The Blog

Photo Shoot – District 4 – Ho Chi Minh City

Today we are taking the finished Autumn winter footwear samples, fresh off the production line in our Ho Chi Minh factory (South Vietnam) and Haiphong factory (Northern Vietnam) to do a photo shoot. Whenever we travel on the bike its worth taking the camera. Kids traveling on their bikes with their parents is such a part of daily life out on the Vespa and we thought worth putting into the blog.

Sent the shoes in a taxi as we are still not capable of carrying huge suitcases on the back of a bike…On that note, the guy who delivered our fridge freezer a few weeks back put it on the back of his bike and got there before I did. It was strapped to his back with a piece of string fashioned into a rucksack style fastening. You can only be impressed by the simple ingenuity of it all and the ‘can do will do, spend no more than you need’ philosophy.

So arrived at the studio / flat to a girl at the door, who on seeing us told us something in Vietnamese then shut the door. So we knocked again and pointed at the bag of shoes and camera equipment at the back of her flat. With a little reticence she opened the door. I phoned the photographer and found out he was on his way.

In Vietnam business and living generally conjoin into one. There were two sisters living in this flat that doubled as a studio “4Studio”, that seemed to be frequented by around 3-4 people daily. Photographers, graphic artist and one particularly hot girl.. What? I appreciate beauty like the next man. Ever the professionals we got the shoes out and cracked on with the photography.

The flat was in a block of apartments on the 10th floor looking out over HCM City in district 4. A pack of fags, 2 cokes and a bottle of water sets you back around £1.30 in these local areas. Really interesting to compare with the centre of the city where this can cost twice the price. With average wages of a waiter or factory working sitting at around $100 a month this makes sense and all seems to be comparative.

The flat in the block we were in was around $100 a month with bills. So it makes sense to have more people living there. People here pay on average 40% of their wage towards rent. The flats tend to be not as well equipped as ours in the UK at the lower price ranges but there is certainly an equal amount of space.

Our photographer is called THANG. Great name. You say it more like “tang”. He graduated from University in HCM for photography and graphic design. Runs his own business, is 26 and was a cool guy. Quiet but liked Death Metal. Its always the quiet ones. When asked where he goes out in HCM for this he said he didn’t, as it is banned by the government! We forget our freedoms sometimes and these simple conversations make you realise that gigs round the corner are not to be just taken for granted in the UK. We live in an amazing democracy. There are pluses and minuses to all systems but one of our huge pluses is our music choice / freedom.

Vietnam has a habit of suddenly kicking it down with rain. When you got a motor this doesn’t matter, but we don’t. A bit of a wind generally picks up just before rain fall and everyone stops their bikes and chucks on these crazy long cagool/macs. You look like a nutter in them but they do the job. I tore a hole in the neck of mine so i was soaked by the time i reached the studio again.

 

Back to the office to start with putting the images into the computer to develop the catalogue. Time consuming but very satisfying to see 6 months of work start to get into a form ready for print to show to the world..

1 of the 1st shots off the press. With some fresh new nubuck branding, quality nappa upper, leather lining and a new sole unit, the idea is to keep developing our classic range while building in new pieces for us all to rock in July/August next year. Watch this space.

 

Island break in Phu Quoc

Half way through our Vietnam work trip we decided to take a break for a couple of days on the beautiful island of Phu Quoc.

Phu Quoc is a very mountainous and densely forested Island of 1320 sq km; it is 48 km in length from south to north and has a population of approx 80, 000 people. Situated in the Gulf of Thailand 45 km west of Ha Tien on the Vietnamese mainland and 15 km south of the coast of Cambodia, Phu Quoc is ringed with some of most beautiful beaches in Vietnam, and offers the best seafood in the country.

 

Local market District 8 Ho Chi Minh

Today we popped down to the local market, not quite Tescos express! A lovely friendly atmosphere greeted us as we snapped with our cameras pointing in amazement at the local produce available, all the local were keen to have their photos taken and crowded around the camera once it had been taken to check it out on the digital display.

These photos speak for them selves, beautiful people in an amazing place!

Ride home from District 7 (Phu My Hung) – Ho chi Minh

One evening we were riding home to District 8 from District 7, the traffic was normal but just seems so comedy I couldn’t help filming it and popping it on here. It’s like traffic you have never seen, but here in Ho Chi Minh it is the norm and seems to work.

Ho Chi Minh City by night

Vietnam

For the next two months (October to December) I will be working on a couple of print projects for Supremebeing with my good friend Damian (Supremebeing footwear desinger). We are out in Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam. This is where the footwear for Supremebeing is manufactured, and Damian will be working closely with the factory and its team refining the existing product range and designing new shoes for the future seasons to come.

I have decided to try and document this adventure, this is a mixture of my own bog posts and the posts we created for Supremebeing, I hope you find them interesting. Here’s how it all began..

We arrived in one piece and had the craziest 48 hours with no sleep…

 

Graffiti in Brighton

Saw this graffiti in Brighton over the weekend and had to take a snap..

Fixed gear project – Rebel 8 sticker pack

Last year I picked up an old Raleigh racer from the local tip, it cost me a tenner and I though I would turn it into a nice little fixed gear project, winter then came and the frame lived under the stairs whilst I ended up buying an fixed gear bike. After riding around for two months on my new bike one day I got a flat tire and had to leave the bike for a few hours locked up, when I returned it had been pinched! Ah well I thought time to fish out that Raleigh frame and start the project I had thought about the year previously, after a lot of stripping, sanding, priming, spraying not to mention e-baying the results are below and I’m pretty chuffed with it. Stickers by Mike Giant of Rebel 8.

Working in the city???

Working in the centre of Cambridge makes me laugh, this is what I cycle through every day on my way to work, Cambridge has to be one of the only cities in the world that have 15 Red Poll steers (cows) grazing on the common in the centre of the city! I can’t complain because I think it’s great and thoroughly enjoy navigating my way through them each morning, they clearly couldn’t give a monkeys and seem perfectly content.

Stu.. Stu.. Studio September 2010

If it seems that I am never staying put and moving from space to space it’s because I am, this will be my fifth work space since in the last four years however it is also the best so far! Currently I’m based off King St in the centre of Cambridge and the location could not be better It’s right in the centre of town and I’m loving it!