Meet GARBAGEtv, The Punk Brand To Have On Your Radar
Work hard and, if the saying holds true, you will be generously rewarded in even harder playtime. But what if you could find a way to meld the work and play into one, remarkably productive (and maybe sort of professional?) party? Well wonder no longer, because that is precisely what Australians Kiel Rogers and Rhys Scott did. Rogers—a multidisciplinary artist and designer who’s worked for Walter van Beirdendonck, Jeremy Scott, and Comme des Garçons—and Scott—a 3D animator, CGI artist, illustrator, and designer—are the guys behind GARBAGEtv, a label based out of Perth, the coastal capital of Western Australia, that counts a slew of stores around the world among their stockists and that has shown in Paris for the last couple seasons. Yet what is now a clearly burgeoning brand with punk undertones started as really nothing more than a series of underground-, techno-, and punk-themed parties—each with a different set and concept that Rogers and Scott designed themselves. And having recently been picked up by VFiles, we felt there was no better time than now to pick their brain.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Rogers, who told us what it’s like to work under van Beirendonck, and how growing up in Perth—apparently the most isolated capital city in the world—has impacted his career.
Why the name “GARBAGEtv”?
We started the label as an event, a party—Garbage Party. A lot of things were kind of disco at the time and I wanted to move away from that and bring something harder and darker—underground, techno, house kind-of-vibe. For the first Garbage Party we built a giant dumpster, we graffitied the walls and smashed metal garbage cans and made them into smoke machines. We kind of trashed the club as well, to make it look like a junkyard. I remember one person saying, “This place is rank it’s so dirty…”
How did it transition from the parties to the brand?
I made some t-shirts to coincide with the party because people were asking if there was any kind of merchandise to go with it. So I made about 60, and they sold out within two days. [After that] I started making graphics, and it grew from there. Then when I went to register the business name, “Garbage” was actually taken, but Garbage TV.
Perth, your hometown, is the most isolated capital city in the world. Is this something that you were aware of growing up, and how did it influence you creatively?
I guess being in Perth when you’re younger, studying art and studying design, you feel very trapped, so I think we strive for an international idea and an international level. When you live on the east coast of Australia, everything’s so close and everyone looks towards each other, but coming from a west coast, isolated city, we tend not to look to Australia or the east coast—we look internationally.
Since the late ‘70s, Perth has had a raving punk scene and a vibrant underground music culture. What role does music and sound play in your work?
Every aspect of my life revolves around music in some way or another. I grew up in the punk music scene in Perth, which I think is actually one of the best things in the world, both punk and hardcore. Everybody here who does music is phenomenal.
Do you think fashion brands are more powerful when they are tied to some sort of movement?
100 percent. I think brands that build a culture—[and] not necessarily just a label—bring people together.
What does it take to work for an international brand such as Van Beirendonck. Most people wouldn’t last a week with Walter—you interned with him for a year!
I think with any internship, it takes a lot of drive to want to do it and it’s one of the hardest things. Treading through the mud because you know you’re getting somewhere that matters to you. But it was the best experience.
You also worked for Jeremy Scott and Comme des Garçon amongst others. Did you have any crucial moments of personal development during these experiences?
I think the main thing that all these jobs give you is the drive and the idea that if you keep working hard, you can do something. The most amazing thing is when you show the final result, like with Walter and Jeremy when you do the show—nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment. And with fashion shows you see all the work coming together in this amazing way.
What did you dress like as a teenager and how did that evolve?
We wore mainly surf and skate labels. I always had my own style, a DIY style. I was made fun of for [it]. It’s hard as a kid to be the one who dresses differently, but I was heavily into punk and skating and my school didn’t really understand.
How powerful is your consumer in terms of dictating and shaping your designs?
Being a new label, I’m not sure if the consumer dictates anything at this point, but I think the idea of a culture behind a label will move the label forward regardless of the consumer.
All photos taken exclusively for Milk by Mitchell McLennan.
Stylist: Shibon Kennedy.
Model: Georgia Graham.
Stay tuned to Milk for more brands on the (serious) come-up.