Youssef Metwali has been making quite a name for himself in the past few months. Back in December he was featured in Hypebeast’s ‘Essentials’ feature shortly before starring in a feature video for Smokey Bars, and just recently he met up with Breaks Mag to talk about Grind London, a brand that he runs with partner Barny Burton. First launched in 2008, the guys have enjoyed healthy recognition from lots of good places and are now front-runners as far as independent UK streetwear goes.
Grind started off with printed tees, like most others, and using a mix of iconic imagery with a touch of ‘pffffft…’, they caught people’s attentions and have been growing and developing ever since. I’m a particularly big fan of their tongue-in-cheek designs like the ‘Uptown/Downtown’ tee from back in 2011, or the ‘Perspective’ design they did a few months back. I was talking to a friend about their more recent designs last night and how they remind me of that classic Spike Milligan/John Cleese style of British humour – those deliberately awful jokes that you can’t help but laugh at.
A season or two back the brand made their first foray into constructed pieces, introducing patterned shorts and shirting. Evidently they proved to be a success, and the pair are continuing to expand their product range as they enter Summer ’13. Having already done denim shirts and classic options such as oxford, polka dot and simple striping, they’ve understandably decided to push the boat out with some unique patterns for those hot days on road.
Grind’s output has broadened considerably this season, introducing a bronze leaf-pattern chore-style jacket, complete with matching shorts. There’s also been a lot of talk going around recently about their new reversible basketball jersey. The guys at Grind are big fans of old school rap, so the ‘187’ is a nice and fitting touch to a tastefully understated piece. Elsewhere, a lightweight long-sleeve oxford continues their work in classic shirting.
For the hot summer days, Grind has produced several short-sleeve shirts, including a vibrant parrot print and a Hawaiian shirt covered in pretty ladies – ‘nice’. The ‘English Summertime’ shirt looks clean in red, and is probably my favourite – the material looks like it’ll be great on hot days.
For the more conservative there’s a dope pastel shirt with one of the nicer flora-based prints that I’ve seen recently. The same goes for those sun-bleached lightning-stripe shorts. Maybe it’s just me but it feels like they’ve come straight out of an old photo from one of my family holidays in Spain (you can’t say I’m wrong because you weren’t there). I was unsure of them in initial photos that came out, but they look really on point in that fit with the jersey.
A small collection of graphic t-shirts rounds the collection off with a continuation of Grind’s previous aesthetic. The simple pineapple logo looks set to be a perfect summer graphic, making use of one of design’s most popular fruits right now (I sound crazy, I know, but you honestly wouldn’t believe) and the ‘Up In Smoke’ design fits right up alongside the ‘Grey Scale Life’ tee from last season. Consistency is key.
Grind, like Indcsn, are a brand I’ve kept an eye on because they’ve stayed aware of who is buying their product. Previous releases have seen strong support for their use of brave patterns and the eschewing of trends that don’t suit their identity, such as excessive caps or overstated designs. Careful experimentation over the past two years or so seems to have shown them the right roads to take, and their release this season continues that route. The lookbook, for me, is a mix – some combinations look better than others, and the poses are a bit forced, but at the same time the guys seem to have captured ‘British Streetwear Fan 2013 – Beach Edition’ really well and the laid-back, easy-going attitude that Grind does so well really comes across in many of the shots.
What’s more, their prices have been competitive enough to convince people to take a risk with their cash and support one of the upcoming brands in exchange for unique product from independent minds. It’s one thing to drop 100 quid or so on a shirt from a known brand, so to part ways with considerable money for an unknown one is a risk. Fortunately, Grind has the benefit of two dedicated individuals working for and wearing their own label who have been listening and learning as they go along. Evidently the response has been great, so the question that follows is ‘so what else have you got?’ Here’s looking forward to future seasons.
Grind London’s Summer 2013 collection will be available on May 1st from their online store. You can learn more about the brand and its owners at their website, as well as on all the social networking websites. Enjoy!