In a room full of people wearing all black, I would still stand out.
In our first designer profile back for 2018 we caught up with Tanaka from Black Correlation, a contemporary label blending minimalism with individuality: less but better. Launching with a killer pair of unisex loafers and a practical tote, this new label encourages the pursuit of personal style through quiet luxury. We couldn’t wait to find out more.
Leiden: Tell us about your ethos.
Black Correlation: Uniqueness drives me. I never like to wear what everyone else is wearing. This way of thinking is the main driving force behind Black Correlation. Individuality through minimalism. I want each of the works to be a way to elevate peoples’ wardrobe essentials. If you enter a room wearing our clothes we want people to notice and ask what you are wearing. Not by having bright or loud colors but through superior form, fit and fabrication.
L: How did Black Correlation come to be?
BC: Through a love for challenging fashion. I have followed fashion trends religiously since I was in college. I used to play around designing my own t-shirts by cutting and printing graphics on to them. However, I never took it seriously and stopped when I graduated and went on to pursue an architecture degree. However, during my undergraduate study I would still sketch or write any new ideas I had. During my university years, my love for fashion grew more and I would often talk to friends about how I wanted to launch my own fashion brand. Then one day one of my friends, and now business partner, told me I should take it more seriously and actually start a brand. With his support sourcing manufactures and dealing with the business side we were able to launch the brand.
L: What is the story behind the name?
BC: Why the name Black Correlation? Because in a room full of people wearing all black, I would still stand out. It seemed like the perfect way to sum up the brands mission statement, which is blending individuality with minimalism through pieces that offer you the ability to reflect your unique style while remaining minimal.
L: How do you approach design?
BC: I approach my designs the same way I approach an architecture design. When you are working on an architecture project the first thing you do is think of who you are designing it for, where is it going to be and what you are designing it for before you think of how it’s going to look. With this collection the ‘who’ was anyone from their late teens to their to early 30s. The ‘where’ was summer but remaining easily adaptable. Finally, the ‘what for’, was how this collection creates provides an easy sophisticated style to dress up for occasions or meetings. The design process itself included coming up with several ideas that could draw from any sort of inspiration. Then I narrowed it down myself highlighting which ideas I liked and which I didn’t. I then sought the opinion of friends and sometimes unbiased strangers as they were more inclined to be honest. My aim was not to see whether they liked my designs or not but more to gauge their reaction and see if it was the reaction I was after.
L: How important are the materials you use? Where are your pieces made?
BC: All our pieces are developed with superior care to quality. From the start material selection was a big part of this for me and my business partner. Prioritizing quality was the reason for a lot of the delays with release because, before we started, we had agreed we would only put out pieces with the materials and comfort at the forefront. The Black Correlation loafers are genuine leather and handmade. We worked closely with a reputable manufacturer in China that has made pieces for fellow Australian brand Florsheim and is well known for their quality and craftsmanship. The Black Correlation t-shirt is 100% cotton and is hand made as well, sourced from an Indian manufacturer known for working with Nike and Puma. Finally, our 100% canvas tote bag is made here in Australia by a company that works with Coles, Telstra, F45, Pialligo estate and a number of Government organizations. Time was well invested in sample testing before deciding the right materials and in the end we believe we got it right.
L: Do you design with sustainability in mind?
BC: Sustainability is definitely something we looked into during the creation of this collection. The shirts are produced from 100% natural cotton. Our reusable bags are canvas and environmentally friendly. All our packaging for shipping also uses recyclable plastic. However, we believe we can do more and we have begun discussions around the future use of non-animal leather for our shoes.
L: Who or what do you draw inspiration from?
BC: Some of my inspirations are less obvious than others; the biggest and most evident in this collection is early Gucci. The less obvious, or maybe not, is the Korean style of lose fitting button up shirts which was the inspiration behind the fitting of the Black Correlation shirt. A notable fashion icon that inspires me is Raf Simons. He is my favorite designer and I am always inspired by how he pushes the envelope.
L: How do you hope to see Black Correlation expand?
BC: We hope to start discussions with local retailers around Australia about carrying our collections as well as doing pop ups. We are also interested in music and art so we are planning on working with local artists towards turning ourselves into not just another clothing brand but a sub-culture.
Photography: Sam Broomby