By way of skateboarding, Pete Williams got into streetwear and has been blogging about it for years. He’s also the founder of popular Canadian streetwear brand Raised by Wolves. Here’s what he had to say about his work at legendary lifestyle blogs and how labels can stay relevant.
By Ben Pobjoy
How did you start blogging about fashion?
I wanted to start a brand and ended up spending a good amount of time online checking out what other brands were doing out there, the ones pushing beyond just skateboarding. Around that time, Hypebeast launched and the founder Kevin Ma, was looking for help and I started contributing. A few years down the road, I wanted a more full-time job and ended up at Highsnobiety.
How long have you been working for Highsnobiety?
I’ve been at Highsnobiety for over five years and I am now the Editor-in-Chief. The headquarters are in Berlin. I manage the day-to-day operations in the North American time zone, head the print magazine as well as work on product releases and social media initiatives.
What did you learn from reporting on fashion? And what does it take for a streetwear brand to gain traction and sustain its cultural momentum?
Working as an editor within the streetwear world put me in touch with a ton of designers who gave me the confidence to push forward with my own label. One of the biggest things I took away from reporting on the market was to stay true to your vision. I think that’s the real magic of a brand that gains traction and cultural momentum: being a unique presence in a crowded place. The more you tap into trends the more you’ll blend in and go unnoticed.
At some point you decided to found your own streetwear brand. What inspired you to take the leap?
As I mentioned, I got into streetwear through wanting to start a brand. I didn’t really know the streetwear industry existed beyond skate brands until I started doing research and discovered all the Japanese labels like BAPE, WTAPS, NBHD, etc. I felt I could do something similar from a Canadian stance: doing high-quality garments inspired by subcultural references I grew up with so skateboarding, hardcore/punk, hip-hop, etc.
How is Raised By Wolves different from what’s out there?
Raised by Wolves is very focused on North American/Canadian manufacturing, which is a big difference from most Canadian/American brands that would be labelled streetwear. Initially one of our principles was “the strength of the wolf is in the pack.” So we looked to work with the best manufacturers we could within Canada and the USA and with likeminded designers and artists on products and collaborations.
What’s your day-to-day like at Raised By Wolves?
Wearing 10 hats at once.
What are the challenges of starting a streetwear brand in Canada?
Although there are some great local manufacturers we work with, they are few and far between. Canada is pretty low on the global fashion totem pole, so you need to make a lot of noise to get noticed.
Anything exciting coming up?
We worked with Crescent Down Works on an amazing down vest, made in Seattle. It’s one of the most expensive pieces we’ve done but it’s also one of my favourites. It feels on par with the type of Japanese clothing that inspired me to get into this in the first place.
instagram.com/petewilliams / raisedbywolves.ca
Photo by Rupert Lamontagne