Every good scene house has one… that’s the Vented London Skatepark Ashtray. An essential to any fashion and skate lover. Based in West London, I sat down with 23 year old owner and creative director Josh Scott, to talk everything Vented. From clothes and jewellery to homeware, and with exciting news about new stockists and upcoming collaborations, Vented London is one to watch.
Hey Josh, how are you doing? What have you been up to this week?
I’m really good, thank you. I have been locked in the studio this week working really hard creating some pieces for Machine-A, which I’m really excited about.
Machine-A.. that’s exciting. How did you get into designing and making your brand Vented?
I have always been interested in design, when I was younger I wanted to be a graphic designer. I was then studying design in school and was pretty much told by my DT teacher that I was about to fail that year if I didn’t make some more products for this project I was handing in. He suggested I make a flag and use the embroidery machine upstairs, which was news to me, and all I could think about was using that embroidery machine to make myself some clothes that no one else has, and that’s where I started.
It was at this point that I came up with the name, reflecting on why I wanted to make my own clothes. For me the way I dress has always been about self expression. ‘To Vent is To Express’ and I found that Vented was my own way of saying my clothes were an avenue of self expression.
How’s the journey been as a designer – since the first capsule collection up to now? How has your process changed as you’ve grown?
The journey from then till now has been great, I’ve learnt so much and explored a lot of processes. I have always been really hands on with the production at Vented. I started with printing t-shirts and hoodies, which allowed me to explore screen printing and then I experimented with my sewing machine to see how I could hand finish certain pieces. This allowed me to step quite easily into the production process for ‘The Original’ – as I already enjoyed rolling my sleeves up and getting stuck in.
How did the idea for ‘The Original’ come about?
The idea for ‘The Original’ came to me on New Year’s Day 2019. I had been making clothes for about a year and had just finished a Grime inspired collection. I sat down on the 1st of January knowing that I wanted to expand what products I could make. I sat and sketched about 10-15 items, around half of them sharing the silhouette of ‘The Original’ skate park, I drew tables and clocks alongside the smaller ashtray version of the piece that I decided upon using. I then spoke to a couple of my friends from school who gave me advice on how to produce this piece, one of my friends even offered to CAD and 3D print a prototype which we then used to make our first ever piece.
I think I had the concept of an ashtray / jewellery bowl in my mind as I had already collected a few myself. Around the time I was in awe of Nigo and his collectors heaven of a studio, I loved the idea of producing pieces that people could collect and proudly display in their homes. I wanted to make this piece in the shape of a skate bowl to set in stone the impact and influence skate culture has had on me and my personal style.
Honestly the skate park idea, looking so realistic is one of the sickest I’ve seen in a long time. Also true, they can be used as a jewellery bowl. And how come you decided to make your pieces in concrete?
I wanted to use Concrete as my medium for this as London is everything to me. The idea of being a train journey away from the heart of the best city in the world is what inspires me and drives me to work harder. Everything I have produced so far is in concrete as to reflect the streets of London and the sub-cultures that walk them.
What is the brand ethos?
The brand ethos is to ‘Design our own universe’ – this means to both create physical pieces to decorate the spaces we are in and to also allow and inspire the freedom in others to create your own world to exist in.
I know you were a part of our ‘Basementoring’ programme back in 2016, where we helped kids with small businesses get off their feet. So good to see you doing your thing now. Tell us how that went and how it helped you.
The Basementoring programme was a really good idea, I was part of that wave of kids wanting to start their own brands and not exactly knowing how to. I learnt a lot from the sessions and it definitely gave me a push in the right direction when I was starting out. I have kept in contact with Mike Key ever since, he’s been a great mentor and has always offered good advice.
I would say my proudest moment is likely to be coming up very soon. I am very much looking forward to going into Selfridges in the coming weeks and seeing my pieces on the shop floor. This has been a milestone that I’ve always had in mind and I am therefore very proud that I’ve achieved it!
Congrats! Thats a big move. Advice to anyone starting their own brand? And to your younger self?
Advice to my younger self: be unapologetically you, have confidence in your own ideas and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This is something I struggled with, I knew how good an idea ‘The Original’ was at first, and then I feel like my confidence in it was dented by other people’s initial reactions to the piece. It took for people like Yousef and Benny at Bankrupt Store to tell me how good the product was for me to really feel it again. This product has gone on to be the start of a whole brand direction for me, so all I can say is if you know something you have is good, act that way and present it to people with confidence.
What were the main inspirations behind this collection?
This collection is a reflection of my inner-city inspirations, the streets of London and the sub-cultures that walk them. This collection draws inspiration from the music and skate scene that I admire so much and have shaped me, as these are my true entry points into streetwear. I wanted to set in stone some of the elements of London culture that I feel are timeless and really important. The Soundboy, for example, is an homage to soundsystem culture – this piece is personified by the spirit of West London’s own Notting Hill Carnival.
So how’s the last year been for you as a designer of a young brand, obviously with Covid there comes multiple obstacles. How have you found this?
The last year has definitely been difficult, there have been setbacks along the way but I have definitely learnt a lot from this and have walked away as a more resilient and agile creative. At the start of the pandemic I had just opened a pop up in Soho, which was meant to be open for a month but only lasted 10 days as a result of the virus. This was a real shame as I’d put a lot of work into the space and it wasn’t able to reach its potential.
Following on from this I spent a lot of time working alone from home, I had to adjust where I drew inspiration from. I used my new found free time at first soaking up inspiration from films that I was watching for entertainment and music that I was listening to. I get a lot from music, and I am inspired by how musicians work. I think of launching a new product a bit like putting out a single. I was able to continue producing pieces at home as usual, but I had to experiment with my methods of presenting products. I feel like I have definitely formed a more well rounded vision of where I would like to take Vented in the last year.
So sick to see you going into Selfridges and Machine-A, and with a few upcoming collabs on the way. How did this come about?
Thank you, I am really excited about going into Selfridges as it is something I have always been working towards. Vented has got some exciting collaborations as part of this collection. ‘The House’ is an incense holder made in collaboration with Maxi Millz that we have been working on for just over a year. ‘The Soundboy’ was initially designed in collaboration with Parallel and released alongside his debut EP ‘Soundboy’. There are also jewellery collaborations with Johnny Hoxton and Sam Ozanne as part of this collection! Each of these collaborations and the Selfridges order came from communicating with people, showing them the product and talking to them about what we do at Vented.
What is your favourite piece from this collection and why?
My favourite piece from this collection is ‘The Decks’. This is a product that I have been working on for over a year, developing the concept throughout and improving the pieces until we had the perfect three piece set that is now ready to release. I love how well the delicate details have been captured and the feeling of having a mini concrete set of turntables and a mixer.
So what’s next for you?
I have been very focussed on this collection and producing all of the pieces. I have a couple of video concepts that I am really excited about, and I am looking forward to getting these out. I would say my goal following this is to definitely improve my art direction and the way in which I present my products, ensuring that I do them proper justice.
I am also excited about exploring different themes for the next collection of pieces, I want to create something slightly different and am excited about the prospect of coming to what I do from a different angle with a slightly different inspiration.
Thanks for having me Harriet, good to catch up.