Saturday 7 August 2010

A Casual Interview

After a lot of hard work in setting up this blog, well discussions over a few beers mainly, our next aim was to get some interviews with some key players in the 'football casual' market and we have been lucky enough to grab an interview with Chas from Casual Connoisseur are a clothing brand with a very well respected label and popular website, established back in 2006 they have made considerable progress but are hoping to make a lot more…

Have you any plans to expand to more than just a web based organisation, will you one day have a boutique shop in London’s Carnaby St or Manchester's Tib Lane? Where do you see the brand being in 15 years time?

I’d love a flagship store in many ways that would be superb, I think that’s a long way down the line, being web based is totally hunky dory for now, we only have select stockists and could perhaps do with a handful more, but I’d like that to be our choice and for them to be fairly dotted around from the north to the south, in an ideal world, I’m none too keen on us being available in every town, everywhere you look. We have turned down a lot of offers, which we might look back on and regret, but we don't want to 'sell out' or be everywhere to the point that people get bored of us.

15 years? I can’t say I’ve thought that far, I’d like to say we’ll still be around, but in another sense I reckon it would have to be in a different sort of capacity though, with a lot more progress, it would seem crazy if I’m still doing it exactly the same when I’m 45, but I kind of hope something is going on around it. But to still be in existence that far down the line would be truly amazing, it could only be a good thing.

You pride yourself in your exclusiveness, do you think one day you'll regret that or do you pride yourselves in not "selling out"?

Maybe one day we might look back and kick ourselves really hard! Though we follow our own path, our own instinct, of course making some money and a living is vital, but we also want to maintain exclusivity. Getting ourselves all over the place and churning out generic, obvious stuff is too easy and the way to go if we wanted to just cash in. Being in many stockists/stores raises our profile, looks better, but also can have an adverse effect, there’s places we would love to get in, places we're glad to be in that suit us and hopefully we suit them and places we’re not too bothered about in all honesty, we have turned down stockists in the past and never actually chased anyone as yet, the one thing I’d hate would be for people to get sick of us, I’ve seen this with other brands and it would be a killer. There’s selling well, and then there's selling out, I’d rather keep on keeping on with what we do to those who like it than end up cashing in on fodder for the masses, as I say if this all eventually falls by the wayside, we might look back and be disappointed, but we’ll make a great go of doing what we want and can say we never sold out.

What are the future plans for the brand now that Winter's coming? Will the Weir hat return? Will you start doing any other 'wintery' garments?

Yes the Weir hat will return later this year hopefully. I’ve recently been in touch with the good people who produce it so it’s more than likely going to return. Different colours, limited edition run as always. There may well be other things on the horizon, but going off previous experience it’s better to keep schtum until they are actually with us!

Glad to hear about the Weir hat, we missed out last time. How quick did it sell out?

Last years were done and dusted within three weeks if I remember rightly, they have become pretty sought after, we’re getting asked for them all the time, even during the height of summer.


What has been your fastest selling item?

As stated the Weir hats have been a tremendous seller, there’s some tees which absolutely fly out aswell, our recent pin badge set did superbly well as soon as it went live too.

We notice that a lot of your inspiration comes from football, music, and, films but what about golf?

To be honest I’m not too well up on golf, aside from watching Caddyshack a million times. I used to wear a lot of golf style clothing back in the day, Lyle and Scott pullovers before they went dead mainstream, like the good early casualwear stuff you’d see Ronnie Corbett wearing, our kid had an argyle crew neck cashmere jumper from Oi Polloi in the very early days, which cost about ninety quid and he got ribbed for it at Barnsley away the following Saturday, a good while later that brand exploded. I preferred the older stuff, an untrained eye probably can’t tell the difference but the little eagle just looked better, his wings were less pointy.

I had quite a few vintage Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear stuff too, that was under the radar and probably still is to be fair, nobody else ever wore any of it, it was a bit indie crossover but an alternative I seeked out for myself. There’s polos, caps, windbreakers and things which could be deemed a bit ‘golf’ and the like, but I’ve never worn spikes in my shoes.

I’m sure if I ever got into golf I’d give half those freaky dressers a good run for their money, I’m one to dress for the occasion. Quite a few cool folk enjoy a round of golf, Jack Nicholson, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Tony Soprano etc.

So you’re not a golfer then?

Sorry no, I have played pitch and putt a few times though! Not a very good standard.

Although I did once honestly get a hole in one on a park on Woodthorpe Park in Nottingham once, flukey as fuckery but I’m having that one.

Jammy Sod! Given the rambling you like, surely golf is just a 'trendier' and more focused?

I guess you could say that, it has it’s place as a favourite past time and I know of people who enjoy playing and watching, there’s lovely scenery, however you don’t really have to concentrate on a ramble, nor wait your turn for anything, you can’t really switch off playing golf.

Okay so you're not golf fans, do you pick up ideas from any other sports?

I don’t know really, aside from football I personally don’t really follow many other sports, I find cricket so monotonous and uninspiring, and the same goes for tennis too, and don’t get me started on Rugby (Union) that lot can go and swivel. Darts and snooker are just pub games if you ask me.

Nothing wrong with pub games. The Sticker Project was fantastic; do you see yourselves re-running that or launching another similar campaign?

Yes, we will be getting at least one maybe two new designs printed shortly, I enjoyed the response we got with that, it made for a cracking page on the site and helped spread the word, I sometimes spot them in other towns and cities which always makes me chuckle. We send them out with most orders, and people always ask for them too, but it seems to have gone a little quiet of late though, so a bit of a re-launch would be good and overdue.

What was the strangest place you saw a sticker?

The Moscow Metro on a statue of Lenin was fantastic, and on a New York NYPD squad car takes some beating. We’ve had them all over the show, Hampton Court, Ernest Shackleton’s House, New Mexico, Brazil, the Angel of the North, that station with the stupidly long name on Anglesey

Crikey, I’m not too sure if Lenin was a casual or not and I’m sure the chaps over at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch have never had a platform full of football fans. Anyway, thanks for the time Chas and we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for more stickers and some new designs.

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