Recently, we were lucky enough to catch up with Melbourne locals ICHPIG to talk about their brand history and what’s next for the local skate style purveyors.
THX: How did Ichpig come about?
ICH: So, I actually own Ichpig with my younger brother Alex, we were living in Japan 09’, 10’ and I learnt to crochet beanies. Living in a snow- town instructing a snowboarding class. I worked with an older lady who was making beanies, she charged $40. I started making them all for free for my mates, I always wanted to start a snowboard company but when Alex got involved he suggested a hoodie, we rolled with that and focused less on snowboarding and focused on apparel. We were going to be called one pig but chose the Japanese word for one instead – Ich. We moved back to Melbourne and I continued to make beanies, we also made crewnecks because we didn’t know how to construct hoods haha. All products were made to order, we didn’t carry “dead stock”, we had the stock but only made them when we had the order for our friends. We purchased my mums garage for $500 and all, jumped in. We went to Canada a couple times beforehand as well as a few places over seas but this was alexs first trip. Snow style came to Melbourne with our long cuts, and it really started popping off.
THX: So, Ich = One and Pig = Pig… But where did the name actually come from?
ICH: In a way the pig was the hunger, never give up. A relentless progression fueled by ones hunger. Ich = one = Self, pig = not stopping, addicted to the progression.
THX: Who makes up ICHPIG?
ICH: Myself and Alex are the owners but we’ve got a fair bit of help. One of our longtime customers, his name is Liam and he randomly kind of came to pick up a hood we made him, I was under the pump and needed some help and he jumped straight in, he ran custom products for a while and now he helps Alex out with design. AJ is good value, he was a guy I always knew of and saw about and then suddenly he started buying off us and then one day, I don’t know what happened. He helped us at a sneaker Freaker swap meet and I think it kinda led us to saying we kinda need help – running the store, dispatching the orders. It use to be all us from design to shipping. We needed help and it’s gotten to the stage now where this is his job, he lives off it, we’re potentially about to get a new guy on – Tom who’s going to help document the process. When you take a step a back and you look at what we’re doing, it’s amazing how fast it is and how much we do on a day to day basis and he’s here for that. There’s not that much time nowadays to step back and document things.
THX: What makes ICHPIG different (Melbourne made etc)?
ICH: I think there’s obviously things that come out in the wash. But for me it would be we are a company that actually gives a fuck. We’re still in Melbourne, we could have taken things off shore but we didn’t. I don’t think it’s right that the whole game runs off exploitation, the whole thing is predicated on people working $2 a day, no paid overtime. That’s one thing that when I say we actually give a shit that’s one thing people agree with. We talk directly with our customers, we listen to feedback, sort out problems, communicate and look after people. Classic example, a customer received a faulty tee the other day, rather then getting shitty, he contacted us, we replaced the tee with a perfect one, sent it to him with a reply paid parcel and he sent us back the tee, were not gunna turn around and say nah fuck you man, deal with it. I still remember walking down Smith st, $1000 in hand to buy stock. We know our manufacturers, were now friends. It’s honest, we try to create our own market instead of fitting into one.
THX: What started as a Tee’s and Hoodie’s is now a whole seasonal line; Balaclavas, socks, jocks, decks. Did you ever see it getting to the place it is?
ICH: Not sure, I guess for us when we started this I was 21 and my brother was 19. That’s all we wore, tees and hoodies. As we grew up styles changed and you need different clothes. We always wanted to wear everything Ichpig. As you grow you open your eyes to expanding and trying new things. We really went for it last year, we put emphasis on making stuff on shore rather then overseas. Even our jocks, people come back to us with nothing but good news, we shifted some seam lines, we made them on shore. We’ve had people say their more comfy than Calvin Klein and to us hearing that it’s amazing, they solve a problem.
THX: When did you decide to start taking it seriously?
ICH: We always took it seriously, always , always , always . Even when we were in the garage making $100 a week. I quit my job 2 years in and a lot of people thought that was crazy, but it was always taken serious.
THX: Favourite piece you’ve ever dropped?
ICH: Water proof camo joggers were sick, storm jacket a few seasons back was sick. There was black grey white and teal, that jacket was better then a north face, ive got one still. Those things are bomb proof. They were $480, before we were well known, it was a bit of an amazing moment when customers purchased, they still come up to me saying they’re still rocking them.
THX: What’s next for ICHPIG?
ICH: Skate parks getting worked on pretty heavily, trying to get that built – I like skating and so does AJ, I feel like Melbourne is a bit of a Mecca for skating, I found it hard to believe that there was no where in Melbourne close to the city that was designed properly and run by real people. My friends have always spoken about imagining somewhere we can go to do what we want, rain hail or shine and still have somewhere to skate. It makes my life easier, I just go downstairs to skate now haha, it’s crazy to think that we’re the people who can do that now. There’s a shitload of new proddy rolling into Christmas including our collaboration with Australian local Spillzay, the Vacay collection will be out this week.