New Tone Studios is a fledgeling label creating streetwear for anyone and everyone – including your favourite rappers. The brand is known for intricate designs on loungewear classics and accessories, as well as the hosting of many a sell-out pop-up store which are always received with praise and hysteria. Owner Bijan Celani joined CULTED to talk through garment creation, enjoying success before going mainstream, and where the next popup will be.
Hey Bijan, could you please introduce yourself and your brand to our audience? Who are you, what do you do, and what are you trying to build?
I run a lifestyle brand called New Tone Studios. Clothes, music, and parties are pretty much the entities that make up my life, so I found a way to merge those worlds together and put a name to it. We’re curating our own universe through design. New Tone Studios takes the form of anything that exemplifies innovation. New feelings, new sounds, new experiences. I always think of the clothing as merch for the actual bigger picture of the brand. We’re designing a whole lifestyle, not just clothing.
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It appears you’ve hosted a few events – Dank Mart, 88GLAM, and so on – how excited are you for the world to open up again so you can get back to this? For your next pop-ups or events, have you got any plans in mind?
We just wrapped up this pop-up at Dank Mart over the weekend and that was crazy… I’ve never seen that many people come out to a streetwear pop-up in Vancouver in my whole life. I love doing popups and parties, it’s the easiest way for me to interact with the people that are buying my clothes, and you get to see the lifestyle in real time. It’s just so much good energy. We’re ready to take these vibes all over the world. Japan and Toronto are the two places I’m focused on right now for popups, just based off the relationships I have with people in those places.
Where are you channeling inspiration from when you’re creating garments? Things you’d want to wear, people in your life, aspirations and so on, or are your inspirations more fluid than that?
I just design clothes that I feel like I can put on every day and never get sick of. I want my pieces to be that thing you reach for every morning when you’re getting dressed to leave the house…like a uniform when you’re going to work. That feeling you get when you know you’re wearing an angel on your back made of 3000 crystals should make you feel untouchable. As far as inspirations go, I really just be getting inspired by things I hate. It’s weird, but the more I scroll on social media or walk into stores to browse shelves, I realize more and more what I don’t want to create or put out into the world. I’m an extreme optimist, but pessimism gives me clarity.
With 3,300 followers on IG your brand has been spotted on some of the biggest names in rap but remains underground for many – what’s the process of getting your garments on these guys, from JuiceWRLD to Mosey and Post Malone?
I cherish being underground because I know it won’t be like that forever. I prioritize art over digital engagement, which is hard to do in the world we live in now, but when people come to our Instagram I want them to be able to feel the whole lifestyle behind New Tone and how I really live. Not just a bunch of product photos and advertisements. Real art always wins so I’m not too stressed about a follower count. Seeing different artists wear my shit is crazy because it’s always 100% organic and never no paid placements. We don’t have that type of budget to work with. We’re literally just in the streets with it trying to put as many people on as we can. Most of the relationships I’ve made have been in real life just meeting people backstage at concerts and parties. Sometimes I’ll give an artist clothes at an after party and then 2 months later see a picture of them rocking it in a whole other country. It’s fire. We’re at a good point now though, where when people come to the city they know to tap in with us and visit our showroom when they’re out here. Celebrities wearing the clothes is cool and I’m forever grateful, but I get way more hyped going to the mall or the club and seeing random kids just wearing one of our pieces walking around. That shit is so hard.
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Looking forward, what’s to come in the latter half of 2021? Should we expect anything in particular from the brand?
Way more parties, clothes, and collabs… I want to do a world tour of popups and parties all over the world. Japan, Toronto, LA, New York, Egypt…etc. I think I’m subconsciously aiming to emulate that old Been Trill/Pyrex energy into everything I do… I lived through that era through social media, and I think that young, not giving a fuck, type energy is missing right now in streetwear. We’re going to bring that back.