Online Q&A with PKG

More photos on Blurasis

On Friday, October 1st during my time at Pop Montreal.
I went to the Notman House (aka Pop Montreal HQ) to check out the PKG line.
I was introduced by Julienne Diva and Julia Che.
I decided to do a online Q&A with Andy Priestman who runs PKG.
So here is what I asked.

For those that don’t know what does PKG stand for?
PKG is a simple acronym for the word “package” – since that’s what we build – packages for carrying your digital devices.

How did you get involved with POP Montreal?
We’ve been involved with a lot of Canadian musicians and artists since our founding, specifically through our Grassroots Collective.
The subcultures of art, music and fashion are what ultimately drive our designs, so Pop Montreal seemed like a great fit for us.
It gave us a great opportunity to interact with the artists and get some critical feedback, as well as support the communities that we draw our inspiration from.

Any musicians that played in POP that were impressed with PKG?
We had a lot through and I think everyone had their favourite piece(s).
Some memorable ones would include:

What made you decide to get into the fashion industry?
It certainly wasn’t intentional. We come from a Consumer Electronics background and we were amazed that there weren’t any interesting yet affordable options available at retail for digital accessories.
It all seemed to be dictated by function with no concern for fashion, and the offerings were either inexpensive black polyester and neoprene, or very expensive boutique brands.
We really wanted to offer something in between in the category of “affordable luxury”, where the products are still unique but also affordable by the majority.
We started with the simple idea of making something different, so we looked for inspiration in the subcultures of music, art and fashion.
All three of which are intertwined and full of people that are trying to stand out and produce something unique.

Would you say Canada is sort of lacking in the fashion industry?
That’s a hard question and I may not be the right person to answer that being that I don’t consider myself to be in the “fashion industry”.
I think Canada’s a unique Country in the sense that each region has its own sense of style. Canada also has very few cities with populations of over 1 million people and a LOT of geography between these cities, making the logistics for distributing products in Canada very difficult.
I think that those two factors combine to make it very hard for a small designer to actually make a living focusing on the CDN market, and forces them to look for export markets first.
Therefore our designers don’t have the chance to really grow organically and have their products carry a “Canadiana” flavour with them, but often have to tailor them for foreign markets.

Would connecting into the music scene make your product more noticeable?
I don’t know if it makes us more noticeable, but it certainly gives us insight into what the upcoming trends are for our demographic, and allows us to interact with the trend setters of the scene.
Music and fashion are tightly interwoven so it definitely keeps our ears to the ground and get some great feedback for new products.
It also allows us to have a lot of fun (by being part of events like Pop), and let’s us do a lot of cool projects that we enjoy working on.

Are some of the materials environmentally friendly?
We’re trying to integrate eco-friendly materials wherever we can.
The leather on our Supply and Ride Collections is all post-production recycled leather, and we’re launching a line of laptop sleeves called the “Rubber Collection”, which are all made from up-cycled inner-tubes from India.

How sturdy are the products?
We try to make them as durable as possible.
Obviously different materials have different characteristics, so we gear the fabrics that we utilize toward it’s specific intended use.
All product come with a 90 day warranty as well.

I noticed that you were in NXNE this year, is there any chance you can convince NXNE to make a goodie bag for them? (Just say the bags this year are not that great)
We can certainly try! NXNE is a great festival as well and we’d love to be a bigger part of it next year.

Lastly what is in the future for PKG?
You’ll see a lot of new artists become part of our Grassroot Collective this year, and seasonal changes for all of our pantones and fabrics.
We’ll continue to focus on the music, art and fashion scenes and we’ll be building on local up-and-coming artists in Canada and trying to grow our domestic business.
We’ll also be launching into new markets like the US, Europe, NZ and Australia by the end of this year.
In each of those markets we’ll be looking for local artists to commission pieces that will be sold exclusively in their Country.
Aside from that you’ll also see some line extensions for different digital devices, as well as some interesting limited edition collaborations.
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