Abuze London is a street wear label that was established in 2001 as a creative project by two major London graffiti crews, So Damn Fresh and Vandals For Life. Basically, these guys wanted to open up an alternative outlet to express themselves and their art. The result was a label with roots to the London scene and this comes through strongly in their designs.
Abuze founder Aleks was really young when started the label, around 20 at the time and since then, he has really been the driving force behind the label. "He’s the creative director and a screen printer by trade, so he also oversees all the printing, which all takes place at Abuze HQ in West London. Aleks has developed the label in such a way that it still connects with the graffiti roots, which is his passion, but also he has continually branched out in terms of production and design to build a more widely accepted urban lifestyle label" explained Asia-Pacific Exclusive Distributor Nick Boffa.
Originally stocked in London, Nick Boffa is responsible for bringing the label to our shores. "In 2005, I was living in London, like just about every other Australian has done at some stage. I bought an Abuze LDN spray jacket, which I still have today. I brought it home and my mates really loved it, actually heaps of people kept commenting on it until the penny dropped and a light went on. I got in touch with Aleks and we started talking about distribution in Australia" he said. Then in late 2009, Nick went to the UK for a wedding and met with him. After talking and realising they were on the same page, Aleks gave Nick a chance to work with him down here and the rest is history.
When Abuze was first stocked in Australia, it received great response from people in the street art community and graffiti orientated stores loved it, so that was the labels core market and still is. "As we’ve kept growing here, Abuze has started to gain some genuine popularity outside of street art and graffiti subcultures. Abuze produces a wide range of designs so it appeals to most people on some level," Nick explained. While it was tough at the start, it’s growing continuously, so the team are happy.
Abuze credits some of their success to collaborations with design industry leaders and music artists. Nick feels these are a fantastic way to appeal their target market and is a way to access new consumers. Additionally, he sees the benefits it brings the label through inputs into the design process from new sources. "In our case, we gained a lot of popularity in the UK from people like Foreign Beggars and Tinie Tempah wearing the gear and offering their own input, along with heaps of artists like NASA and Plastic Bones. We haven’t done a collab range with any Australian artists yet, but there are heaps we’d like to work with. It’s definitely on our agenda" he added. A few artists like 360 and the Thundamentals have been seen around rocking some of their gear so; they are looking to hook something up with them.
The label is very pleased with its entire Australian stockists at present. While Nick runs his own store in Fitzroy called Corridor Clothing, they try to keep all their outlets up to date with the latest ranges. Also, because it’s a large range, Abuze rarely have any two stockists carrying the exact same stock as various styles work better for different stores.
Nick would like to thank all the stores in Australia who carry Abuze London and all the artists and customers who have supported them here. If you would like to check them out you can do so here: Website, Facebook and Twitter