It’s the first week of Spring and we’ve run into Wes at a corner coffee shop. We’re both early, on our way to shoot him in the new Salomon XT-4 range. It’s a positive time for Wes - his wholesale business is reaching new heights, and the latest collection is releasing in November. Despite the overwhelming positivity radiating around him, when asked how he feels about the shoot he displays the shy humility he’s become known for. Salomon has approached him to hero the release, and he humbly deflects the self-importance. The Sydney pollen descends on us both as we weep onto location.
Pseushi is a brand on the cusp of commercial success. In its 8th year, he’s made it through infancy and the associated trials of a new business, whilst remaining proudly independent and local. Within his own circles he’s known to be a listener and observer. Quiet, curious and relentlessly inquisitive. Never content being still, always seeking answers to questions not quite formed. The outcome is a man always on the go. Philosophical in thought and tactical in action, Wes moves through the world at a calculated pace.
The Salomon XT-4 range represents the working shoe. Practical and supportive for creative thinkers and do-ers just like Wes. The XT-4 is not a hiking shoe, nor is it a fashion shoe. Above The Clouds has captured Wes in various states of action, moving with him throughout his standard day. The alignment couldn’t be better suited.
Pseushi is Wes’ self-described learning journal. The physical embodiment of his reading, learnings, teachings and emotions. We spoke to Wes about where he’s at and where he’s going, on behalf of Salomon and the XT-4 range:
Tell us a bit about Pseushi and how it came to be.
I've always had an interest in clothing and how proportions can alter one's appearance. I was the smallest kid in my grade every year, never had the longest legs and widest shoulders so I was always very particular about the way clothes sat on my frame. It's funny to think about now but I spent a lot of my time thinking about the cut of my favourite t-shirts or the way my school uniform was altered. Even after high school, studying design and eventually working as a graphic designer, my fascination in clothing was always there.
We hear that every season draws from a new philosophical concept or period in time - where do you go to find these areas to draw from?
I used to focus on singular conceptual reference points for each collection. It could've been a film, a memory or a certain book I read. It's now become more a system or a design language that I employ to reinterpret clothing. My reference points now for ideas are a little more abstract and less nailed down in time but the visual language that I use has always been shaped by what's around me.
It feels like you're never sitting still Wes. How does movement and action inform your practice?
Ever since the brand started making things from scratch, design for me has become three dimensional, as it should be. How a garment moves with the body has become more important to me than a logo or graphic affixed on its surface. I like paying attention to the way certain materials and fabrics interact with the body's movement or in some cases inform the way we move. Do you walk the same way when wearing a rigid, hard-wearing work jacket or a loose fitting oversized hoodie? It might not physically shape the way you walk but even on a subconscious level, I love how clothing can change the way we carry ourselves.
So your concepts evolve through walking, thinking, moving. Is that what drew you to the Salomon alignment?
It's very apparent when an object's form follows its function. But when a shape becomes so iconic that it takes on new meaning, it transcends the original function. I love the way Salomon's footwear encapsulates this symbiotic relationship between form and function and it's something I steer towards when designing.
What does a standard day look like for you?
One of the things I am most grateful for in my job is that there really is no standard day and I realise how clichéd that sounds but it's the truth. More often than not I will drink my morning coffee not knowing completely what the day will bring. Then as the day progresses, a list takes shape so I organise my day around the developments of that day or the day before that. It might be meeting the patternmaker to discuss the shape of a new garment or picking up new dye samples or examining the fade on a particular denim or colour matching with my screen printer or meeting a photographer about a campaign or discussing with a maker what buttons I should be using. It just goes on and on. I truly wouldn't trade it for anything else. One singular notion of routine is that I always try to end the day with walking my dog Frank.
Where are some of your key places for inspiration for your practice?
My work is never based or situated in one physical place as it's very mobile. I could probably do my job anywhere unless I'm visiting my makers or suppliers. I'm always in a state of transit which is why movement is constantly informing my output.
How does space and location inform your outlook for Pseushi?
Pseushi is still a very local operation although I am bracing myself for the day I need to expand. Whether that means selling into new markets around the world or working with different production partners. But for now, I enjoy driving around Marrickville for 5 hours a day.
Let's talk about locality. How do your makers inform your practice, and what goes into choosing the right maker?
Because I was never formally educated in fashion, my makers have taught me everything I know. Every conversation, every mistake, every trial and experiment has been a lesson and it's been an amazing way to learn. I gravitate towards people that are truly dedicated to their crafts and love to pass on their knowledge and I am very lucky to have found these individuals in an ageing local industry.
Pseushi has just taken on a new period in its growth, how has this affected your research and design process?
In the past couple of years, I've made changes in my thinking and decision making so that Pseushi can function more like a business. Working with a sales agent and engaging the skills of others has freed me to focus on what I want to achieve as a designer.
What excites you most about this new stage for Pseushi?
There's been some significant developments both publicly and behind the scenes for Pseushi. There are a few new stores that will be carrying the upcoming Spring Summer range so I'm excited to be introducing the brand to new faces. I'm also just genuinely excited for the new direction of the brand. I feel very aligned with what I'm designing and I'm glad it's finding an audience that resonates with it.
I’ll throw you a deep one here: what do you want to be remembered for?
I want Pseushi to be a very genuine learning journal for the designer but also the person I am. It's a very privileged position to be in when I can prioritise ideas over margins. I wish to do this for as long as I am able but when the time comes, I hope it's a meaningful journey people can look back on.
Wes wears the Salomon XT-4 in Wren | Vintage Khaki | Aurora Red and XT-4 in Taffy | Vanilla Ice | Blue Print available now through Above The Clouds.
Wes also wears Pseushi SS23 which will be released in November 2023.
Many thanks to Between Lines, ASYD Printing and Hassan for sharing their spaces with us.