Urban Industry

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Tom Kirkby Q&A

September 30, 2013

1. Hello Tom, can you introduce yourself and tell our readers what you do?

I'm Tom, founder of Breaks Magazine & Breaks Agency and most people who meet me for the first time think I'm a dickhead. I'm from Leeds.

2. As editor of Breaks Mag, you’re just about to launch your new issue (Tuesday 8th October). What can we look forward to checking out in this quarter’s edition?

This issue is without a doubt our best yet. Featuring Jeff Staple, Grind London, Tom Trago, Elijah Butterz, Chris Cole, Keith Hufnagel, Nigel Sylvester, aNYthing, kriss Kyle, King Apparel, an Ode to the Stan Smith, Louise Chen plus fashion editorials and some columns from writers more talented than I. I'm bricking it because fuck knows how Issue 6 is going to top this!

This is also our most 'comment' heavy issue, something I always wanted to do. I never want to shy away from our opinion, and I'm done with blogs that will only post regurgitated press releases. We always had a 'build it and they will come' mentality, knowing that if our content was good enough people would share our site and our audience would grow. That is currently what’s happening, and it's off the strength of our original content.

Jeff Staple fucks with us, you should too.

3. You originally started out with Breaks of 10 before changing to Breaks Mag. Why did the change come about, and did it give you a chance to start afresh?

I did Breaks of 10 for three years, and I guess I kinda touched on why I binned it off in my answer above. I was writing about things I loved, but I was also posting the same bait press releases like every other streetwear blog does. I didn't want to be part of that process, and working in digital marketing and actually being on the other side of that press release situation made me very jaded towards the process.

As well as that, nobody was providing a magazine or site with the kinda content that me and my friends wanted to read. We're all from Skate & BMX but all love streetwear and music and photography and there just hasn't been any publication, online or otherwise, that has embraced that since Document+1 went under a few years back. We're now filling that void.

4. Your day job sees you looking after marketing duties for King Apparel. How is it working for one of the longest-running British streetwear brands? Have you learned a lot about the industry since you started with them?

It's great, there's a lot of history here, the brand just had its 10th birthday and you can't buy that kinda of experience. I already knew a lot about the industry, hence my position here. I also currently work with indcsn, Grand Scheme, Quintin and Swallows & Daggers through Breaks Agency.

5. Your background is originally in BMX, right? Do you see much crossover between BMX and streetwear? Do recent collabs like The Hundreds x Shadow Conspiracy tick the right boxes for you?

I've ridden BMX for 11 years and it's the reason I first picked up a camera, first opened photoshop, and first started a blog. I still ride as much as my schedule allows and it played an important part in making me who I am.

Personally I'm stoked that BMX is getting wider recognition, and people who don't ride are starting to be aware of our sport in the same way they're aware of skateboarding. BMX content is appearing more and more on places like Hypebeast and just recently both myself and Nigel Sylvester did a Hypebeast Essentials where we both included our bikes, plus through Nike and Gatorade Nigel is now appearing on billboards all over the world.

The Hundreds collab is dope too, this is another example of the above, and I'm really happy that they did it with Shadow, who are pretty much the most legit BMX brand about. The collab could have been so bait but they smashed it, so props to them. I actually spotted the collab in the Hundreds NYC store back in July, without even realising it: https://www.king-apparel.com/blog/2013/07/new-york-part-1/

6. Finally, it’s getting to that time of year again where we all start looking back and making best-of lists. Any particular highlights of 2013 for you so far, either personally or in the world of fashion/music/culture as a whole?

My 2013 highlight was travelling to Germany for 10 days with my friends to go ride. We tripped by train from Düsseldorf to Cologne and ended up in Berlin. We rode all day, got drunk every night and it reminded me how much I love travelling and riding BMX.

I've also been lucky enough to go to New York twice in the last few months and through that have hung out with some really awesome people, some of which are being featured in Breaks Magazine Issue 5. That was a highlight for sure; it's been a good year for gaining air miles.

CHECK OUT BREAKS MAG HERE

SHOP ALL KING APPAREL HERE

by SeanM


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