Interview: Volume One founders Lloyd and Jonathan on their unique North East brand

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Volume One has just celebrated its first birthday since its launch at the tail end of May 2014. Its driving force is high school friends, Jonathan Fox and Lloyd Parker, both 26 and originally from Yorkshire, now separated with one in Darlington and the other in London.

This split they call a “blessing in disguise” as it allows the brand to establish current streetwear trends in both the north and south, letting them create clothes that would appeal to both the London and Northern “festival hipster goer”.

The guys, both in their mid-twenties, compliment each other perfectly; one having a background in design and the other working in the e-commerce industry. The brand was established Lloyd says: “out of designing something we wanted to wear, to self gratify ourselves. It was only when we were designing, that we realised we had something that was sellable.”

It’s this design process that Lloyd says can be anything from starting with a mood board of inspiration, or looking at 80s cycling attire which inspired the “Donut Tee“. Occasionally one will e-mail the other with an idea and they’ll refine it to become something that works with the brands minimalist look.

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The name, Volume One, was also a process of brainstorming and refining, and allows them in the future to develop themselves, they hope, into another volume of possible shirts and jackets. They also hope the brand will evolve by incorporating a lifestyle side, by collaborating with bands and artists to produce clothing that can be exhibited or taken to gigs. The dream for Lloyd is to work with Dutch mix-media artist Parra, whose vibrant Pop art styled imagery, Lloyd defines as “beautiful”, and is something I could see working well with the guys youthful apparel.

The current stock is small, but new stock is imminent, with one of their favourite pieces Jonathan says having an all-over back print T-shirt (£25, and on sale soon). They are also diversifying into snapbacks (£20, on sale now) with one crafted in burnt orange polyester.

Their opinion of North East fashion scene is quite polarising with Jonathan saying Newcastle and Middlesbrough being “quite trendy”, and the hipster vibe starting to come through. Whereas Lloyd sees “only small pockets of people doing great stuff”, and feeling more comfortable in London due to the vast amount of styles of self-expressed fashion.

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However divided the guys are in both opinions as well as distance, they both agree that for anyone starting their own company you have to “work your arse off and hustle everyday”, get as much advice as you can and get involved with people you want to work with.

Now as they enter their second year as Volume One, they are sticking to their initial mantra of “style, simplicity and quality”, and working with brands such as eyewear brand Scarlett of Soho to produce new lookbooks (of which Fashion North has the exclusive look at).

Granted this new menswear brand is still in its infancy, but with their drive to create something great, out of producing clothes that were initially for themselves, both Lloyd and Jonathan in their words “haven’t even scratched the surface” of what they want to accomplish.

Check out Volume One on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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