This time we interview KENNETH MACKENZIE, director and designer of the 6876 British independent brand, thank you for your time and for your reply so quickly.
Since you started the brand in 1995,how has been the evolution of 6876?
The brand has taken three stages:
Stage 1:1995-2002 First stage building the brand from a modest start to wholesaling round teh world and exhibiting at various trade shows. Stage 2: 2003-2008 After a one year break starting again with a smaller more specialist idea but again with a wholesale operation and trade shows to stage 3: Rejecting seasonal collections/wholesale,working on more collaborations,consultancy and joint brands.
What do you think has been your progress since you studied in Preston, through Duffer of St George to create 6876?
One of the most important parts of my early development was the period of a year i spent working on internships during my studies which really helped me grow as a person and help my understanding of fashion. After i graduated there was the period of working for other people before starting 6876 which was a very intense but enjoyable period. I think as a designer i’ve learned in recent years to accept my position within the world and just gain pleasure from the support of the people that appreciate my work and not concern myself with others. I have my aesthetic and its genuinely mine and i’ve become more relaxed in that mode.
What do you think of the manufacturing garments in low cost?
Like in anything if the quality is good i don’t have a huge problem with price unless of course it involves exploitation.
We can cite among some of your collaborations brands like Fred Perry,Rohan, Mamnick, Cash, Maharishi,Casualco and Our Culture. But what’s the difference between doing a collaboration with Fred Perry for example to do with Casualco?
Casual co have an inherent and historical feeling for the brand its something close to them so its very easy and natural to discuss concepts with them,Fred Perry was a precursor to me designing Laurel wreath and its a corporate company so its vey different.
We know of your high level of commitment, the brand name is quite significant (68 per year of student revolts and 76 the year of the punk explosion), how ever it seems the world of fashion and social ideology are incompatible , what would you say to people who think this?
I’m not sure they are incompatible but of course its difficult to rationalise ideological aspirations when related to profit however sometimes its far simpler than intellectualising these matters. I think that if you run your company true to yourself and in my case that involves having a humanistic approach, fair pricing, independent funding and as pure a design concept as possible then at least then its a start.
Limited productions, chain rather limited distribution, great attention to materials and details, this is something non-negotiable in 6876, or you think some day expand production despite losing exclusivity?
This situation has been partly practical and partly choice but it definitely doesn’t rule out larger production lines as i believe good design should be as available as possible.
Sonora and Capandula are two names with great weight in the Casual culture, what is the formula for their success?
The were quite naively drawn by myself and have pleasing design lines but above all i think they appeal in a classic/timeless kind of sportswear feel not retro but not super high tech.
Working class people, mostly with good taste for the aesthetic, sticking for a few colors and a shield, what do you think of the Casual culture?
I respect the loyalty and passion within the culture, but the reason why i worked with CC and OC is i see in them a more maverick take on the scene and i think its always important to challenge and keep that before the sitaution becomes to regimented safe.
We know that you are using your own clothes, but what other brands do you usually wear and what you look for them?
Patagonia has always been the brand i’ve worn/loved, RRL recently and shoes of all forms i’m fairly obsessive about.. Alden particularly
What do you think about this world cup in Brazil, where many people are starving, overspending, demonstrations, corruption …?
A very BIG subject…All these events WC/Olympics have a down side and think they mirror problems within especially developing countries where the gap between have and have nots can be extreme. Oil rich countries and rapidly developing countries/economies are going through the same problems we experienced during the industrial revolution but of course they want the prestige these events bring. I believe the Qatar WC is the apex of this situation and could be the death of the WC totally losing its spirit and giving in to greed and power.
We talked football, how a guy from Dundee is a fan of Arsenal?
I played football all my teenage life for Shamrock boys club (affiliated to Celtic) in Dundee and when i moved to England swore i would never support an English team and i resisted for a while but i have lived in Highbury for 24 years and live ten minutes from the stadium. Also my children are massive Arsenal fans so over time i went i watched and grew into the team, especially during the period of no trophies as i was so used to that being Scottish.
Tell us what you want.
I have no grand statement, i’m just an ordinary person who likes to bring his passions from different areas into his work and i see myself as a modernist product designer rather than fashion as that’s a world i don’t really belong in. 6876 if its achieved anything is there to prove that in its own small way independence can work in an increasingly corporate world but only with the support of likeminded people and for that support i’m really grateful.