to do with Ksubi, because Ksubi has everything to do with everything. That’s why we’re working on so many different things, all at once—the jewelry, the Web site, the collaborations, the bar. We want to do everything. Like, everything everything.
GG: We’re just doing everything a little bit at a time.