Designer Nathaniel Pearce aka Peep talks the Goorin design world
Q: What has your Goorin journey looked like? // A: Journey is a good word, as it has been in a great way. I’ve been into wearing hats, and a lot of them, for as long as I can remember. Hard to say if I found Goorin or if Goorin found me back in 2011, but that’s not the important part. *We’ll get to that in a second. I started in the Gaslamp Shop, San Diego, California selling hats part time. I quickly noticed that there was a lot of opportunity to not only grow within the business aspect of Goorin, but as well as the opportunities of how hats genuinely create connections with ‘us’ allowing for interesting things to happen. It’s important to remain open to exploring the possibilities. It wasn’t long before I quit my other full-time job and went all in. I was promoted to the Shop Keeper of the Gaslamp location in 2012 and had a blast every single day slinging hats and building relationships with a great team of individuals. I’m happy to say that a chunk of that team has moved on from the Gaslamp sales floor and are still making big waves within Goorin. Those were pivotal years, we cut our teeth together, and it’s always felt like family here.
Q: As a designer, what’s a ‘typical’ day look like? // A: Nothing typical about a new day to be discovered. Eyes Open, Mind Open, Heart Open … eight days a week. Using inspiration is just as important as creating it. Whether for the creator or the recipient, good design should leave one with a special feeling as well as fill a void left open, as often as possible. That’s the goal and often at times it takes more than a day to accomplish this. Enjoy the process, share it with others, be honest with yourself, and stay busy.
Q: Walk us through your design process! // A: It really depends on what the end result is intended to be. What is it exactly that we’re trying to accomplish as a brand? Understanding that is always helpful, and then you can often begin to work backwards from there. I can never deny the importance of a good brainstorm with the team, other colleagues, friends, and customers alike. I am comfortable and confident in my process of what I would like to see happen personally, but I’m aware that certain opportunities are not about my personal tastes. There’s great value with including others in the design process to gain a broader view of the bigger picture before it’s been accomplished. It allows you to see the future in a way, keeping others in mind, in every effort to achieve something that’s destined for success. I’m always building mood boards of inspiration to have available for reference. Now, if a design is entirely up to me, there’s a good chance that it will be aspirational. I like to challenge myself as well as others to explore the unfamiliar or uncomfortable and get adventurous. Getting funky with it is easy, and I’m forever down to go there. However, being able to look at fundamental staples behind a fresh lens can be just as aspirational.
Q: Where do you pull inspiration from? // A: Music is always a given. I wake up and press play. Music to me is a must, it’s a heartbeat to work with. Respectfully, there are two types of music… Good Music, and Bad Music. However, if I could only listen to one genre for the rest of my days? Jazz. I brush my teeth to Coltrane. Mother Nature is pretty crucial too. There’s a lot to be found in getting lost. Whether visual stimulation regarding color stories that ‘naturally’ work together or having the opportunity to clear your head; Mother Nature delivers. Even the patina that Mother Nature contributes to the urban environments of city life is also important to recognize. Layers of peeling paint textures that reveal what’s beneath; rust and oxidation along the coastline ... me and Mom, we’re good. City life is equally important because of the people. Whereas Mother Nature affects the environment, the people interact with it. People are inspiring. Find a good place to post up and observe the city move around and tell me what you discover. If you don’t find some inspiration here, then check for a pulse. It’s organic and grimy at times, but it’s real. I stated previously that I’m always building mood boards to reference as a way of cataloging inspiration. It feels more like a task if we ‘have to’ find inspiration, and I find it feels best when experienced in the moment, not hunted down.Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a part of the design team? // A: That’s an easy one. Staying connected with people and building as a team. Trust your intuition, but find the value in requesting feedback from others, especially when you trust them. I enjoy being a team player. There’s nothing wrong about not agreeing with everything in the beginning, so long as you work together towards a common success in the end. Ask honest questions; give honest answers. We all grow from this. I’m a bit of a cheerleader too, so it feels good to be able to celebrate the successes of folks that you build with or who inspires you.
Q: What has been some of your favorite designs you’ve seen come to life? // A: It seems like this answer is forever changing. This would be more of an ‘our’ favorite designs answer as of recent but, the Core Classic blocks. As a heritage brand we’ve all worked hard to understand what continues to deliver best for our customers and fans over the years. A lot of time has gone in to discovering the best of the best, and we nail it. Our customers know what to look forward to with us, and that’s awesome. Don’t get it twisted, we have plenty of surprises in the pipeline as well. For me personally, it’s like painting, and my favorite design is what I’m currently working on or just finished. I really enjoy the process.
Q: How often does your original idea take a 180 into something else completely? // A: Stay open to change as you’ll be better for it. However, it’s just as important to begin with intent as it is to end with it. I wouldn’t say that anything ever changes into something entirely different. If anything, a design is completed based on what it’s supposed to be, and perhaps cut or moved into a different drop, but everything is well thought out based on intent. Perhaps an aspirational style may go through a shift in direction as this is an area that can allow you to get loose with it, but tighten that puppy up, make it dope, and it still ends up being what it was intended to be. A fresh hat.
Q: What collection or handful of styles are you most excited for that’s in the works? // A: We’re about to find out, together. I love a good surprise. It’s always about what’s next in the process, and who’s on board to represent these with us that stays exciting. The Farm momentum and buzz, especially this past year, has been exciting to witness for sure and it’s going to continue to deliver. Looking ahead into Summer of next year though, we have some new Life of Leisure vibes in the works. A vacation for your head.Q: Any hints on color stories or fabrics to be on the lookout for before the end of the year? // A: Abraham Moon Fabrics, hand dyed Batik linings, color pops, new shapes, Winter 2021 Cut & Sew! Feeling Good. Looking Good. See you there.
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