What are the origins of Fellow and who are the people involved?
I started Fellow a few years ago because I could never find shorts I liked. I wanted clothes designed for surfing but without all the loud shit that always seems to go with it. There are a few brands now catering for a more discerning surfer and its good to see. I have lots of ideas for products based around surfing so it’s nice to have an outlet for all that. It’s nice to be able to give a little too charity too.
I have a friend Emma who helps me with running things when I’m away, she is awesome. The illustrations are all done by friends or friends of friends at the moment. I have been doing it mostly on my own so its nice to be able to get a few more people contributing as it grows.
As much as Fellow is about making good products it is about making a change to my life. I have spent far too many years stuck behind a desk and wanted to do something positive and creative with my time and everyone else’s who gets involved.
Your clothing range has some very nicely considered designs, tell us a bit about the process and materials for the pieces?
For me it all starts with functionality. I come from an industrial design background and have always followed the form follows function ethos. You often find if you design something to be fit for purpose then it generates a look all of its own. With boardies it’s subtle changes that make the difference. It is what’s taken away that makes them what they are. I wanted to take out the inside leg seam as I have suffered from thigh chaffing when walking miles down beaches with wet shorts. There are other small but important features to the shorts like on the modern standards the eyelets for the lace tie are integrated into the waistband instead of put into an extra layer of fabric sewn on top. All the internal seams are bound so the inside is as nice as the outside. I wanted to have something where its all about what goes on on the inside for the wearer as much as what they look like to everyone else.
I always wanted to make the shorts out of natural fabrics. I stated with a lightweight canvas but found it held a lot of water and didn’t hold its shape too well when wet so I am now using a fine medium weight cotton. Its great, it doesn’t hold too much water and dries quick enough. Cotton is great as it has about 5% stretch across the grain naturally and it will tend to mould to your body so the shorts just get better as they get older. All the t-shirts are organic cotton but as the organic cotton has a shorter fibre length so durability was an issue with organic cotton for the shorts.
Who or what are a few of your most inspirational brands or people?
I have always liked the small indie surf brands like The Critical Slide Society and Rake coming out of Aus. I admire eco conscious brands like Patagonia and Finisterre. As far as big brands I have always been a Vans man.
As far as surfers go I have a lot of time for Rob Machado, watching movies of him surf has always motivated me to get out there and try different stuff on different boards. Big fan of Dave Rastavich too.
Whats the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
You will get knocked down and it will hurt but you have to keep going and eventually it will all be worth while. Its cheesy I know but it has been so hard getting this off the ground it has felt like swimming against a tide of treacle at times but its all good now.
You shape some lovely looking surfboards, are you self taught and how’d you get into that?
A about 12 years ago a friend converted his parents garage into a pretty decent shaping bay. We started making board there and it just carried on from there. I hand shaped for about 10 years with all my friends having to suffer my early attempts at shaping. I gradually started to understand more and more and refined a few designs over the years. When I started Fellow I though I’d get a few shapes in the shop so I work with the guys over at Laminations to produce the shapes via their machine and finishing skills.
Whats been the favourite shape you’ve made so far and what would you like to make next?
The board called ‘Teaspoon’ is by far the best board I have ever shaped. In my humblest opinion and without wanting to sound conceited it is definitely the best single fin I have ever ridden. It has drive off the bottom and is super smooth and speedy through turns. I love it. I wish more people could ride it and maybe it just might change the way people think about single fins a little.
What are a few of your favourite surf or skate movies?
I love the classics like ‘The Morning of The Earth’ that film was a massive inspiration for me. I love ‘Sprout’ too.
Last great pub you frequented and why?
I live in Falmouth so I am lucky that there are so many good watering holes here. Beerwolf and Hand are my faves though. Both spots are always super fun, have great beers and everyone is so friendly. Love ‘em.