If you happen to be lucky enough to live in NZ or if you're even luckier to be on holiday in the most luscious of countries, then make sure you make a beeline for the hottest new spot to open QUBIC. The magic starts this Friday 6th July under the guise of "GIVE ME PROPS", featuring an exhibit of customized sneakers courtesy of Melbourne's own Sekure D and UHF, music by the illustrious DJ Sirvere plus a host of other exclusive drops (peep the flyer!) Mafia was lucky enough to chat with store owner and creator Unkle Frank aka sneaker customizer UHF about the challenges he embarked to bring his vision to life and to get ya'll droolin with the delicious array of product about to drop instore.
(Please note, that the accompanying images are virtual pics of the store, because proddy is overflowing at the store, so the real images will make their way here next week, when we'll feature the opening night shenanigans!)
Give us a bit of background into how the Qubic “store come gallery” came about?
Well, I like to say that the store is a result of months of planning, years of ideas, and a lifetime of dreams. No, seriously, no cheese, this is something that we’ve always wanted to do here in NZ but we had to make sure it was done at the right time, with the right people, in the right place, and done well. We’d had our clothing label Republic going for a couple years, it was just the right step to take to represent all of our influences in one place. Fortunately for us this time came about sooner than later, but we’re still stupidly stoked with the end result. It’s been a crazy rollercoaster ride and we’ve all worked really hard over the past few months. But fun, real fun. We can’t wait to open.
What will Qubic be bringing to the New Zealand street wear and art scene?
First and foremost, we’d like to expose the local peeps to what’s happening in a global sense. I mean, yeah, it’s not hard to keep up to date on the plenty of blogs, forums and e-zines out there but seeing and holding the actual product in front of you is a whole different experience. Product education is one of the primary goals of Qubic. We want to educate. Being people that make garments and shoe fiends ourselves, we want people to understand why a certain garment or a shoe is made the way it is, why it costs what it does, and what is involved in the whole process. From there people can start making educated decisions on street wear and footwear which is important to us, whether or not they buy from us or someone else down the road. We also want to open the world of street art to a much larger audience, give all the artists an art-friendly space to show in and another outlet for their work and give it the true representation it deserves in the wider community. To the person that walks in the door, it’ll be good to see the way these two worlds blend into each other. We live and breathe the culture ourselves, so we’re sure it’ll come through in our store.
On the exhibiton tip, Askew – what do you hope to promote as far as art goes? Will it be mainly focused on street art to compliment the product instore?
ASKEW - Well, pretty much the only major requirement is the work is good! I know that is a pretty broad criteria but I think we will know when we are approached by or thinking of an artist whether or not they will fit the bill. It's hard to turn people away at times and from my experience in running a couple of gallery spaces you meet all types of artists, some just blow you away, some need guidance and others are just hobbyists or maybe even just kidding themselves. It's hard to discriminate but I guess that's my job in a way, just to find something that gels and runs along the vibe of the store, staff and that will appeal to or bring enjoyment to the customers.
How did Askew become involved to curate the Gallery?
We’d done a couple of projects and collaborative work in the past with Askew and the TMD crew with our clothing brand REPUBLIC, and when the idea of having a permanent gallery installation in our store came around, we knew there was only one person who we would want to look after the space. Askew’s been doing the gallery rounds for years now, he started the first professional street art company in NZ a few years ago and he’s a full-time artist/designer/writer now so he’s not afraid to push limits and try different things, which is exactly like us in a nutshell. We like to push boundaries and redefine things. When we sit down to talk ideas and throw things on the table (literally, sometimes) we talk on the same level, which is dope. In fact, he’s also a designer now for Republic, haha!
Give us a rundown of the labels that the store will be carrying. I heard a rumour you may be getting Tier 0 Nikes, which would be a total coup!
Creating this brand list that we represent in store was almost like a labour of love for us. Labour, as in it wasn’t easy either, more like pushing out a 10 ton baby. Hah. As I said, we wanted to give people a good range of product selection from all over the world to showcase some of the creative talent on a worldwide basis. It took a while to get some people to share our creative vision for the store, so to all the brands, we thank you from the bottom of our heart. Aside from our own flagship clothing label Republic, let’s see - from LA, we’re representing The Hundreds, Crooks & Castles, Triumvir, and XLarge, then on the other side, it’s Mighty Healthy, Shmack, Hellz Bellz. We’ve also got brands like RoyaleFam (SBTG Singapore) and KIKSTYO (Tokyo) coming in, and from over the tasman river, there’s the crazy lads at Schwipe, and a few directional women’s labels like Natalie Wood’s Something, Little Lady From, and Lola & Evie. Denim was also important as well, so we’re one of NZ’s largest Nudie Jeans retailers with a pretty large selection, and there’s Levis’ top range denim from their LVC line and perhaps some of their Japanese lines too.
Shoes wise it’s also another big selection – there’s Nike quickstrike and Nike SB of course, being one of the major brands we’re going to carry, and we’re also going to be the country’s flagship store for New Balance Classics, which is killer ‘cause I’m a huge NB fan myself. DC is dropping us some exclusives from their new Life Collection, like their 20/94 lines, Black Water, Methamphibian, and other artist collabs. Vans is also on board in a big way with their Vault line and hopefully their Syndicate line in the future, and we’re also the NZ exclusive retailer for JB Classics as well, a company that I admire not only for their product but their ethics and design ethos. Props Mdot!
As for Tier 0, man, that’s just what it is, a rumour. Where’d you hear that one from? Haha. I mean, I’d love to say ‘yo, that’s right!’ but we’re still waiting on that. All we can do is hope I guess, it’s not that we won’t try. Haha. And hopefully build a store that’s worthy of it, of course. Time will tell. Fingers crossed?
You’re going to promote customisation instore as well, with even a few shoes being showcased by Melbourne’s own Sekure D.
Oh yeah, it’s a big thing for us. I’m a customizer myself (UHF) and I met Sekure D one day when he trawled through our NZ sneaker forum solejam.com. We talked back and forth for a couple of months, trading tips and advice and I saw the opening as a great way to showcase some of Sekure’s unique customization work alongside ours. He’s a pretty enigmatic character, haha, but he has a great and solid style which will definitely result in some kind of shoe collab in the future. We’re going to be distributing Angelus Leather paints in NZ, and we’ll probably sell a few art supplies in store along with accessories to get anybody and everybody into how to start customizing their kicks. I’ll also be running custom workshops in the store in the near future, which should be fun.
So the mayhem all starts with the opening this Fri 6th July. What can the peeps who come down to check it out expect?
The store, of course! Haha. Mayhem is right. Well, there’s going to be that custom shoe showcase with shoes from myself and Sekure D, along with Joddity and Stompa, the other two owners of the store. We’re doing something special with a limited store opening teeshirt, which you’ll see at the event itself. There’s DJ Sirvere, incidentally a huge Jordan fiend, spinning the decks, KOLAB and DVRDCT on the mic, and we’ll also be hosting the official drop of the DC X SE Racing PK Ripper BMX along with the NZ launch of Crooks and Castles. There’s 150 of those PK Ripper BMXs in the world and only a couple in the country, and we got our hands on one which will be auctioned off for charity after a couple weeks on display. It’s going to be a pretty crazy night!
Any upcoming events/launches/sneaker drops you can spill the beans on?
Haha, that’ll be telling. We have the Vice Photo Exhibition dropping in in August at the gallery space. There’s a big New Balance pack being released as well I think in the last quarter of 2007. By far the biggest thing is that at the end of the year we’ve got a huge event planned here, something that will probably be the biggest thing to happen here, which I’m not really at liberty to say just yet…. ‘cause that’d just be telling. I’ll be sure to give you fellahs the heads up tho.
FRI 6TH JULY, 2007
7PM - 10PM
154-160 BROADWAY, NEWMARKET