This October, fashion retailer Cotton On embarks on launching its first streetwear brand, among equals — a fashion conscious range inspired by trends and movements in urban culture from all over the world. Staying true to its appreciation for underground style and sneaker culture, Cotton On tapped Sole Merchants store founder, Dan Tupara as Creative Consultant throughout the design process. Together they produced a full collection of longline tees, fleeces, bomber jackets, drop crotch pants and utility outerwear. For the brand’s first lookbook, they asked HYPEBEAST to come on board alongside Copenhagen-based photographer Bobby Anwar to shoot the campaign, traveling to Auckland, New Zealand to capture the spirit of the range. We sat down with Anwar to reflect on the shoot, his career, what streetwear means to him and where he sees it going in the future. Check it out in full below and shop it here.
What inspires you when you go out shooting?
Usually what I see, the street. I’m always chasing light, the way the light shines on a wall, or glass facades that reflects light. If I have a person or some people walking by that can walk into that shot, I’ll be happy. And of course location.
Do people inspire you?
All the time, I love talking to people and meeting new people. Every time I meet new people that are creative, that really inspires me.
Tell me a bit about how you got into photography.
I actually started doing video. I love cinematography and films — how they’re edited and how they’re graded. So I picked up a small camera, an Olympus, and I started doing video. Then a friend introduced me to this little app, called Instagram ha…and I started using it and got more into photography, so that sparked it. And being a graphic designer, I already had a sense of symmetry, lines and minimalism.
Does your background as a designer have an impact on your approach?
Definitely. My background has definitely impacted how I see and feel photography, as most of my shots are based on feelings. The composition is definitely drawn from my design background, I can’t run from it, it’s in my system.
Tell us about the among equals shoot.
HYPEBEAST contacted me, asked me to come out to New Zealand, and told me about this brand I didn’t know much about called, among equals. First off, I loved the name, it’s more relevant now than ever, thinking about what’s going on in the world. From what I saw, the style totally matched what I would wear myself as simplicity and minimalism, or basic wear that looks stylish, really appeals to me. When I met up with the Cotton On team, we just clicked right away. That’s really important for me to have that human connection so I can project that on the shoot and the models. Everything was really easy, and free. Just me, getting in the zone.
Why do you think urban street culture is so prominent across fashion and music and other fields now? What is it about it that appeals to so many people?
I think what appeals to so many people about street culture, sneaker culture, or clothing or whatever is the minimalism, and the sense of all being…equal, among equals. To me that makes sense because that’s a big part of my life. I used to listen to a lot of hip hop and R&B, and I used to dance. I started dancing when I was 14 and I danced for 17 years. I was very much into fashion and sneakers, and music. So for me, it’s really important to connect with a brand. I don’t wear a brand if I don’t feel like I can connect with it, or feel that sense of history.
Where do you think are the most exciting cities for fashion, music, or art and street culture are?
Well obviously the big cities – Paris, New York, London and all of that. But what we’re seeing a lot of right now is the involvement of the culture in smaller cities and countries, like Poland where it’s growing a lot, or Japan where street culture is huge.
Do you see the culture alive here in Auckland?
Even though I’ve been here a short time, I do see it here. As a photographer, I’m always looking for it. I’ve see people wearing awesome sneakers on the street and I’ve been checking out their clothing and their style, so I definitely feel a vibe here. I was telling the guys, in ways Auckland reminds me a bit of New York, I’m definitely digging the city.
Of what you’ve seen from the collection so far, any favorites?
Oh ya, I have a thing for jackets so the bomber jacket is up my game. The jogger pants are definitely my style as well, T-shirts, anything black. What I really like about the range too, are the natural colors, I’m really drawn for that.
What are some of the highlights from the shoot?
Definitely the people, the connection. Being on the same page is really important for me. I’m getting that vibe here, so that’s definitely been a highlight.
among equals is currently available online and in selected stores globally from Wednesday 28th September with styles varying by country.