While it first started out of a passionate love for surf culture, New York-based Saturdays Surf NYC has turned into a seriously influential force. Colin Tunstall, Morgan Collett and Josh Rosen all co-founded the brand back in 2009, continuing to spearhead its numerous operations. Amongst other things, this includes running a coffee shop, designing a full range of menswear apparel, and also curating a namesake magazine with non-advertisements and rare interviews. All of this takes an unfathomable amount of work, surely, but the powerful trio has so far pulled off each progressive move with grace and casual vibes. Here HYPEBEAST got a moment to catch up with the guys in New York for a conversation on Saturdays’ creative process, beach culture in an overtly metropolitan city, why they chose to expand in Japan, and the future of the brand itself. Enjoy the interview below.
Inspiration and Ethos
Please introduce yourselves and your role at Saturdays Surf NYC.
Colin Tunstall, Morgan Collett, and Josh Rosen. We’re the co-founders of Saturdays Surf NYC.
How did you guys meet and decide to open a fully functional surf shop at the first start?
Morgan Collett: Josh and I worked at the same company a few years back. Once I moved out east, we met Colin and instantly hit it off. We all shared a number of mutual interests, surfing being one of them. The idea for Saturdays stemmed from our love for surfing, as well as our interest in art, music and coffee, among other things.
What inspires Saturdays on the daily basis? Can you describe the creative process over the course of the year?
Colin Tunstall: The creative process has always been organic. Most of our ideas come from things we naturally take interest in, and then we try and mold them into something that makes sense for our brand. We find inspiration everywhere: on the walls of an art gallery, out our office window in Tribeca, on a surfboard, or while biking down the streets of New York or elsewhere. We keep our eyes open and see what captures our attention.
Saturdays has already established a sort of minimalist aesthetic for itself, but does the brand look to expand on that? If so, how?
Josh Rosen: We tend to gravitate towards a cleaner, minimal aesthetic and that’s visible everywhere from our logo to the cut of our clothing. As we expand, it’s important for us to stay true to that brand identity we established four years ago, regardless of what new areas we expand into.
Please describe the surfing culture in New York City versus other places in the world.
Colin Tunstall: It’s unique for sure. Even though the history of surfing in the area is pretty long, it hasn’t been until the past couple years that it’s become more mainstream. It’s exciting to watch new shapers, new stores, and the general lifestyle intertwine with the city. New York is a major city known for commerce, style, entertainment and culture. The fact that each of these things is so close to where people can surf is unique. Also the fact that you can take a subway to the beach makes the backdrop for the surf scene that much different.
Saturdays’ store interiors are notably efficient and pointed, which one do you think best expresses what you’re trying to accomplish with Saturdays?
Morgan Collett: We believe each store expresses what we’re trying to accomplish in its own way. Each of our four locations bear signature Saturdays features, such as white walls, upfront espresso bars, and wood shelving and counter tops, but they each boast something unique that differentiates themselves. Our Crosby flagship, for example, has a backyard that has served as an escape for many local influencers, as well as visitors from around the world, while the West Village location is a bit more airy and open. I think our Kobe location is the future of what our retail experience can offer. It is a much larger space with the same influences we have used in the past, but this time it has a more modern and Japanese influence with the architecture. Also, the size alone helps show the collection in a very powerful way.
Is it possible to tell us a bit of detail about how Saturdays NYC Magazine started?
Colin Tunstall: I come from an editorial background and worked as an art director for many years. Creating a magazine has been a dream of mine for years, and through Saturdays, the three of us were able to curate content that speaks to us, inspires us, and influences the way we think and view the world. We aspired to create something that would stand the tests of time, so we choose information and images that we believe will be as interesting five years from now as the day the magazine went to print.
“As we expand, it’s important for us to stay true to that
brand identity we established four years ago, regardless of what new areas we expand into.”
Josh Rosen of Saturdays Surf NYC describes the brand’s aesthetic and where it’s headed
Expansion to Japan and Beyond
What prompted the expansions into Japan as opposed to another fashion mecca?
Josh Rosen: We’re fortunate enough to have two Saturdays retail locations in Japan, one in Tokyo and the other in Kobe. Since the day we opened our first store in New York, the Japanese market really embraced our brand and vision. We found that the culture and vibe of Japan mirrors New York in a lot of ways, such as proximity to the beach, interest in art, design and music, among other things. Both cities were natural fits for international expansion, and while the stores bear the signature Saturdays aesthetic, each store has its own distinctive feel.
How does the Japanese consumer differ from the rest of the world?
Colin Tunstall: We really respect the Japanese consumer’s approach to shopping. Their taste is extremely discerning and they really appreciate authenticity, design and craftsmanship. I think unlike people in other parts of the world who might overlook these qualities in lieu of price or convenience, the Japanese consumer takes the time to understand and identify with a brand.
Was there ever a worry about Japan’s economic climate?
Colin Tunstall: We’re always cautious of every situation involved with our brand, but we weren’t worried about Japanese economics. We had been doing wholesale business there for a couple years prior to opening a store, and our trips to Tokyo enabled us to see what is the trend with our own eyes. In the short time since we’ve opened our Flagship store in Tokyo and our second store in Kobe, we’ve noticed a flood of other international brands opening up their first Japanese brick and mortar locations.
Any modifications to how the brand will be positioned in Japan?
Morgan Collett: We don’t want to alter anything significantly about the way we position Saturdays in Japan. For us, it was about reinterpreting our brand identity in a new setting and allowing each location to blend seamlessly into the neighborhood it calls home. We always want to incorporate local influence and the community that surrounds each Saturdays location, but we always keep our brand values intact when doing so.
What’s the next step for Saturdays Surf NYC?
Josh Rosen: Right now, we’re focusing on expanding and perfecting our ready-to-wear collections. Our Holiday 2013 collection hits stores this month and our Spring 2014 collection will arrive in January. Each season we’ve tried to integrate new items, so we’re constantly brainstorming new ideas and keeping an open dialogue within the office. We’ll also be releasing the third issue of Saturdays NYC Magazine in January.
“We always want to incorporate local influence and the community that surrounds each Saturdays location,
but we always keep
our brand values intact when doing so.”
Morgan Collett talks about how Saturdays Surf NYC is positioned in Japan