Jake Messer is the owner of streetwear outlet UN:IK and the contemporary fashion brand, Bound. Bound was founded in 2018 on the ethos of bringing likeminded individuals together on the basis of their taste for boldness.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Jake and was able to ask some valuable questions about his rise in the fashion industry.
I know you run another brand, ‘Unik’ what made you want to branch out to create ‘Bound’?
So yeah, I did Unik for 4 years before I started Bound which collaborates with a lot of different designers so I specifically wasn’t designing garments, I was more working with independent creatives who were then sending me the designs and then we were working together to create brands and the different styles and garments. So with that, I didn’t really have full control, but it was great before I was working with a broader spectrum and creative group of talent. So the idea for Bound was that I wanted to create a brand with custom pieces and designs that were exactly to my taste and exactly to my fit, aesthetic, fabrics etc. So yeah, it was just about me having that creative freedom in a brand and using what I learnt from Unik to the best of my abilities.
How did you get started in the fashion industry?
I had no actual real experience in fashion. It wasn’t something that I thought I would go into. It was just an interest that I had from a teenager age. I guess what a lot of guys do is they get into fashion and start liking certain brands as they grow up and that’s exactly what I did. So, I was in a job that I hated, a grad scheme post-university and I really didn’t enjoy it so I left that pretty soon after 6 months. I was considering my options and I think that I walked around London once, probably one of the first times I went to London and I looked around some of the markets and saw some little independent brands kind of grafted in there and I thought, well, there are a lot of people doing this, kind of on their own and a lot of people who want to set up a brand but might not have the market and abilities and stuff like that and that’s where my idea came from. It was kind of just a bit random; it wasn’t really planned so I guess you can say I just stumbled upon it really.
Did you have any career plans growing up outside of fashion?
I knew I always wanted to start my own business as a career goal. I guess that’s what I focused on at uni. What I did at uni was business management and did a module in starting your own business which I learnt the economics and financial sides, so doing your own cash flow, forecasts, working out profit margins, all that kind of nitty-gritty stuff that you kind of have to know, really, before you do it. I guess to some level if you have an idea in the basics of it that’s good. So, I always wanted to start a business, like I said before, I didn’t know what field or industry that would be in. I’ve kind of always worked since I was 13 and I figured out that the harder you work yourself, the more you get out of it so I figured if you do that for yourself the rewards would be a lot more than working for someone else.
What were/are your main inspirations?
Main inspirations is a tough one, really. I think if you look at brand-wise, like what brands inspire me I think the story and the image of what Stüssy have done has been incredible I think they’ve kept to this ethos and ethic since they very first started and their quality and originality of their pieces is always great. I think the people and the audience that wears it really aligns with what they do so, yeah as a brand, one of the biggest inspirations would probably be Stüssy. I don’t really say I have a specific inspiration in terms of individuals or people, I think everyone has their own way of doing business. I don’t think you should really follow another person’s way of doing business because things work for you that might not for other people, and vice versa, so I try not to be inspired by specific people too much.
What are your future goals moving into the future with Bound?
The next Bound capsule, which is collection 6 is 21 pieces, which is two accessories and 19 garments. It’s a lot of a more completed, round collection which I have worked on in lockdown, and post lockdown because of a lot of problems with couriers I couldn’t really get anything sent over from my factories for so long so it kind of encouraged me to right well I’ll use that time to build a bigger collection, rather than working on smaller collections more frequently, so it’s been a good 8 months since the last one, but that time will show in the quality of the pieces, the whole collection and how it fits and styles all together; you’ll see some pants and stuff like that. I think going forward I’m just always trying to include more complex designs and patterns into the styles that will make them stand out a little bit more; have a little edge over what’s actually out there I think of, continue with the originality of it, the fits, the high-quality fabrics and keep pushing it in the direction that it’s naturally going at the moment, because it’s been so well received since the first release. The audience is really loyal and repeat customers are great so it’s just picking up new customers and keeping the ones that I currently have, satisfied.
Thanks for stopping by Hipland!