New Zealand’s Beach Brains launches first collection and nods to 1990s grunge and anti-fashion aesthetics.

Dubbed the ‘Trash’ collection, Beach Brains references underground subcultures, grunge aesthetics and the 90s most iconic celebrity couples. 

Young Kiwi label Beach Brains has just launched their first collection ever, showcasing premium made, unisex streetwear staples that transport wearers back to the 1990s to celebrate underground subcultures, moods and sentiments. 

The labels brand director and longtime friend of the store, Jody Coggan, introduced the brand to ATC earlier this week and took us for a deep-dive into the current collection with previews of what’s to come for Spring.

The artist behind Beach Brains’ mind-blowing graphics, Gareth Flemmings, started the brand between 2013 and 2014 while living in his sister’s garage. Seven years and after a short hiatus, he describes the project as a fusion of all his passions. Uniting photography, art and graphic design under one roof. 

The Beach Brains label has comfortably situated itself within a nostalgic 1990s throwback that sees a movement toward popular anti-fashion subcultures. This is the same sentiment that drove iconic 90s brands such as Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui to re-think fashion for the youth - turning their heads away from couture and toward pop-culture icons such as Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and girlfriend Courtney Love.

The brand injects direct references to symbols of the grunge, anti-fashion movement that originated in 1990s Seattle with a series of plaid flannel shirts and jackets. Celebrating the persona and attitude intrinsic to the look of vintage, worn and slept in band t-shirts and flannels. 

In fact, a 1992 New York Times article by Rick Martin described the flannel-clad aesthetic of grunge subcultures as the basics of a non-fashion statement - a precaution against the Pacific Northwest’s mercurial climate. Martin says, ‘This stuff is durable, and it’s kind of timeless. It also runs against the grain of the whole flashy aesthetic that existed in the 80’s.”

In a recent interview with New Zealand’s Superette, Flemmings notes his recent playlists, including dark metal and The Body’s album ‘I’ve Seen All I Need to See’. Solidifying the brand’s innate connection to the sound, feel and look of the metal and grunge subculture. 

Beach brains first collection dubbed ‘Trash’ sees grungy, gothic graphics that sit somewhere in the universe between patriotic and anti-establishment, city and beach and undoubtedly unisex. Flemmings commenting in proper Beach Brains attitude, ‘Women look so much better in suit pants, and it’s a bit of a fuck you to the patriarchy.’

Beach Brains extracts this sentiment and re-frames them in clean-cut and put together silhouettes such as suit pants and wool jackets with quality fabrics sourced from Japan and elsewhere. Coggan prides the collection on its attention to detail, whether it is the fluidity of visual references, attention to the weight of cotton or the weaving of colour detailing amongst the collection. 

If Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were hiding out somewhere in Auckland or Christchurch, they’d most likely be wearing Beach Brains. 

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