Chris has been a busy guy recently; gearing up for the new job at 5 Pointz at the end of this week, surviving the floods that have been drowning his town and so on. But, somehow, he’s managed to find time to talk to the following headwear brand and shoot the images (of the samples NBI sent him) that you’ll see throughout this interview…
A couple of months ago we were approached by an American headwear brand called No Bad Ideas. Initially, we’d planned to maybe do a feature on these guys, but things escalated… We ended up scheduling a Skype discussion to chat about their brand, their products, and the streetwear scenes on both sides of the Atlantic. Not only that, but it lead to a UK-first, FKOF x No Bad Ideas exclusive photo shoot. Scroll on…
The initial round of emails (and subsequent Skype call) proved to be both incredibly interesting and eye-opening. No Bad Ideas may come across as a brand who are purely about shifting hats, but these guys are passionate about their local community and producing quality products that people want. Not only that, but I found myself really identifying with their mission statement, which basically stems from the fact that everyone told them that they couldn’t possibly ‘make it’ with a headwear brand. Christopher Hines, from NBI, explains a little further:
“What started as a big “FKOF You” to all the people who said the brand couldn’t survive only selling hats has turned into quite a venture. Right now we are located in 1,000 independent retailers around the world – in addition to a website that is on fire. As well as being a fashion headwear company, NBI has very strong ties to the local arts (art, music, etc) scene here in Indianapolis, Indiana”.
When it came to the Skype call, we basically spent the best part of an hour chatting about streetwear, and the differences between the US culture and ours here in the UK. The US scene is, without argument, the leader. Without starting a history lesson (and a debate), it’s safe to say they more or less kicked the whole thing off, and continue to lead the way. Their brands are known the world over, and have provided inspiration for hundreds (if not thousands) of people to try their hand at the streetwear game, and their products span many different cultures, generations and scenes.
However, when it came to seeing how many UK brands they’ve heard of, the guys at NBI had heard of none of them. They had, vaguely, heard of London-based, Geordie-at-heart AnyForty (thanks to their launch party in NYC and association with international artists), but beyond that every name I could throw at them drew a blank. They had, however, heard of Fred Perry, Kangol, Umbro and a few other sports brands, all of which are viewed completely differently over there to over here!
When discussing people’s response to NBI (and new brands in general), it seems people are keen to support people who are willing to take risks, work hard and try and create something original. People buy into stories, and can see the potential and human aspect of people trying to make something for themselves. That kind of environment gives brands room to grow and confidence to actually try and grow. This vibe is a similar one that UK-born, US-based brand Twenty Pence picked up on when they moved over to the USA and started their brand. That’s the kinda support that helps build scene-driving brands…
We had a chance to throw some questions at NBI, and what follows is the result. Enjoy!
Tell us who No Bad Ideas are… No Bad Ideas is a street-inspired headwear company founded by Andrew Moss. Based in the US, our products can be found on our website and in independent retailers around the world. No Bad Ideas is all about creative self-expression and looking good!
What lead to the decision to start the brand? What started as a big “FKOF You” to all the people who said you couldn’t survive as a business owner only selling hats has turned into quite a venture. Our founder, Andrew Moss, got his start in this business working for a beer distributor selling promotional products. He quickly realized how much he hated working for ‘the man’, but also that hats were a value item that many cookie cutter brands disrespected and paid no attention to. The goal was to create a brand that stood for something more than corporate greed, a brand that represented a mentality of going against the grain, of being unique, and most importantly of doing you! No Bad Ideas was born!
What drew you to headwear as a product to build your brand on? As I mentioned above, many brands paid little attention to their hat business. Since it doesn’t generate the same $$ as shoes, outerwear and so on, many brands couldn’t care less what their hats look like. The thing is there are a lot of hat junkies out there like myself, and if we could create a brand that stood for something but also produced quality headwear styles, I knew there was a place for a company like No Bad Ideas.
You seem very inspired by your local D.I.Y/arts/music scene; what is it about those things that inspires you? I can relate with people who follow their passions, despite all the naysayers. Throw on top of that the real talent that some of these people possess and it’s hard to not be inspired. There are a lot of truly talented people out there, and we want to help them pursue their dreams and the get the exposure they need to make their dreams a reality.
Following on from that, what’s your take on streetwear generally at the moment? Streetwear seems to be as strong as ever! There are a lot of cool brands doing big things right now. With the internet becoming such a big part of our daily lives, there is so much more access to brands all over the world. Not to mention, stores all over the world supporting the movement. It’s a good time!
Where do you see the brand in, say, 5 years? In 5 years, we hope to have a bigger imprint in the UK and other international markets, as well as keep growing here at home in the US. The trends will be different, but NBI will still be doing what we do, selling hats.
What musics keeping you going at the moment? I’m really feeling 2 Chainz and The Black Keys right now. Others I have on the playlist: Theophilus London, Kings of Leon, The Cool Kids, Mayer Hawthorne, Bloc Party, The Neptunes, TV on the Radio, Wiz Khalifa, and on and on. I love music!
Any shout-outs? To all my people in the 317 and to the haters who doubted my idea about starting a hat company, you know who you are!
As you’ve probably noticed, NBI were kind enough to send over some products for us to take a look at and use in our exclusive photoshoot for this article. Now, I know I’m probably expected to say nice things, but there’s no way I would’ve put the time and effort into this if the products had fallen below by expectations; Wil and everyone else who knows me will vouch for that fact [I do - FKOF]! The quality is incredibly high, and rivals any hat in any store I’ve come across so far; in fact, in some instances, I’d say it surpasses them. My favourite feature is the Stash Pocket, which is such a simple yet brilliant touch that goes to show the care, thought and creativity that goes into their products.
I have to say a massive thanks to the guys at No Bad Ideas, this article was a real pleasure to work on, and I appreciate them getting involved with providing some of their products for us to take a look at and use however we wanted for the photoshoot/article, and giving us the time to talk via Skype, answer our questions and so on; they’re a passionate, driven collective and this has been one of the biggest and best articles I’ve worked on. I wish them the best of luck!
There you have it. One of the best features Chris has done, and our own little FKOF photoshoot as well. Awesome! Hit Chris up on Twitter (or you can have a chat with me on @FatKidOnFire) or shout away in the comments if you enjoyed his feature with No Bad Ideas!
And if you’re a brand looking for exposure, why not drop Chris an email?