It's not because the Empire Apparel collection bears our signature that we give it less love than any other brand, in fact, it's quite the opposite. Under the direction of our in-house designer Souk Kham, our latest collection has everything a renowned brand’s collection has, and even more.
Photos © Vanessa G. Baker
Quality, simplicity, style, passion and comfort are our designer's main inspirations. With a lot of work and efforts, she came through with a clothing line that can worn in any situation, chic or casual.
We talked with Souk to find out more about what's behind the new Empire collection, specifically for the new t-shirts and hoodies.
Interview with Souk
So, t-shirts and hoodies! Are you satisfied with the result?
Yes, I'm satisfied with the result! As a perfectionist, I still have a few things I'd like to improve for the next collection. Even if it's only t-shirts and hoodies, for me, these are pieces that we wear every day, so it's important to develop a good fit and comfort. I can't wait to see the reviews. For me, they represent a guide to improve my products.
What was your goal when you started working on these pieces?
To have a good quality. I wanted it to be pieces that people love and come back to buy.
What's particular about these t-shirts and hoodies from our shop brand?
It is an identity, people usually wear products because they love the brand. These are easy to buy items that we all want in our wardrobes.
A great effort has been deployed regarding the choice of materials. How did you find and select your suppliers?
By contact that was given to me or through my travels. I have tested the suppliers by asking them to manufacture 3-4 products, then they send me samples and I can examin their capacities and quality. I evaluate their products, then I make my choice. It was not easy. Sometimes, the simplest pieces are the most complicated to make. This t-shirts and hoodies collection was a big challenge because this is what is the most in demand.
If you could describe the new Empire collection in a nutshell, what would you say?
I would say it's an embryonic collection. There are several products we have never had before. Entering a new team that did not know me and that I did not know and develop with them a way of working to have a beautiful line in our image was also a challenge. We had to learn from each other to make sure we had the same vision. All this takes a long time to develop, whether it's for the products or the relationships between us.
Compared to the old collections, it seems that this one is more purified, simpler. Is simplicity a direction for the collection?
Quality is our new direction. I inspect everything, from the sewing to the last button. Not always easy! For every product I receive, I have it worn by collegues for 2-3 days and I wash it at least 3 times to be sure that the quality is within my expectations. It's not always easy to have a top notch quality but I work hard for it! As the new collection is embryonic, I take all the comments to improve the product as much as possible with my suppliers.
In addition to simplicity and quality, what inspired you to make this collection?
Our people, our clientele, the skate and snow world. To find myself in this environment is very inspiring because these people are passionate and that makes me passionnate too!
What are the future Empire clothing collections reserving us.
I intend to develop more technical products. Evolve in quality and image. To be as good or better than the other brands. It's a lot of work, but were getting there!