The Iconic Edition
News
|8 Dec 2017|6 mins

Saturdays & Surfing – Is There Anything Better?

The entrepreneurs behind Saturdays NYC reveal the movies that inspired them and what guys should be buying for 2018
Mathew Coyte
8 Dec 2017
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Meet Morgan Collett and Colin Tunstall, co-founders of Saturdays NYC, a brand that merges functional surf attire with a sleek urban sensibility. From the humble beginnings of their New York store/café/hangout to opening stores in L.A., Sydney, Tokyo and Melbourne, these east-coast surfers have never lost focus on what lies at the core of Saturdays NYC – achieving a delicate balance between their passions and their environment.

News
|8 Dec 2017|6 mins

Saturdays & Surfing – Is There Anything Better?

The entrepreneurs behind Saturdays NYC reveal the movies that inspired them and what guys should be buying for 2018
Mathew Coyte
8 Dec 2017
Share:

Meet Morgan Collett and Colin Tunstall, co-founders of Saturdays NYC, a brand that merges functional surf attire with a sleek urban sensibility. From the humble beginnings of their New York store/café/hangout to opening stores in L.A., Sydney, Tokyo and Melbourne, these east-coast surfers have never lost focus on what lies at the core of Saturdays NYC – achieving a delicate balance between their passions and their environment.

Image by @t_perspective via Instagram

So, tell us, how did you meet?

Morgan: Colin and myself, we were pretty good friends, living in New York City we were both working in the apparel and publishing industries. Colin was working for magazines like GQ, and Esquire’s Big Black Book, and I was working for ACNE managing the sales for North America. We shared a lot of similar interests from surfing to skating to snowboarding, and New York City in general. All those elements are inspiration, whether it’s photography or art galleries or music. You’re on top of each other with all of that stuff in New York City, and the awesome caveat is that it’s 45 minutes on the train and you’re at the beach and you can surf.

A lot of people would see you guys as inspiring entrepreneurs. How did Saturdays begin?

Morgan: We got excited about trying to start something of our own and not have a boss. I remember sitting on Colin’s couch talking about it and wondering what we should call it and the first thing out of Colin’s mouth was “What about Saturdays?” and it just kind of all came together. That was in April of 2009. We storyboarded an idea of what it was going to be and then a week later we heard from a friend of ours who was working at this art gallery on Crosby St in Soho. He said “You guys keep talking about this idea and this space is going to become available, I’ll help you guys get it, but you only have a week to decide if you want to do it. “

Colin: We all had different jobs but we were so stoked and the concept just seemed so appropriate and right. We didn’t have a business plan; we didn’t have anything worked out. We got a phone call saying “You’re either in or you’re out ‘cos I need to rent this place. We were like ‘OK we’re in!’”

Morgan: Colin and I, we both still had full time jobs when the store first opened. By October we had quit our jobs and put 100 per cent of our focus on Saturdays and then would work at night to make money – because we couldn’t pay ourselves anything. We started everything from life savings and credit cards and a dream.

Was New York City always going to be a part of the concept?

Colin: We chose to live in New York City. Morgan was from Southern California I was from New York in Connecticut and our third business partner at the time was from the North West, but we all met in New York and we were all hanging out snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing. At the same time were all working in the fashion business and there was nothing that was really speaking to the lifestyle that we were living. If you look at Instagram now and you look at a brand like ACNE it’s very focused on a concept for a season or a specific garment or a technical detail and if you look at a brand like Quicksilver or Billabong, there’s no clothes represented in their feed. It’s all lifestyle, aspirational – somebody surfing, skateboarding, some beautiful spot. We’ve got an affinity for both in a way, but there was nobody in the middle. So that idea of balance became a huge word for us because we live in New York, and we’ve got to balance our lives with going to the ocean or going upstate to go snowboarding and finding that place in the middle. So balance was always kind of like a goal. The brand was born out of the feeling of that.

Was there an element of East Coast pride involved?

Colin: New York City had this iconic wall, this DKNY wall with the Statue of Liberty on it. It was on Broadway and Houston and that was painted over by Hollister of California. This was a wall that’d been up for 20 or 30 years and this company that’s based in Ohio starts pushing this surfing feeling. Come summer time, Chanel puts a surfboard in the window to sell this idea of surf, but in New York there’s already actually a pretty decent-sized surfing community. I think a lot of them moved to New York to work or participate in fashion or photography or finance and they came from California or Australia. There was no real kind of clubhouse for that in the city, so as part of the space we had a back yard where you could sit down and just talk about surfing.

Where do you surf in New York?

Colin: Rockaway is the closest beach by subway train, which is the most unique experience outside of any other surfing destination in the world. You can be in Times Square and get your surfboard and be at the beach where there’s sometimes really good waves within an hour. When we started, you would go the beach and there would be some people there. Now, it’s a thing. I think we’ve definitely helped make it more of a scene and it’s definitely a lot more crowded these days, for better or worse.

Image by @t_perspective via Instagram

Your bricks and mortar stores are a part of the Saturday’s lifestyle. How do you bring that to life for online customers?

Colin: I think you can get the same feeling even tough you’re not having the physical presence of walking into the store. I think brick and mortar retail will always be important for a brand like ours but with e-commerce we do a lot to incorporate all of the content and images and photo shoots that we do and profiles of interesting individuals who are part of the community. Online we want you to have the same feeling as you do when you flick through our Saturdays magazine. If you need to shop for clothes you can get lost in the website but at the same time you can get diverted into content and stories.

Men can be pretty conservative with their fashion choices; in what ways do you wish they would loosen up?

Morgan: Men are definitely different consumers than women. More conservative and more consistent. I think they get dedicated to a brand in a manner of speaking and when they find the brand they can relate to then that’s where they go to shop. We’ve always designed clothes that we can relate to and that we want to wear. There’s something about a really well fitted pair of denims and a clean white Supima cotton t-shirt that you can’t go wrong with.

Who were your style icons when you were developing Saturdays?

Morgan: Working in the fashion industry in New York City, everyone’s got so much style and a different take on how to dress. When we were working on the concept a lot of inspiration came from (‘60s surf movies) Endless Summer one and Big Wednesday. You look back and those guys had the sickest cars and all their chinos were tailored perfectly. It looked effortless. They’d just get out of the water and they’d put their clothes on and they’d fit perfectly. They’d be carrying their long boards while wearing a tailored suit.

Are you excited to be working with THE ICONIC?

Morgan: With the ever-evolving world of e-commerce, the reach that THE ICONIC has, and what they’ve been able to build over the last six years is pretty impressive especially because it’s solely focused on Australia and New Zealand. The brands that THE ICONIC work with is a really strong matrix of like-minded brands so we’re really stoked to be a part of it.

What item should every man be looking to buy in 2018?

Morgan: Personally I think it’s a nice tailored pair of jeans or chinos. Some people always get their pants tailored but I personally don’t just because I’m lazy and as a result I don’t like the way my pants look. I think that’s super important and we do our best to have an array of fits and different options for individuals, but at the same time, with bottoms for men you do have to go in and get them tailored to your specific body type. And if you spend the time it makes the world of different in terms of how it looks. I know I’d be more confident if I took that extra step.

Is there anything in your collection that has been there since the first line in 2011?

Colin: Some of our swimwear pieces have stayed the same. Yesterday we went for a swim at North Bondi to knock the cobwebs off after the 24-hour flight and we saw a guy diving off the rocks in a pair of our board shorts that were one of the core styles that we started with.

Discover the full Saturdays NYC collection, including apparel and leather goods, at THE ICONIC.

Mathew Coyte
Writer