Modern Day Surf Style Icon Jared Mell Has A New Range
And blow us down if we wouldn’t wear every thread.
Jared Mell’s longevity is testament to him picking his own way through surf culture.
Past and present. If you can remember the last decade or so then you’ll recall that we’ve revisited a multitude of different concepts and ideas from times past within our little clique. And that covers everything from how we wear our hair to the equipment we ride. Some people have the undervalued talent of being able to masterfully sift out the aesthetically pleasing and the practical, and Jared Mell is one of the most gifted thrifters we’ve got. As testified by his latest Banks capsule.
Can’t tell if entirely earnest… fab none the less.
Jared leads a transient existence from his Bali base, and his Banks pieces reflect as such. If there’s a common theme for the capsule then it’s the gorgeous tiger print that runs throughout a selection of the pieces and the labelling, and, unsurprisingly, Jared says there’s a story behind it. “Japanese immigrants who started heading to the Pacific Islands after 1868 are believed to have made aloha-style shirts with material from worn-out kimonos that were brought in from Japan,” he explains. “I found a very old version of this which was the inspiration for the yardage on the four pieces in the collection.”
The thing I love about this collection is the freedom Jared’s obviously been given by his corporate(ish) masters. Thumbing through the first few pages of the lookbook, the tiger print was prominent and the clothing—trunks, flowing short-sleeve button-up, washed-out tee, etc.—was geared toward the tropical. Meanwhile, we’re crawling toward northern Hemi winter/the Australian-Indonesian exodus…
…I see what’s going on here. Or so I thought.
Then there’s a cricket jumper, a beautiful pea coat and a pair of slacks that wouldn’t have looked out of place on an off-duty American GI in the 1940s. The brief seems more “do what makes you feel (see: look) good,” than “here are the confines, squeeze between them or else.”
The man himself looking perfectly dishevelled in his signature (long sleeve) button up.
“I don’t ever design based on where it will be worn, I go with what I want to wear,” Jared confirms. “Although living in Bali makes you gravitate towards cottons and other breathable materials. Travelling as much as I do innately means I need to pack for all seasons and all occasions. To me Banks is a label that can be worn from the sand straight to dinner and this capsule is my twist on prints, comfort and style whilst on the road.”
Travel is an essential part of Jared’s creative process, and he admits that most of his ideas stem from time spent on the road. When prompted for a favourite piece of the range and the story behind it, unsurprisingly, he highlights the simply-titled “Jared Mell Jacket.”
I’d willingly sport the majority of Jared’s range (although short-sleeved button-ups and yellow make me apprehensive), but the jacket really stands out. It looks like an unpretentious Barbour, made in Japan, with a price point that sits well below what you’d expect to pay for such a fine jacket. “I love the way the Japanese wear things, the layers, the attention to detail,” Jared says. “I designed this jacket when we were rolling through some back streets in the outskirts of Tokyo. It’s based on that day and a little old Japanese man I met who wore a jacket better than most people I know.”
I’ve always fancied designing a capsule, but suspect it seems far easier than it is in reality. If you create a selection of things you’d wear daily, chances are it’d be dull. Too out there generally doesn’t work and doesn’t sell. So how do you make something different, you, and vaguely commercially viable? Well, you could do far worse than taking a lesson from one J.Mell, for a start.
“At the end of the day a collection is put together with the key factor to sell well, but I don’t have that philosophy in the forefront of my mind,” Jared explains. “For me, it’s about doing, making, and wearing what I love. If you apply this rule to anything in life and money comes your way, then it is a win-win. From that, I’ve learned to make and design things based on what feels natural. Whether it’s shaping, surfing, or a capsule. Create things that make you enjoy doing it. Don’t follow trends or listen to the big wigs.”
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