Alexander Nicholas Turner, or ‘Ali T’ as he is more commonly known, is a graphic designer and owner of Liverpool based streetwear brand ‘No Mind Collective’. Following internships with various brands and companies, the last being Umbro, he decided to try and pave his own way in the competitive world of streetwear, harnessing the skills picked up through his previous design roles and utilising the often neglected luxuries that come with youth: creative energy, time and a devil-may-care attitude. No Mind Collective is a brand with a bold identity that is individual in its appeal and unique in style. We sat down with Ali T in his Merseyside studio to find out a little more about the man in question.
Primarily a graphic designer, and with a stream of requests to create artwork for others, he describes his garments as “very graphic heavy”, often favouring a wonderfully abstract aesthetic. We asked about his processes and influences when designing his garments, and looking back over his projects his replies seem obvious. He described No Mind as “Streetwear clothing inspired by loads of subcultures: Punk, hip-hop, rave and skate culture and various other themes & interests that I’m into”. A common theme identifiable throughout each is the nature of striving for success by being true to yourself and creating openings to stand out from the rest, a sense that can be felt when wearing the brand. The detailing in the designs draw people to them; the confidence found in the person wearing them comes from the personal appreciation of and connection with each design. As with any piece there has to be a sort of imprint at first but it is due to the vast amount of detail in each piece that makes the No Mind look books seem so attractive.
Inspiration for Ali T began in his formative years in Manchester. Nights would be spent at raves whilst days spent around like minded young people who “dress well and don't really give a fuck”. It is easy to see that No Mind is heavily aimed towards these individuals, “People who are out there creating their own shit”. A brand that wants to connect but also break away from the ordinary and generic. Like many of our generation do,] the Los Angeles rap collective ‘Odd Future’, gave the first substantial introduction into the world of streetwear. Perhaps a virtue of Ali T's individualistic approach to his brand stems from their unconventional approach, and disregard for those critical of them: “I remember seeing them and just thinking these geezers are fucking barmy man”.
His designs however show no evident influence, often using dark colours to provide a strong contrast with primary ones.
Typography can affect how people react and interact with a piece. Careful selection mixed with consistent use of a chosen typeface can be just as important in typography as the use of graphics to a design. Ali T evidently realises the importance of this art form. A gritty use of typography is used in the ‘flames’ design, which depicts the text ‘No Mind' engulfed in flames. The method is used as a starting point in some cases, giving something that the rest of the design can feed off and build around. With some pieces typography is the entire design. Typefaces like that seen in the flames design can be traced back to Ali’s early influences, being in a hardcore band and somewhat of a “little goth”, it is clear to see how that has evolved and influenced his work today. Extremely stylised, gothic and cult like in most cases these early themes are extremely prominent in the brands image. “I love all this cult shit man, not just the look, but the idea of people blindly following some mad ideology. It’s scary to think shit like that is actually happening.”
The brand image of No Mind is kept very personal and down to earth. Not taking things too seriously is paramount to the brands Ali T's philosophy, posting memes or funny photos which further this light hearted take on the industry. Evidence of this laid back personal approach is seen in the ‘about’ page on the No Mind website. Instead of a brand statement on how amazing and sophisticated they are, for this section Ali T says “I’ve just listed a load of crazy words that inspire me, so; Stella Artois, White socks, fried chicken, UKG, Boneless banquets, Black Sabbath, Jeff Mills, Jeff Gills, Jeff Pills, Snow Leopards, Phil Mitchell, Nokia 3310, Ozzie Osborne’s life span…” just to name a few.
Ali by no means lacks ambition: “This is just a starting step… I’d love to get more artists involved, No Mind is a collective, for anyone out there who’s wanting to get involved.”Ali T pictures branching out into the female market, a move he believes will open up a variety of different creative avenues. The female form is something he admires greatly. Also eventually putting on exhibitions, music events and collaborating with a number of other brands, artists and musicians.
The passion that Ali T has for his brand never fades whether its deep into a house party or cycling into his studio, that looks over Invisible Wind Factory’s smoking area, in the early hours of the morning. Since splitting ways with his friend and former partner who now works for Vice in Amsterdam No Mind has been Ali T’s baby, and it’s fair to say that it has had a growth spurt. There is much more to come from this young company and there is no predicting what that will entail. That is other than the guarantee of an ever evolving set of themed drops and a dreamed collaboration with Home Bargains.
Check out the latest drop from No Mind, available now from the link below!
Store - https://nomindcollective.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/nomindcollective/
Worn by the likes of OG Maco and Lunar C, PALM have been consistent with their message and approach to design since the brands conception in 2016. ‘People Aren’t Like Me’ is a testament to individualism; it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you can wear these clothes. We sat down with the humble and creative mind behind these designs, Elliot Hennessy.
After talking to Elliot for 2 minutes it becomes clear what he wants PALM to be: “I want my clothes to be worn by anyone, I want them to be incorporated into a punk rockers fit on a Tuesday or be worn as loungewear by a business man on a Sunday”. It’s clear the goal of transcending styles is one taken seriously by the brand, with glossy bomber jackets and snow camouflage hoodies both featuring in their most recent drop. The PALM community consist of a wide range of individuals rocking the clothes; from Fifa youtuber 'Burnt Chip' who regularly wears them in his youtube videos, to British grime artist Kamakaze, who Elliot credits as the person who gave the brand their first big break. If that wasn't enough Elliot recounts seeing his clothes in a range of different environments, from a Derby County supporters pub, pre game, to the red camp at Leeds fest 2016. It's clear that this goal, in part, plays into why Elliot sees a collaboration with Nike as a benchmark of success: “Nike's so versatile man, anyone can wear it, I find that so sick”. It's clear that monetary success has never been the goal for PALM, the first hats manufactured when he started the brand back in 2016 never got released. “I was so gassed to get these hats, I was in London so I got my brother to pick them up. He rang me up and was saying they look sick, as soon as he sent the photos I knew this wasn't what i wanted my brand to be” It has never been and never will be about the money or about the amount of clothes sold, PALM has a vision which they have stuck to from the very start and don't plan on changing it any time soon.
We asked about the personal touch PALM has. A quick look at their Instagram page shows the life of a creative who wants to keep things casual. Posting stories in a way you’d expect someone to do on their personal account to friends. “There isn't really any brand where you know the people running it, their mindset and where they wanna take it. My captions are me talking, it means you can see the brands progression when you scroll through the palm feed. With palm, if you followed today you would know who I am and would know the direction I wanna take the brand in with a quick flick through”. He’s right, the personal touch brings something to PALM that other brands simply fail to do, even smaller brands are quick to keep everything uber professional. Its nice to have a relationship with a brand that goes further than a simple transaction of money and goods, its different.
We got on to the topic of influencers expecting the obvious, Palace, Nigo, Supreme etc etc. We were wrong. Rather than hearing clothing brands or designers, Elliot listed only American hip hop artists “Mac Miller, Kid Cudi, Kanye West 100% - Kanye west in every stage, from late registration to yeezus” I suspect that rather than being materially influenced by these individuals, Elliot borrows from their individualistic approach. Throughout all three vast discography's there remains a constant; all three artists promote the message of being who you want to be.
The individualist approach favoured by these artists runs deep throughout PALM. “it doesn't matter what other people think of your garms, be yourself. My whole ethos is that you’re not strange, everyone's a fucking weirdo, because we are all weird in our own way we are all the same.” This militant view on the entitlement to self expression doesn't come with it a view that others aren't allowed to question your style. Elliot is a firm believer that everyone is entitled to critique a style, or a piece of clothing. If you take that to heart its a problem for you to deal with. In fact, Elliot welcomes the criticism “disagreeing is actually a good thing, if you think my clothes are shit and i think yours are too, than perfect, we are going to have a good conversation about it”. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is just talk, but this mentality clearly plays out in his relationship with his dad. Later, we asked Elliot if his parents understood what he was doing and if they liked the brand, Elliot replied with a fond look on his face: “My dad hates the clothes I wear. He still has absolutely no idea why anyone would buy the clothes I make, it's funny, I like going downstairs ready to go to the football and hearing him say 'i’m not going anywhere with you looking like that’ I do the exact same to him, that's the whole point of PALM, be who you want to be and if someone doesn't rate it than that's absolutely fine, I’d be far more concerned if my dad liked the clothes I wore and made to be honest”.
Designing clothes isn’t an easy task, especially when refusing to follow paths already laid for you. Inspiration for Elliot comes from all sources, most of which are subtle. Whether it’s the problems in the natural world; culminating in his desire to create a "stop PALM oil" hoodie, or simply wanting to show support for small businesses who have helped Elliot mould PALM into the brand it is today, the outcome is always the same - a versatile, clean garment. Having sole creative control allows his mind to run away with what he feels is right, designs are never fixed until they’re made. A complete remodelling may occur in the early hours of the morning. Elliot is not afraid to criticise his own work and make changes, anything less than perfect will not be accepted.
Keep your eyes peeled for the PALM S/S 19 drop, featured in photos, coming June 2019.