HJUL Outerwear: An Interview with Toni Pavic
Apart from with his day job as an architect, Toni works on his passion for clothing through the HJUL outerwear brand and is also currently busy preparing for the arrival of his newborn. We catch up over the phone to share his story with our readers.
Hi Toni. Tell us about your inspiration for HJUL, and where the idea came from.
I’ve always enjoyed making clothes from a young age but my passion for riding bikes really started around 1998 when I was a student in Milan. Everyone was riding a bicycle to get around because it felt really free to move about as you pleased, not needing to wait for public transport or a taxi. The idea of making urban clothes related to biking became quite feasible when Aleksandra and I moved to Shanghai, China, where access to garment manufacturing was a strong motivation for us to create HJUL.
Tell us about a HJUL product you are proud of making and what’s the most liked item by your customers.
Customers really like the wax cotton jackets. As for me I’m always trying to improve every product with each production round. Trying to find the simplest way possible to provide good looking functionality, like adding a hood zipper or snap buttons from one batch of the wax cotton jackets to the next. It’s always the next new product that I feel most proud of (for the moment), like our new backpack!
What would you advise or share based on your everyday experience of cycling and how to make it more chic and/or fun.
I really like cycling but its not something I have much time to do leisurely, it’s almost always for commuting to work and getting around. So for me to get some enjoyment, I make every trip into a mini race… even if it didn’t quite start out to be a race, it almost always ends up being one. Trying to get somewhere fast and competing against the traffic is fun for me and brings some excitement to my everyday rides.
What’s your current bike setup?
I’m riding a Brother (English brand) fixie with 725 Reynolds tubing. It has a front rack because it adds so much utility to my rides.
Where are your current favourite hang outs or where do you love to take a bike ride to?
Living in London, we enjoy heading to Soho because it is always crowded has a great mix of restaurants, shops and bars. Shoreditch and Hackney are also very cool neighbourhoods.
Could you share some information about your up and coming product designs?
We spend a lot of time experimenting with fabrics. After out collaboration with New Balance we have more of an interest in collaborations. I’m currently working with a Chinese performance apparel brand, designing a messenger bag. Stay tuned for its release around October.
What sort of bike will you want to get next?
Its been great riding a fixie but I’m thinking of getting a Cargo Bike (Long John) as its more suitable for parents ;).
When will you visit New Zealand? And what would you like to do here.
Probably not a for short while until our child is ready to travel. (maybe in a year?) We would definitely love to check out mother nature. We hear NZ is full of beautiful landscapes. We would also like to visit a few cities and have a relaxing family trip.
Tell us about the people that inspire you and why.
I think that making something ‘simple’ is not easy, as things are reduced to their essence, its beauty or mistakes become more apparent. I get inspiration from great minds in different fields, for example, in fashion I think Junya Watanabe is doing amazing things by taking simple items like a workwear jacket and transforming them with perfectly made details. Music wise I’m really into The Clash as they are for any age and any life situation. In architecture, Le Corbusier remains my biggest inspiration, a visionary who was not entirely understood at his time but even today, everything he sketched, painted, created is appreciated as masterpiece of art and he is still a huge source of inspiration for all the top architects and designers today. My trip to Chandigarh, the city entirely designed by Le Corbusier and his cousin, was one of the most amazing experiences ever. I hope and I believe my design has a part of this music, architecture and fashion mixed with functionality in it.
Thank you Toni!