INTERVIEW WITH ASH KUMAR FROM NATIVE YOUTH
Manchester born Kumar started Native Youth in 2012. He has always been passionate about fashion and travel. He combines his passion in the Native Youth, a brand that is proud of its roots and history, but open to influences and inspiration from cultures across the world.
Ash and the team are all inspired to create collections that are timeless; created for the youth but versatile enough in their innovation to translate to every generation. What started out as a 30 piece menswear collection has now grown to a full range of mens and women’s’ ready-to-wear and accessories collections.
Native Youth is available in over 30 countries worldwide; including Japan, UK, USA and South Korea.
Your biggest influence probably comes from you grandmother. What is the best advice she gave you?
My Grandmother always taught me to work hard and to always treat your team as your family.
You had an extensive training into the world of fashion and business since an early age. It must have given you a strong base and confidence but still how sure were you of the success of Native Youth when you started it?
After a lot of research, I started to see that the branded market for menswear needed something fresh, so I put my ideas into action. It was very apparent that there was a space in the market for a brand like Native Youth, so I was always quite confident it would be successful
We love the simple and minimalist vibe to Native Youth clothing. Is that part of the brand’s DNA?
Yes, I’ve been inspired by the simple and minimalist Scandinavian and Japanese style looks for many years, but we wanted to bring it to the market with our Native Youth twist.
What creative process do you go through while creating a new collection?
We initially start by looking at colours & inspiration for the new season which could come from our travels or even from what we have seen in and around us in Manchester. rom this we start to build a range looking deeper into fabrics, yarns materials, stitching and prints that will give the new collection the Native Youth edge
Native Youth became a success in a very short time. What do you think has been the key to this success?
We’ve been blessed that Native Youth has been received as well as we had hoped and it’s down to our loyal and growing following
How would you define an ideal Native Youth customer?
There is no ideal, we don’t believe that fashion should exclude any group. Our strapline is ‘Youth has no age’ and we have a broad customer spanning from the young fashion kid to the slightly older gentleman who is into his premium fabrications.
Native Youth has been stocked in some very respected names right now and has been worn by top models and celebrities. What was that first moment when you felt like, Its really happening and you felt incredibly proud?
Travelling to Japan and seeing our first collection stocked in Beams, Japan was when it started to become real. To this day, seeing Native Youth stocked in beautiful stores around the world always makes me proud
What advice will you give to the young designers who will like to follow your footsteps?
Work hard and have fun while you’re doing it and use every experience as a chance to draw inspiration for your collections
What can we expect from Native Youth in the coming seasons and what future plans do you have?
We have plans to expand into sportswear & accessories for menswear and womenswear in the coming seasons. Our online store is still quite new so we are focused on growing our online presence at the moment