Thanks to the Memories function on Facebook, I remembered that exactly a year ago on Friday, a series of events began which ended in me sitting on the floor of a train with my best friend, opposite a 1XV basketball player, don’t ask why, I don’t even know. T’was a good day.
Now exactly a year later, I’m sat writing about Nathan Simkin and his journey with True North, last year around this time a train took me in a direction I assume to be North, this year, I am on my way to finding my True North or at least writing about it.
At this point are you wondering what a True North is? Well it is, north according to the earth’s axis’ not a compass’ – never one to take things at their literal meaning, our True North as people, means not being afraid to shy away from what is universally accepted, to follow and find your own direction toward what you deem to be worth following. This True North is different for each person, for some True North might be following faith, for others the pursuit toward True North might be found in a passion, advocation, relationship or family.
Either way True North, finds it’s name in the idea that every person has purpose and no person should be afraid of where their going, because sometimes you find direction in the most unlikely places, perhaps a train floor or in the words of Nathan Simkin, who found his True North in his clothing brand True North.
When you talk to Nathan Simkin, two things come to mind, the first is damn this guy is doing some wicked stuff and the second? You repeat the first again, because he’s just that good. His brand is awesome, but I am also talking about him, about his person and pursuits, True North as a brand is an example of what can be done, when you follow your heart and aren’t afraid of where it will lead you. We also see what is to be gained in doing something different, finding success in diversity.
That is why I want to tell you his story, because we’re all on a journey to find our True North, why not be on that journey wearing True North Clothing? Because clothes are more then you could ever comprehend, beyond the cotton and the trend, all of that, clothes are apart of the sum of who we are, they allow us to express who we want to be, they are what screams when we are silent and True North Clothing, as I hope this post does, screams at us, to live without fear, to live authentically, passionately, in times when we might feel like doing otherwise.
Nathan built his brand off of diverse influences, as well as a consistent love for design “Ive always done a lot of design, in school I did Graphics and now I do all the media for my parents church so that’s always come naturally. In terms of clothing, as I said I’ve loved band merchandise, so clothing seemed to be the perfect fit.” As I said clothes are what we paint our scaffold with, if you get my drift. And so Nathan as a person before True North, painted diversely and that same diversity is carried through in the influences of his brand.
“An influence has been the bands I follow which is a lot of metal and metalcore, these types of musicians, make their living off selling merchandise – of which they put a lot effort into and make them look sweet! With my label I wanted to recreate that feel of high quality band merchandise, but not at crazy prices.”
This array of influences shows to us, what is to be gained from every experience and every person – in order to create ourselves, we must see others. True North is empowered by bits and pieces of our world and uses those pieces to create something entirely unique and beautiful as such. Just as Nathan is as a person, an individual made of collective elements and beautiful in that way, which empowers those around him and those who wear his brand to live and be content in the same manner.
Another influence of Nathan’s has been a clothing brand called Like Wolf, “I was in school and a friend a few years above me had a clothing label [Like Wolf Clothing] which I looked up to and got inspiration from”. As well as the influence of faith but in a way that to quote Nathan directly “doesn’t shove it down your throat”.
Because everybody has the right to find their own True North, at the end of the day we should support, every individuals individual pursuit in that. Why not support each other in True North Clothing? Because if any brand reminds us what is to be gained in following a path you love and being unafraid, it is True North and if any person deserves admiration for embodying these same qualities, it is Nathan.
Nathan gained influence from Like Wolf, and now he to aims “[through his endeavours to] influence the next future clothing label starters.” Like Wolf Clothing, has since shut up shop, the brands owner Matthew Hanson, remains to be influential to all people, myself included. When I told him about the influence Like Wolf gave Nathan, Hanson was humbled and said the following
“I was stoked when Nathan came to me because I was just making it up as I went along, not too sure if things were cool or not. Sometimes you think people just buy your shirts because they feel sorry for you [or feel as if they have to support you]. But when Nathan came to me I was stoked, it gave me a reason to carry on – if i could inspire Nathan to try something new [and eventually create True North] then BOOM! That’s all I was looking for. I have one of Nathan’s early designs and I get compliments each time I wear it. Solid 10/10.
I have enjoyed watching True North grow over the past few years as Nathan has slowly and faithfully grown – not trying to take over the whole world at once. Like Wolf is now only a fond memory I hold dear to my heart with a few last shirts and hats to be seen around but True North is far from that – and that makes me stoked. So to you Nathan, keep up the good work, you and your team are doing and you will take over the world.”
I kept this statement a surprise from Nathan, so Nathan, I hope this serves to show you, that we are all campaigning for your success, thank you, for helping us find our True North.
When I asked Hanson, if he’d ever get back into clothing, his reply was “I’m defiantly keen to get back into clothing – I love it when you see someone wearing something you created and loving it, or receiving compliments for it. Good buzz. So in short yes – I will get into something. When? Don’t know. What? Don’t know”
Who knows what is in the future, but designers supporting other designers leaves room for greatness, good men supporting all people in their quest to be good men? Leaves room for a future full of possibility. The mutual influence of brands like True North and Like Wolf exemplifies the fact that it is in supporting each other, we find our True North, we are able to see higher, do more not because we are taller, but because we are borne aloft, upon the height and support of others, when you wear True North, you are reminded constantly of the power possessed in this ideal, there is nothing more powerful then that.
“I want True North to been seen as a positive brand that looks to up lift others, join with and support local events and bands as well as delivering a message of hope.” Well I can tell you, Nathan without a doubt, that True North does this and more, as I said it is an example of everything that is possible when you follow your own path and heart, never be afraid of what is to be gained in this ideal.
You are stronger then you know and your True North is whatever you want it to be, anything is possible. If you set yourself goals, and do what you must in order to achieve them “[Going to festivals to promote True North was] a goal I set myself. I’ve now attend two festivals with True North, anything is possible if you get on and do it, It’s not easy [however] the opportunities that come up and rewards of doing what you love make it all worth while, [because some people will not be supportive] there are people who try to destroy your passion and goals, but those are few and far – when I think back now the friends I’ve made and the people around me that support me it’s unbelievable. I’m so grateful”
If you take one thing out of this, take the fact that you should never be afraid of your True North and when you are, when you question your purpose, think of Nathan, all that he built was to remind you of what is possible, what is possible in you.
One of my favourite poems, is Casey at the Bat, because despite striking out, he plays . Mighty Casey. So go play and don’t let the fear of striking out, keep you on the sideline, because our team jersey’s are the design of Nathan, True North Clothing, tangible reminders of our True North, reminding us to keep playing and kill the next inning.
This post is dedicated to the one person of another brand, who “bagged” True North when it was just beginning, I hope you found your True North, I’ll buy you one of their new t-shirt’s.