We caught up with Josh Foon, designer and founder of Sydney based streetwear brand Any Means. We discussed the inspiration behind Any Means, design, creative direction and delved deep into Any Means upcoming debut Pop-up: ‘A Pop Up by Any Means’.
Paired with our interview are photos by Josh (@foonvision).
Any Means: INSTAGRAM
TNB: Hey Josh, thanks for having a chat! First off, can you tell us what Any Means is all about?
J: Thanks for having me! So, Any Means is a clothing brand that I started at the end of 2014. I brought it to life as a melting pot for all my creativity and interests and just went from there really. The brand and the name itself represents an attitude and perspective of life, of getting what you want and doing what you want by any means. After brainstorming over 100 different ideas for a name (not an exaggeration) I decided on Any Means as the right fit. It works as a universally relatable concept that has the power to mean something different to every person.
TNB: When did you launch and what inspired you to start?
J: Since high school I always had the idea to start my own clothing brand. Whenever I went to shops in the city I would look through the clothing racks with a keen eye for what styles and designs were being done, what worked and what didn’t, and what had the power to make me like something. I had also become familiar with a handful of local Sydney brands around at that time (Halfsleeve, Ones Clothing, etc.) and had the chance to witness how they went about things.
I guess seeing people in the same city as me with their own brand made me realise that it wasn’t such a far fetched idea, and gave me the confidence to think I could give it a go myself. After I graduated from high school I studied Graphic Design so I could learn how to bring my designs to life, all the way from my sketchbook. During that time I slowly worked on and perfected the Any Means OG Signature logo, and by the time I obtained my diploma for the course, I had my own logo on my back.
TNB: Your creative direction is really well orchestrated, from design through to look book photography. Is this entirely planned by you or do you get other creatives involved at different stages when deciding how things should look?
J: Apart from a few friends I’ve worked with in the past regarding photoshoots, the creative direction is entirely handled myself. I am blessed to be born into a family rich in creative blood, so it’s only right that I try to use that energy as much as I can. I bought myself a second hand DSLR one day with no experience of how to use one, and decided to learn and teach myself. That was 4 years ago now, and these days I confidently shoot just about all the new AM look books myself. It’s essentially a one man brand man show, minus the printing and manufacturing of my garments. I look after everything in front and behind the scenes, from designing the first draft of a new idea to packing and posting your online order.
TNB: Your debut Pop-up: ‘A Pop Up by Any Means’ is just around the corner. We’d be stoked if we could come by, but being based in Melbourne we’re going to have to settle for the Instagram stories. Though we’ll be cracking a few beers and popping a bottle of champagne in Melbourne to feel like we’re there.
Let’s start with the basics. When and where can we all drop in?
J: The debut night is Friday the 28th of June! The pop up will be at M2 Gallery on 450 Elizabeth Street in Surry Hills, the heart of Sydney - a literal five minute walk from Central Station! Doors will be open to the public from 6pm to 9pm, however if you’re unable to make it on the night, the space will be open until the following Tuesday for you to come by and check it out.
TNB: Can you tell us more about the idea behind the Pop Up?
J: Well the brand has existed online and through word of mouth for the past 4 to 5 years - I figured it was time for people to finally meet and experience the brand in person and see what the world of Any Means is all about, and what better way than to do an event. It gives people the chance to see, touch, feel, try on and enjoy our new range in the flesh as opposed to just basing their judgment off of a photo they see flow across their instagram feed.
I want the experience of the Pop Up to not only function as a store but also as an exhibition. While we will have a completely new and exclusive range for people to see and purchase there, we will also have displays and pieces there that will show the behind the scenes of the brand, the influences and inspirations behind the styling, archived ideas and basically a brain picking of Any Means - let people absorb as much of the brand as possible. I want it to be more than just a night with some cool clothes.
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TNB: It’s easy to imagine that getting an event like this organised is a pretty big task. What’s the process looked like from initial concept to your launch night next week?
J: I mean I was smart enough to start planning the Pop Up well in advance, so it kind of made the tasks a little more digestible as I had the luxury of time on my side to a certain extent. I’ve been to a few pop ups over the last few years, just kind of taking in what goes into making one good, what works, what may not, and kind of applied what I learned into my own circumstances to figure out what I needed to do and how to go about it.
I started working on the new range and worked out a rough idea of what I wanted to be displayed before I even looked at a venue consideration, from there I started getting my orders in for the new stock to be printed and just proceeded to gather all the pieces to the puzzle. Everything from venue hire to buying hangers, clothing racks and paper bags to organising the new stock and searching for vintage pieces for customising, to organising the vinyl for the front window display, to designing flyers to hand out and social media marketing for the event - the list goes on.
As a team of one, yeah it can be a bit of a tall order - but it’s a good challenge. Something I can be proud of and look back at later on I guess.
TNB: As you said, you’ve been working a new range specifically for the event! Custom recycled vintage denim has been sneak previewed as one of the limited-edition collections available, what else can we can we expect to see?
J: Yep! After the initial announcement of the Pop Up I stated that there was going to be no new releases until the event. I’m very excited to bring back the Custom Vintage Denim Jackets as a lot of people have enjoyed those releases since I first did them in 2016! Along with that I’ve got new designs coming out which you will see on Tees, Hoodies, Pants, Jackets, Tote Bags and Stickers as well as other exciting one off pieces that will never be repeated.
I encourage people to have a really good flick through the range on the night and find something they love - hopefully there’s a little something there for everybody. I’ve also played around and added an A.M touch to two pairs of Nike Air Forces (my favourite sneakers ever), by adding subtle tweaks and hand typography to make them custom 1 of 1’s - naturally one pair in a mens size and one pair in a ladies equivalent size. I’m just excited for people to see everything really.
TNB: Can you elaborate on the concept behind your week-long pop up? Will the set up remain the same or are you going to mix it up throughout the week?
J: Well with most pop ups that run for a week or so, they will have one big release night which goes great, but usually the rest of the days following can be a little bit quieter. I want to use a bit of that downtime after the release night to offer the space I’m using to collaborate with other local creatives who are working on their craft. Whether it’s a photographer and a model looking to add to their portfolios, or a recording artist who wants to shoot a scene of their new music video, or a producer who makes beats in their room and wants to hear their work in a different dynamic for the first time. The Pop Up will definitely still be running and functioning as a store - it’s more so just an effort to keep the space active and keep creative energy flowing while I’m there. Inspiration is endless and I think it would be a fun thing to do while I have the keys to the gallery.
TNB: It’s doubtful there’s a one size fits all, step-by-step guide to designing a pop up. But if you could help others looking to design their own, what larger steps would you suggest are important they take?
J: Watch and learn from others and seek information! The answers for almost all your questions are already out there, you just need to want to find it. Also try to approach it from not only the perspective of the person putting it together, but also the perspective of someone that would walk into the event.
TNB: Put yourself a couple of weeks into the future. Everything is all wrapped up at ‘A Pop Up by Any Means’. What do you hope that those who came through left knowing about Any Means?
J: Above all, I really hope people leave the event feeling inspired. That’s what the brand ultimately stands for. It’s about going out and doing whatever you want, however you want - and not letting anything stop you. Since I started the brand I’d always thought about throwing a pop up, and this year I decided to make it my main goal - so I took the steps to figure it out and do it the way I want it to be done all by myself. Hopefully me having some success with this event can show others that maybe the things they hope to see themselves doing and enjoying, may not be so far out of reach after all.
Check out Any Means at:
Instagram: Any Means
Any Means Debut Pop Up - 'A Pop Up by Any Means'