Look so great on your cut hair tips
Sometimes if I’m having a bad day, I Google Image River Phoenix and study his hair. It’s like therapy and momentarily sends my brain somewhere better. This obsession is partly to do with the film My Own Private Idaho and its beautiful portrayal of youthful confusion and unrequited love. But it is also because Phoenix’s hair was at its absolute peak of amazing. Big and beautifully dishevelled, in many ways it was the embodiment of his character. Essentially, hair mis-en-scene.
Over the years, it is not just River’s up-top tangle that has reeled me in. Hair obsessing stretches from my own, which grows fast and outward, often resembling a giant mushroom. But also to (very) specific catwalks (the Raf Simons wet-look partings from spring/summer 2012 are an all-time high), via a roster of celebrities. This briefly manifested itself as a Tumblr starring the likes of actorsBen Whishaw, Jake Gyllenhaal and Andrew Garfield, the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and the Strokes singer Julian Casablancas. I even barraged my late boyfriend (himself a man of much hair prowess) to file relevant images in a specifically labelled HAIR folder on my computer desktop.
Outside work, he has a wife and two children, and I’m a single man. I might go out and have some drinks and dinner. But if it’s a barbecue at his house, we’ll hang out.
He hates the way I eat sometimes, but we were in Tokyo recently in a sushi restaurant. It was really quiet and he was taking a sip of wine. He’s not a big drinker and he was going like this [slurps and sighs]. You know when you’ve known someone for so long and it’s like a new thing? Him drinking wine… It was so weird.
I remember meeting him really clearly; he came to drop something off in my office. Max has a really good spirit and it was infectious. I remember saying to myself, “Ah, that kid’s got good energy… and what the hell is he wearing in the back of his pocket?” It was a tie.
When we first started, we did pretty much everything together – design, branding, we shipped our first two seasons by ourselves from a friend’s warehouse. Now as the business has got more complex, we’ve learned to divvy up our roles. Max oversees men’s, I oversee women’s, then we’ll collaborate on everything else, from marketing to sales strategy.
Most of our disagreements come because of the difference in age and lifestyle – I think that impacts us most in terms of where we are in our lives, what we want, and our responsibilities outside the business. Ultimately, because we’re seen as a unit, we affect each other’s outcome, so all those decisions you make together, it’s like being married. It gets heated but we both know that the intent is always coming from a good place. You never have to worry about a hidden agenda. Going into business with your friends is probably not the best idea. It weighs on a relationship for sure, but we figure it out. I smacked him once with spit in my hand – he didn’t enjoy that.
Max is good at making people feel included and welcome – something in my old age I probably could do more of. There’s a good yin and yang. Max is calm; I let my emotions get the best of me. I’m more proud than Max is. Sometimes we’ll make decisions based on whether we’ve been fairly treated by someone outside the company; Max will try to see it from their point of view or he’ll be a little hesitant to pull the plug just yet – he’d rather figure it out. I’m more impetuous.
I think Max is good at the finer details, like an idea for a pocket shape or a flange on an armhole, which is his favourite detail of all time. He can look at a little thing and make it feel like a big thing.