Recently in these pages we've shed a lot of pixels talking about the ongoing, highly fascinating crossover happening between the coffee and culinary worlds. But another avenue of interaction between speciality coffee and the outside world remains largely unexplored: the merging of coffee and contemporary fashion. We know of a few examples out of Portland, Oregon, including the Stumptown x Poler collabo, a line of beanies for Heart Coffee by Coal, and Pino‘s annual holiday bow tie team-up with Sterling Coffee Roasters. There's a few others, like these cycling hats for Intelligentsia by Golden Saddle Cyclery, but this is still a largely un-tapped market.
That's starting to change though, and like a lot of things in coffee, New Zealanders are at the forefront in a most interesting way. Yesterday our friends and partners at Coffee Supreme revealed their long-in-the-works coffee apron collaboration with I Love Ugly, one of the biggest names in Kiwi fashion since Karen Walker.
Currently found at stockists around the world and via popular web lifestyle shopping verticals like Asos and Hypebeast, I Love Ugly presents a hip, subdued take on men's fashion and everyday street wear. The brand, which has been featured by fashion blogs around the world, has a damn good blog of its own comprised of equal parts behind-the-scenes product shoots and unexpectedly good music writing, with recent articles on the LA producer Mndsgn and Berlin's IAMNOBODI.
I Love Ugly is headquartered in Auckland, and they've got shops in the AKL and Wellington, with a fifth coming soon to Los Angeles. For this collaboration with Coffee Supreme, they've created just 60 waxed cotton aprons, lined with cotton gingham. The aprons are now shipping worldwide via Coffee Supreme's web store, packed discreetly in coffee bags adorned with this wrap-around text:
The apron is also available for physical pick up at all of Coffee Supreme's stores, and at two of I Love Ugly's boutiques, in Auckland's Newmarket and in Wellington on Lambton Quay. The two brands collaborated closely on the apron's design, creating “a customised Barista apron, tailored to the demands of the role, and allowing both Coffee Supreme and I Love Ugly to capitalise on our respective core strengths and expertise,” according to an in-depth look at the project on Coffee Supreme's blog. That same post says:
Yes to this, we say. Yes to all of this. Don't just dream about coffee & brand collaborations, for the future of coffee + fashion is bright indeed. To wit: the models in the photo shoot are all working baristas at some of New Zealand's best cafes. Dear fashion brands, please work more with contemporary coffee brands, if for no other reason than having access to a new pool of models! Here's the Coffee Supreme x I Love Ugly Apron, as worn by the following New Zealand baristas.
Tim Noriss, Customs Brew Bar, Wellington.
Liz Platova, Six Barrel Soda Co., Wellington
Roxy Pease, Mondays Wholefoods, Auckland
Oliver Simon, Good One, Auckland.