Recently we got the chance to catch up with Mega from the SF founded brand ‘Black Scale’. The brand has only been around a relatively short time if you compare them to their contemporaries, and already has a number of retail stores, including one in Japan.
What sets Black Scale apart form most is the consistent and recognisable image of the brand, the satanic images, elaborate designs, and the startlingly good range of cut n sew.
Most people jump to the occult to try explain the brand but Mega says it’s actually to do with balance. Black isn’t a colour it’s the absence of all colour, and so when you find your way in life you’re adding your own colour. In their own words: “For every positive there is a negative. For every day there is a night. It is the continual balance of energy in the universe that we materialise in the form of Black Scale”
To say they’re in a good place is an understatement, with a full collection that includes everything form tees the headwear to cut n sew to accessories they also have the aforementioned retail stores, global accounts and collaborations with A$AP Rocky and Gourmet under their belts.
I’m excited to see where the brand is headed next, and was excited to get the chance to ask Mega more about it.
Hi Mega, how you doing?
Hello ladies and gentlemen. I’m doing well, Thank You for asking.
How did Black Scale start?
Black Scale started 6 years ago in San Francisco and this Black Friday coming up in late November will be our 6th year anniversary. It started as a t-shirt line and we sold it at HUF where I used to work. Keith Hufnagel (Pro Skater, Owner of HUF) asked if I ever thought about starting a brand and that was the start of Black Scale.
For some reason I always thought you were an LA brand, but thats not correct is it?
Black Scale started in the city of San Francisco. Many people think we are from Los Angeles and I think because I was living in Los Angeles at the time the brand started growing and getting more noticed.
How big is your operation now? Including store employees?
We have 42 employees with the company now and growing. 80% of those employees are full time which is really rad and we hope to grow that number in the near future.
I think the first time you appeared on my radar was when you had a store within a store at SSUR. Was that your first retail operation?
Ssur and us got together to open a collaboration store in New York and it’s called BLVCK SSVR +. It was not a in shop in store situation. Russ and us wanted to open something new and work together to help each others brands grow for both New York and the entire world to see. It’s been a blessing to grow with each other because I have been following Russ artwork and brand for a very long time and to work with someone I truly love and respect in this game has been a dram come true. This was our 2nd store we opened. San Francisco was the first store.
How many stores have you got now? You just opened in Japan right?
We have 4 stores now and Tokyo being the newest store we just opened in September. We are also working on our 5th store coming Spring/Summer 2014. We will spoil the surprise just yet but it will open in USA.
For you, and for Black Scale, how essential is having a retail store? Do you feel the need for the customer to experience the brand in a controlled, contextual environment?
I came from retail and I was very fortunate to learn retail from one of the illest stores to ever bless this industry and culture. The people who I learned from was the perfect team to learn from in that era of sneaker heads, streetwear, skaters and people who truly loved clothing. Having a retail store is very important for us and it’s a key component to our business. When you come into our retail stores you see the full collection, the people behind the brand and learning about the brand from our staff. The feel of coming I to the store is very important and to really understand our story can be told in all our spaces of retail.
I really liked your collaboration with Gourmet, how did that come about?
I went to visit the Gourmet crew to say hello to both Jon Buscemi and Greg Lucci. It was always great to visit them at there West Hollywood office and grab coffee, smoke cigs and just get inspired by these two amazing characters. They always put me on some new wave shit they had brewing and boom the cactus leather was introduced to me and we made it happen right then and there. Italian leather with two Italian dudes that knew Italian product. It was a great project to work on and those guys basically gave me that shoe because they felt it was the perfect fit for our brands to collab on.
I’ve heard you’re doing another shoe with them that’s going to be yellow snakeskin. That sounds bezerk!
It’s actually orange snakeskin and it comes in a pack with another shoe but will keep that on a hush since someone already leaked out info on the orange snakeskins. How dare they leak that. Just kidding. I’m very stoked on that orange snakeskin because it will not only be on the 35 runner but we added some new details that doesn’t normally come with that shoe.
I know you’re being constantly (incorrectly) referred to as a street goth brand, when you clearly aren’t, is it frustrating having to deal with that mis representation on a daily basis?
Yes it’s frustrating. We are not anything close to that. That’s a made up stupid term someone come up with and thought it was cool. It’s actually not that cool to be called a “street goth” brand. That doesn’t exist in our industry. That’s more of a Rick Owens, Boris Bijan, Julius and Damir Doma lane. Those guys are on another level and people have to realize that those brands create what they create because that’s who they really are and not because it’s trend. “street goth” is trend. We don’t do anything that follows trend to make a quick buck. We are always going to be true to ourselves because we truly know to follow the vision we had for Black Scale since day 1.
Where do you see streetwear heading now?
It’s large and it’s only going to grow larger. It’s pretty crazy how big some brands are now. Some of these brands are pretty insane with the growth they managed.
How much of an impact do you think blackscvle has had on the output from en noir and some of the more ‘high fashion’ streetwear brands?
Honestly I don’t think I have had any impact on En Noir or any High Fashion brands out. We can’t reinvent the wheel so we create using the tools the past laid out for us. If I have impacted them great but I wouldn’t know how because we always did our own thing.
What’s next for you guys? Where do you go from here?
Spring/Summer 2014. New Black Scale store coming. Women’s VV Collection designed by Kim Matulova. A change from the normal black out aesthetic to share the other sides of Black Scale and most importantly the artists and big corp collaborations we have coming in 2014.