Back in 2006, Jimmy Bliggs had the simple desire to create clothing that he and his friends wanted to wear. From that simple ethos Grand Scheme was born and has been steadily evolving ever since. The label now encompasses a full range of cut-and-sew offerings, is distributed worldwide and boasts a who’s-who list of high-profile endorsements. Eights years on, Jimmy has remained true to his original vision, but Grand Scheme has proven to be far more than a side-project.
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Can you run us through how Grand Scheme came about?
I started off working as a freelance creative, and some friends and I were just printing some t-shirts for ourselves, mucking around. Then I decided to take things a little more seriously – each season it just kept evolving. I kept trying to increase the range and push what we were doing.
How long have you been in the market?
Around seven to eight years now, which is ages in this industry. It was a side project that has evolved into what it is now. I didn’t have a network of people or suppliers [originally]. Fashion is a hard industry to break into. Normally if you see someone start up a brand they’ve got experience with other brands and they’ve got contacts – I didn’t know anything.
Are there particular sets of challenges that you’ve faced as an Australian label?
For one, the Australian market is quite small, and I’ve been doing something that’s pretty niche in the market. Production is really hard here too, and it’s really expensive. I’m really jealous of labels in the US where they can just go down to the fabric markets. All their suppliers are there and they can do it so easily.
The brand has had quite a lot of exposure from musicians like Danny Brown, Action Bronson and Kendrick Lamar rocking the product. Does that help get the word out overseas?
It’s definitely helped. It’s just a gradual chip-away thing – little achievements one after another. We’re working with good people now overseas, making sure we’re in the right places.
Who do you think the Grand Scheme consumer is?
That’s a hard one. I just try and make clothes that I like, and that my friends and I would wear.
Do you have a favourite piece that you’ve designed to date?
I think one of the defining things is when we started to do these select hats – we’d go down and find these deadstock fabrics and make a really small run. That got a lot of buzz and really set the tone for what we’re doing now. People are pretty onto it now. The consumer is very well educated and they can tell if something is well made.
Doing your first cut-and-sew range must have been a good feeling.
It was good, with a big mix of headaches. It was definitely an achievement in terms of what I had been doing, but it also brought a whole new set of challenges. It was basically jumping straight into the deep end, and we had to learn whether we were going to sink or swim real quick. I still feel like I’m learning day-to-day.
What’s been your biggest achievement to date?
Still being here, still running. My biggest goal was always to try and make a passion project into a career, and it’s actually gone a lot further than I ever expected. In general, where we are now is something that I’m really proud of.
What can you tell us about the winter collection?
There are lots of sporting, technical pieces that are mixed with our street influences. One jacket in particular is waterproof and 3M for riding, so we’re trying to create pieces that are functional for everyday use, but also look cool. We’re really thinking of little things in the design that can help with that.
Grand Scheme’s Winter 2014 range is available in select stores now.
Photography by PJ Smith.