Collaboration forms the bedrock of Paria and our focus on the cycling market whether this be with our teams and riders, our supplier base or supporting wider community initiatives. A huge element of this has been the designers we have worked with, and the brands we dial into from both a product and design aesthetic.
We've been lucky enough to work with Abandon Ship Apparel
for a capsule collection across our winter and summer kit, seeing the design talents of Rich Davies
adorn our cycling gear. His zero fks style, messaging and overall attitude fits well with the essence of what we stand for.
We had a little chat with Rich, and thought you'd like to eavesdrop...
So...what’s your name and where do you come from
Hola Aguacate, my name is Rich, I am the owner of Abandon Ship Apparel, Work for Idle Hands, Abandon Ship Bar,
The Luchador Bar and the artist behind Abandon Ship Art. I come from Dundee, Scotland but currently live in Glasgow with my wife and 2 puggles.
Tell us a little bit about you and your background - what was your path to design glory?
I will keep it brief, just the keynotes; I worked in retail most of my adult life as a store manager for a ton of high street brands, then a decade ago after a few pints and being fed up of my day job I started Abandon Ship Apparel with my best friend Duncan with £300 and a dot com. Within 3 years we were turning over 1.2 million and just before our 5th birthday we went into liquidation. I bought the brand back from liquidators and started from scratch again in 2016. For the first half of the business (and since I dropped out of art college) I hadn't drawn anything really. After the stress and upheaval of the end/rebirth of the brand I picked up a pencil again as a distraction and over the next year I just kept drawing and creating until by the end of 2016 I was the main artist for the brand I had owned for 6 years. I was lucky to have that platform to develop my skills and refine what I was creating. Prior to designing myself I relied on other artists to create my concepts, and although they made amazing work, it was never what I had in my head. So finally channeling an idea from my brain and letting it fall onto the page was a real pleasure and probably the main reason I have continued to work and design in the apparel industry over the last few years.
Now I create large wall murals for clients and my own spaces as well as draw most days primarily for my businesses but also for other people and love creating new product concepts or taking things too far.
What are your influences - what drives you?
My main driver is creating. I love having an idea and bringing it to life. Whether that is a tshirt design, a backpack or a bar concept
. My brain constantly churns out dumb ideas and concepts and I just want to make them a reality. In recent years I realised that collaborating and sharing concepts with others has helped me to really explore all avenues of my creative energy. Without the team and my business partner the bars wouldn't exist but I bring an energy to them that is unique.
Influences come from anywhere, I make notes in my phone when I see something that makes me think, or have a weird dream with an idea or just think of a phrase that might work for something later. A lot of my work is heavily influenced by traditional tattoo art and classic woodcut techniques but I love delving into other concepts too.
Where would you never go (given you go most places)
Backwards. I think a lot of people dwell on past mistakes but I just try to power on. I am blissed with the life I live and without all the dumb fuckery and self created misery or people taking advantage and being arseholes I wouldn't be here. Every mistake is a lesson. Every stumble is a reason to pick yourself up. If anything I live so much in the "Whats next" I should probably visit the present a bit more often!
Why did you open a bar in lock down?
Because I am an idiot! No honestly it is because I saw an opportunity. The space we took on for the Luchador
(new agave and South American inspired venue in Glasgow) had been on the market prior to lockdown and I remember sending the link to my business partner in March but we were so focused on other stuff it was forgotten about. The space was around the corner from where I was living and I just had a feeling about it. We realised that during lockdown we were probably going to get an advantageous deal on the property and would have time to renovate it and give it a new lease of life. So in July 2020 we got the keys and went to work. Now 8 months later it hasn't opened yet but I truly believe once the world reopens it will be primed and do so well. I think it was the right choice and having a new creative venue will be great for the area. We are actually taking on the new Abandon Ship Bar Glasgow venue in April 2021 so obviously not learned anything from the experience!
What grinds your gears in fashion
Maybe I have mellowed in my older years but honestly I do not care much beyond what I am working on. It is a fools game to get mad at what your peers are doing. Focus on you and the changes you want to make. I think social media has made it too easy to hate and get angry about other peoples shit. To form opinions based on half truths and think you know everything. I know fuck all and I am happy to keep it that way.
What would your dream colabs - or product design be?
I really want to make suiting. Like crazy balls to the wall suits and full outfits. Something is in the works but lockdown got in the way. Thats the dream though. As I get older I find myself looking more towards that kind of stuff rather than just tshirts.
One piece of cycling kit you would design?
Would be rad to design a weird helmet / mask thing that looks intense and just makes people look wild when they cycle past you in the street...
One piece of cycling kit you wished you owned?
I just want a pair of the cycling shorts with our collaboration design
on them. Think I'd look cute in them.