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A Conversation with Jordan Gibson

May 05, 2016

A Conversation with Jordan Gibson

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Gubb & Mackie is a menswear label steeped in history, yet with a contemporary outlook. As Creative Director, Jordan Gibson aims to show people that casual clothing can be smart enough for work too. Most importantly, his goal is to be part of a creative community contributing to positive development of the landscape and creating a network of destinations for people to experience and enjoy. Kōkako caught up with Jordan to find out what he’s up to now, and next.

Please describe from a Gubb & Mackie perspective your relationship with Kōkako.
I have known Mike for a few years now and I think we share a similar perspective around branding and service, our place in the market and this being driven by relationships. Mike is committed to the development of Auckland as a modern city. We’d discussed working together in some format for a while, and when we opened our store last year on Auckland’s Vulcan Lane Mike suggested a collaborative coffee product to gift our clients and we thought it made sense to choose Kōkako Cold Brew.

What was your ‘fashion epiphany’?
I knew pretty early on that I wanted to do something in fashion, it took me a while to work out what that was and how I could contribute. But it’s always been there since I could formulate my own ideas about clothing. Stylistically I think it was when I found classic menswear, I had been looking for something relatable for me and this has been the most tangible part of my life ever since. I wouldn’t say there was a moment ‘when I found my style’ as I think this is always evolving, but there is an aesthetic string or a level of taste that ties everything I create together – my 'eye’ so to speak.

What are you most proud of?
Probably our store and making my mark to date, for as long as I can recall my biggest desire has been to have a brand to call my own. A physical store is the perfect manifestation of this - the space where you can present the complete vision of your brand. This makes me proud and my family proud, and there’s no greater pleasure for me than sharing this with people and seeing there connection with our ideas and product.

What’s your favourite little corner of the world? 
I love big cities and metropolitan areas so I’ve always been attracted to the central city of Auckland and the streets and laneways that connect it together. The small spaces that I frequent day to day, I like to visit these places and build a routine - this drives my girlfriend mad. The local coffee shop, the book store, my friend’s stores, the foodcourt that makes the best Laab in town - these are the places I tend to hang out. I like that you can still uncover things in Auckland though, it’s easy to feel like you’ve tried everything in a mid sized city like this so it’s nice to be surprised.

How do you have your coffee?
I like filter at the moment, and iced coffees/cold brew. It’s so hot in Auckland even as winter rolls around so I find cold coffees really refreshing.

Kōkako / Gubb & Mackie Cold Brew collaboration

In your role as Creative Director, how do you make your (relative) youth an advantage?
It keeps our modern and contemporary vision at the forefront, my goal is to create product that transcends age groups rather than being targeted to a niche youth group. I try to create everything with a refinement that will appeal to a wide audience and lend to most environments and personal style - I like objects that are adaptable rather than projecting a specific look or subgroup. I want our product to be accessible and ready to be roughed up but also aspirational and with a touch of luxury, hopefully someone can come in and grab one of our garments and add their flare to it.

Does it help to have a strong tradition behind you?
Definitely - there’s a tone of voice to carry on, an expectation and a following that’s already aware of the brand. It’s helpful as a designer to have an aesthetic direction to work within or mould around, some times having a blank slate can give you too much room to go awry. It means a lot to me to maintain the history of the brand as well, there’s a lot of connections with suppliers and manufacturers which we retain. I like that level of familiarity with the brand and the old stories people come in with about a well loved garment or connection to the naval tailoring background. It’s kind of like an old friend that you’ve known for a long time that’s always dependable.

A modern attitude meets traditional details

What are you working on right now? 
I’m in the midst of development of our summer range, we’re also redeveloping the way we release product and market it in line with the blurring of seasons and consumer habits. Basically releasing new product, projects and content constantly based on the timing and also when we think something is ready. This is in reaction to the traditional cycle of releasing two or more collections a year and marketing/releasing it all at once which doesn’t work any more or at least not for us. I’m also working on a series of new product lines and collaborations which we’re excited about as well.

Describe your favourite piece of clothing/art/technology.
Clothing: I’d have to pick three, sneakers - it’s no secret that I’m obsessed with shoes. The unstructured jacket - the cornerstone of Gubb & Mackie and my day to day. Sweatshirts - hooded, crewneck, half zipped; I love all forms and their functionality and comfort.
Art: At the moment I’d really like a piece by Kirstin Carlin
Technology: iPhone - usually glued to my hand.

What’s the sartorial rule you’re most likely to break?
Most of them, but namely pairing navy and black together (widely considered a no-no in most instances) and giving little consideration to clashing prints/leather items matching.

And the one you follow to the letter?
Invest in shoes and outerwear.

What are you most looking forward to about winter?
Hunkering down and enjoying things like weekends at home tucked up under a blanket, and the comforts of cold weather like hearty food and a hot cuppa in the evening. Stylistically, wearing more than just a t-shirt. I get excited about textures like wool, corduroy and knitwear.

Winter’s silver lining – impeccable knitwear

Autumn Winter 2016 is in store now
Gubb & Mackie Auckland Flagship Store
35B Vulcan Lane or online

‘Gram with Gubb & Mackie or Jordan Gibson


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