BRAYDEN FROM HQ SKATE
W/ AMY LOVAT
“A SOLID 90% OF THE ART I CREATE IS JUST BECAUSE I LIKE IT, OR I WANTED TO DRAW IT. AND THIS KIND OF CHILLED OUT, ‘JUST BE’ ATTITUDE HAS DEFINITELY CARRIED OVER TO MY BRAND. THE IDEA THAT IF IT’S SOMETHING YOU LIKE TO DO, AND YOU’RE NOT HURTING ANYONE, THEN DO IT, OR DON’T, WHATEVER. YOU DO YOU.”
MEET BRAYDEN WILKINSON. HE’S THE FOUNDER AND HEAD DESIGNER FOR LIFESTYLE BRAND HQ SKATE. AND HE DRIVES A UTE. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I BORROWED IT ONCE TO PICK UP A WASHING MACHINE FROM SYDNEY, AND I GOT A STRESS-INDUCED NOSE BLEED ON THE HARBOUR BRIDGE OWING TO THE FACT THAT I’D NEVER DRIVEN A CAR SO BIG AND LOUD. COOL STORY, HANSEL. LET’S MOVE ON…
The story goes that Brayden studied design at Tighes Hill TAFE from 2010-2012, kicked butt, and found a way to make some dollars being his own boss. HQ Skate was born. “The first embers of the idea started to spark at the end of TAFE, when I came to realise that working for other people sucks real hard.” Mate, I feel ya. We all do. #creativesunite
HQ Skate started with humble beginnings. He drew some stuff, had some tees and hoodies printed, and sold them to friends and family. Fast forward a few years and HQ Skate is repped around town via markets and an online store.
Bray’s design inspo is always seeded by hearing a phrase from a friend, through music, or on TV, that resonates and captures his imagination. “I’ll whip out my phone and make another note in the never-ending list of ideas. It may sit there until the end of time, or if I wait for the idea to stew, form on its own, evolve and grow in the back of my mind, it will become fully fleshed and I’ll begin drawing.”
When he’s not working on his HQ Skate designs, Bray is holding down two jobs, playing soccer, coaching an all-ages women’s team and getting up to all manner of shenanigans. A local to Newie since day dot, Bray is a keen advocate of our rad city, a ‘just let it be’ kinda dude, and an artistic powerhouse.
What inspired you to want to make and sell clothing?
I wanted to draw, create and make art, and being stuck in an office doing page reports and booklets for someone just 100% is not for me. So this seemed like the most enjoyable way I could art. The fact that I get to see people wearing it all over the place is a pretty cool feeling.
What’s the main message behind the HQ Skate brand?
I hate this question, hey. All my life from visual arts back in the day to TAFE teachers and peers, everyone seems to want to find the meaning that isn’t actually there. A solid 90% of the art I create is just because I like it, or I wanted to draw it. And this kind of chilled out, ‘just be’ attitude has definitely carried over to my brand. The idea that if it’s something you like to do, and you’re not hurting anyone, then do it, or don’t, whatever. You do you.
Tell me about your dream for an ideal planet…
So, everybody just needs to chill, hey. A little bit of walking in other people’s shoes wouldn’t go astray these days. If 100 different people saw the same car accident then it is perceived 100 different ways, even though they all saw the same action take place. I guess I would just like to see a bit more understanding and empathy from my fellow brain-driven, meat-suit skeletons.
Why do you love Newcastle?
Newcastle is the best for its mass diversity of people; you can see and be inspired by all walks of life just by taking a stroll down Hunter Street on a Saturday morning. And the fact that you’re only ever a hop, skip and a jump from the beach really doesn’t hurt. It’s just a chilled-out city with a little bit of everything you could ever need.
Fresh threads are launched directly via www.hqskate.com and you can also find Brayden’s cool shit at most markets around Newcastle, such as Hunt & Gather and 3 Peas. Follow him on Insta (@hqskate).
Read the full interview at www.coolpeoplecoolthings.com.