After building relationships with some of the top streetwear designers in North America, brothers Rodney and Ted Timbol, better known as The Story to the fashion community, release their premier line in June, 2007. A collection of outsourced projects, the 2006 Summer line features the work of Mishka, KRINK, One Hit Wonder, Elicser, among others, as well as a series of custom sneakers by C .Williams. Based in Toronto, but globally inclined, The Story currently offers their premier collection exclusively at their website. Format chats with Rodney about the development of the line; read the story, and then cop The Story.
â€œAt first glance people might say â€˜itâ€™s just a T-shirt!â€™ But weâ€™d like people to see the artist and their story, their flavor, their life and their uniqueness.â€
Format: Please introduce the owners of the story and explain their respective roles within the company.
Rodney: There are two people who run The Story, my bro Ted and myself, Rodney Timbol. We hail from the city of the Toronto Make Believers. Right now Ted and I operate in the same way we operate our graphic design company of 10 years, which means we both share the creative and admin work.
Format: Both of you have been doing freelance design for years, what made you decide to branch out to clothing?
Rodney: Even in a creative business like ours there is a daily routine, and it can throw you into autopilot some times. That is why we have always engaged in side projects to keep our creative hunger satisfied. In the past we did music, film and some industrial design projects. Ted and I have always been hands-on, so any project we work on has to involve us either creating or producing the product. In a small business youâ€™ve got to be resourceful and these side projects really provide an added level of challenge. In the spring of 2006 we got into silk screening because it was something we could do in-house, and weâ€™d already been exposed to the garment industry. It was a natural next step for us.
Format: Your biography states that â€œthe folks behind The Story believe that we are in the middle of a creative revolution.â€ Please expand upon this statement.
Rodney: Yeah I guess since the early to mid 90s we were feeling it and now itâ€™s gone beyond some of our own expectations. Iâ€™m not a historian or economics major but I believe revolutions are sparked by the creation of new tools that help empower the powerless. The computer has empowered people to create their own content and at the same time given us the power to broadcast it. Damn, I have an aunt who never had a way to express herself until she hit up Photoshop. Now sheâ€™s the montage queen of our family and sheâ€™s amazing at it. To me, she exemplifies the revolution thatâ€™s changing the way we think about creativity and media. The creative potential that has always been there in all of us can now be transformed into content through accessibility to tools and various forms of expressive outlets. The amount of creation and exposure by the once powerless has never in human existence been so great. Those who discover and embrace it are being empowered, and those who are exposed to it are inspired. We wanted to take part in this, so The Story was a way to empower ourselves and others to broadcast our own content.
Format: The Story created graphics for the 2007 Premier line in-house, but the brand also collaborated with other designers for a number of shirts in the first collection. Why did you decide to go this route?
Rodney: The original idea of doing The Story was to try to work with many different artists with different flavors, experiences and location. We wanted to gather these unique individuals or groups and treat it like a jam session and see what kind of vibe comes from it. We wanted to achieve different tones, rhythms and harmony.
Format: How did you select the brands you would collaborate with?
Rodney: We value things like flavor, life and uniqueness, and we wanted to somehow reflect that in â€œThe Story.â€ We looked for, and selected artists and brands that reflected one of these qualities, stories, in some way. Elicser T.O, C. Williams T.O, Mishka NYC, One Hit Wonder SF, Krink NYC, KG NYC and Peculliar-i T.O had one of these stories that we could appreciate. I have to add how appreciative we are with all these creative heads for taking part and sharing their stories.
Format: Please explain â€œThe Storiesâ€ behind a few of the shirts from your first collection.
Rodney: OK this is where it all comes together for us. Iâ€™ll explain what the story is about so you can read the story yourself for the few shirts youâ€™re asking about. At first glance people might say â€œitâ€™s just a T-shirt!â€ But weâ€™d like people to see the artist and their story, their flavor, their life and their uniqueness. If you look deeper youâ€™ll see how hard this artist needs to hustle on daily basis to get their work out, running from cops after a night of tagging and the hardships they share with the viewer. Even deeper you see a sewer who just immigrated here and making minimum wage to support three kids and you see the shop owner close to bankruptcy because of a lack of sales due to global competition. These are The Stories we want to represent and embrace on our products. We wanted to evoke these curiosities with the viewer and hopefully encourage them to investigate these people on their own. We want our brand to have real life and real stories people can connect with and relate to.
Format: The Storyâ€™s logo, playing upon the stories in a building, draws attention to an â€œurban storyâ€ as a driving force for the brand. What role does urban development play in The Storyâ€™s designs?
Rodney: The logo flip of the Beat Street logo appears works out appropriate for our own message today. Being indie means we can self-indulge and change according to our current head space. The logo reflects the pop culture at the time we were growing up. That movie pretty much encompassed the marketability of the culture we were involved in. Thereâ€™s a lot of things I do unconsciously, and choosing a building that represents urban development never played a role in the design. But now that you bring it up, yeah this is the environment I grew up in so this is how weâ€™ll operate.
Format: In addition to tees and fliphatâ€™s The Storyâ€™s first collection also includes a series of customized shoes. Please discuss this project.
Rodney: This particular â€œStoryâ€ is one of the highlights of the first collection. We wanted a story that was local and different. I read about C. Williams in a magazine I picked up. The shoes in the article looked incredible. When I read he was from our city I knew I had to meet him. C is incredibly talented, a progressive thinker and very professional. We experimented with a couple of shoe styles before the Bamboo AF1s to get a feel for which direction we wanted to go in. In the end the criteria that won out was to explore all kinds of unique textures with minimal use of colors. The final product was a success from all aspects. We released six pairs and sold out in days. The series consist of four styles, with three more to be released in the Fall. Those will feature a Peculiar-I collaboration supplying some really complex knits.
Format: The Story does not sell tees larger than XL. Why are you not producing larger sizes?
Rodney: This would partly be due to our inexperience in this industry. We had no clue which sizes were in demand so we stuck with the basic small to XL but after getting emails asking the same question we’ll need to expand our size options.
Format: The Story is currently available exclusively online. Why did you decide not to distribute the tees?
Rodney: We did contact some shops early in the production and would have loved to have these out there in a couple of stores but again our inexperience probably killed that route this time around. When the series launched we got a lot of shops inquiring to sell the brand and we sent them our catalog. Thing is, at this point our stock is too low to keep up with demand from even the online sales so weâ€™re keeping it exclusive. In truth, it was a blessing in disguise because it led us to develop and improve the online shop which has gotten very positive responses. In the future weâ€™d love to partner with a retail shop that can grow with us and mentor us through the process. Thatâ€™s a model that would work for us since weâ€™re so hands-on. We have developed awesome partnerships with our existing clients from our design company and Iâ€™d like to carry those same standards over to our retail partners.
Format: The Storyâ€™s bio states that the brand is a â€œcreative gro-ops which means the future is left open for other ideas to flourish and take root not only in apparel, but other media as well.â€ What are some of the possibilities for The Story in the future?
Rodney: Weâ€™re keeping our options open at this point. We just want our cravings and desires to guide us for a while. Apparel is a great medium to work and express yourself with and we want to dive into that a bit deeper. We have thousands drawings in our cabinet weâ€™d like to explore, so thereâ€™s a lot of story material still untold. Some of that may take us in to other art forms but thatâ€™s something that will evolve to satisfy the creative hunger.
More Info: http://www.thestoryapparel.com/