21.1 Little Labels - Autumn

Interview with Brad Alband By Theo Acworth

What inspired you to start Autumn?

I’ve been involved with great brands over the years- helping launch Holden Outerwear, moving on to help rebrand ThirtyTwo with its team and launching outerwear there, Volcom snow for a few years and then the last 2 designing for Gnarly. I hit a point in my life where I said I’ve worked for the best and I want to start something where I get to do it my way and see what happens. There are new things happening from skate hardgoods brands and some coming in from street/fashion, but in our space, it was leaning pretty heavy into outdoor trends and I felt like we needed something fresh. I wanted the backbone of the brand to focus on fit. We have 3 fits that we want to brand like a bottoms company does, so depending on how you wear your beanie, you can shop by a specific fit and know it's going to be consistent season after season. We want to be the beanie specialists.

Why did you choose the name?

Autumn is the start of new in our year. Temperatures dip, days get shorter, and there is this excitement in the air as summer ends and you start pulling out beanies, sweaters and jackets again for the upcoming season. Autumn is the snowboarder’s spring really, where what is ahead is all new and that first round of snowfall has the same feeling as when flowers bloom in the spring. It sets the tone for what’s ahead. The word, in general, has emotion behind it, and it fit perfectly for what we want to create.

Which riders are involved in the brand, and why?

From the start we wanted Bryan Fox to be involved and set the tone. Bryan has a high taste level and we needed that input as our rudder. Everything he puts out or has his hands in has this special touch to it and he’s not afraid to let us know when we may veer off. I think we need that, every brand needs that really. To be and stay authentic there need to be those uncomfortable conversations about what we’re doing and why. From there we hand-picked people who held the same standards- from their riding style to their personal style, we wanted people who defined individuality.

What’s the creative process like at Autumn?

I’d say it’s more real-life than a design formula. There’s a ton of information online about what colors, what prints, what style is going to be popular next…and to me, that’s pretty boring. All of a sudden, everyone’s products and brands will start looking the same. So we take our inspiration from thrift stores, deep-dive eBay wormholes, social media feeds of people who are pushing their own style, my Blunt Mag library, old catalogues, team rider texts of things they want… it’s pretty grassroots.

How important are artist/brand collaborations for you?

It’s a huge story for us. This first season in our printables line we have fleece from Griffin Siebert and David Dasiy (Vans Snow Art Director). I feel like there is a creative underbelly that is not being given its right shine in our space. So Season 2 we’ve expanded the artists to include printables from Josh Manoles (Public Snow co-owner and creative director), Bryan Fox, Dane Nomellini and Casey Jones (2 artists doing a ton in the skate world right now from 35th North Seattle retailer to Thrasher tee art), Hannah Eddy, as well as David and Griffin again. We’re also working on things with Kennedi Deck and Franky Villani.

It goes back to the same reasons riders were chosen- these artists have a unique style - and them being part of Autumn adds a whole layer to the brand story.

What’s coming in the future?

Season 2 has us developing the fit story further with 8-9 styles for each fit with a lot of emphasis on stripes. We want to own stripes with a variety of options. We’ll be introducing a Sustainable collection made with recycled poly yarns that we hope to grow and integrate into the line more every season. I’m also waiting for samples to arrive for a Spring 21 injection line of unstructured hats, 5-panel camp caps and bell bucket hats. we’re going to see what Autumn looks like in Spring.

Last words are yours.

I started working in a skate/snow shop when I was 16 and immediately knew I was not going to do anything else with my life. 25+ years later I’m fortunate to still be involved in this industry and now I want to see if the same things that inspired me do the same to others. I want to be surrounded by the weirdos, the creatives, the socially awkward or the life of the party… I want my day to be interesting because of the personalities around it. That’s Autumn.