When a brand runs by the motto ‘you’re not safe because of the absence of danger, but because of the presence of protection’, you know its ties run deep.
Protection At All Costs (PAAC) is a brand that realises nothing last forever and you have to protect what you have, whether it’s money, possessions or relationships.
Nathan Smith, the label’s founder, tells Wear? Magazine: “When I say Protection, I mean not just against violence – but the struggles of life and hard times. At All costs emphasises the length’s one would go in order to carry out this protection.”
And, it was fashion that became the best way for Nathan and PAAC to push this message. Having followed streetwear culture for a number of years, the transition from a consumer to a creator was a natural one to make.
“The process of seeing something go from a piece of fabric or a bit of thread to an item of clothing or piece that has a use was really satisfying.
“It goes deeper than that though, with my mother working in the Manchester fashion and textiles industry for 20+ years her knowledge and experience has come in handy. Having never sat a fashion class, I’m self-taught but have learnt the skills and processes I need to create what I want.”
The creative process PAAC employ finds itself influenced by a history of utility-wear. From a young age, Nathan has been wearing cargos and camo t-shirts, now his brand pushes a new wave of military-style.
“While PAAC is a young brand, military-wear isn’t new to me. My fashion style has subsequently influenced my brand.
“PAAC is inspired not only by my respect towards the army and soldiers but the fact their clothes, items and mindset are used in everyday life.”
‘PHASE 2’ saw the brand experiment with different pieces centred around a new idea. Titled ‘TOXIC WEB’, the collection took inspiration from the military-style the brand has become synonymous with but incorporated a hint of neon throughout the capsule.
The neon aimed to help promote self-care and protection, being noticeable from a distance. This creative process was partnered with the motto ‘protect yours’ which reflected on the toxic environment that the internet is fast becoming.
This integration, of the message, inspiration and items shows a deep, well-thought-out structure from PAAC. And, the success of the collection came without an online store, somewhat meaningful for a label targeting the ‘toxic web’.
Why is there no PAAC store? “Fuck the industry, I’m in the streets,” Nathan claims.
“As an independent brand that creates 1 of 1 pieces in my bedroom, a physical store isn’t something I’ve ever really thought about.
“At the moment I work out of my DMs with people messaging to purchase items from the collection or to commission custom pieces.”
There is an online home in the works, but for now, their connection to the underground streetwear store OwnThing serves them well.
“OwnThing offer a platform for small independent creatives to showcase their work. It’s been a great way for me to reach new people and build my audience. From giving my brand exposure to selling multiple items through their site, they have always supported.”
Yet, PAAC carry their own back in this streetwear scene. The Manchester label’s production is top quality and the ideas are fused together creatively. Created individually, not in a factory, PAAC is pushing a new ideology in military-wear.
Nathan Smith talking on behalf of PAAC to Wear? Magazine.
Images courtesy of PAAC (@protectionatallcosts)
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