#2250 The facts of life

1. It’s been a while since I wrote one of these – or anything of any real substance on this here blog – but I’ve learned a thing or two over the past couple of months, so here goes nothing: When people ask me what the difference is between New Zealanders and Americans, I always respond, “Americans are friendlier, more open, and know how to sell themselves. New Zealanders are reserved, judge first and ask questions later, and react negatively to anybody who thinks too highly of themselves.” On my recent trip back home, I realised just how much my new country-of-residence had rubbed off on me. My Mother took me aside one day, and said, “Gosh you talk about yourself a lot. You know it’s not illegal to ask somebody else a question about their life, right?” Nothing brings you back down to earth quicker than spending a week with a bunch of people who are not in the least bit impressed by your anecdotes of dinner parties with ex members of NSYNC.

2. Something I’ve noticed: Just how real the movie Hannah Montana is. You know how it goes – city slicker gets sent to the farm for a reality check that there’s more to life than fame, money and gargantuan egos. A Kiwi quality that I’d forgotten about is humility. When you’re forced to blow your own trumpet all day in order to get ahead, you can start to believe the hype.

3. When I was in New Zealand, I worked harder than I’ve worked in years; 14 hour days running around the city for Little Brother, shooting lookbooks, taking meetings, sampling, working on fits, choosing colours, writing product descriptions, doing press, and everything else you can imagine might be involved in the day-to-day operation of a menswear label. God damn it felt good to be busy. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Downtime is the enemy of success.

4. The day I arrived in Auckland, my brother in law read a passage from a multi-millionaire business mogul/self-help guru’s book which went something like this: “Do you take full responsibility for your actions?” “I’m not sure.” “Have you ever blamed someone else for something that went wrong?” “Yes.” “Then you’re not taking full responsibility for your actions. Successful people understand that there’s only one person they can control, and that’s themselves.” Like all first time endeavours, my Spring/Summer Little Brother collection was not a mirror image of my initial ideas; my idealistic imaginings of what being a creative director entailed were simply that: idealistic imaginings. I spent a lot of time on that first range saying, ‘I’m more a big picture kind of guy. I don’t do details.’ Guess what happened? Details fell through the cracks. My number one priority in working on range number two is not designing the coolest clothes, it’s getting the systems locked down; working strategically and getting good at the details. Much to my surprise, I’m having a lot more fun this time round.

5. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (where I write most of my blog posts here in Los Angeles), does one dollar refills on iced tea! Another thing I’ve learned. Albeit three minutes ago. They also kick you off the internet for 10 minutes if you’ve been online for two hours. Learned that one the hard way.

6. I’ve seen a string of god awful movies this year (The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy, Total Recall and Savages) and some brilliant films (Moonrise Kingdom, To Rome With Love, Ruby Sparks). Another great one, just seen this week, was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. If you’ve read the book you won’t be disappointed, the casting is amazing, the way it takes you straight back to high school days is terrifying and it makes you root for the protagonist in a way I haven’t experienced in ages. My only criticism is Emma Watson’s American accent, but she’s got such a lovely sounding voice that you can’t hold it against her for long.

7. Quote of the day: “Anxiety is energy without a goal.” My Dad tells me that all the time. It’s true.

8. How good is Alison Leonard’s Easy Workday on The Breeze? I listened to it the whole time I was driving around Auckland. Song of the week: Water Runs Dry by Boyz II Men. So good.

9. Katherine Lowe and I are hard at work on the next lot of THUGGED OUT SINCE CUB SCOUTS tees, dropping in the next six weeks in at least two new colourways (hopefully three, if Katherine stops being so conservative). Look out!

10. The Little Brother Wish You Were Here tees and sweaters drop into store on Monday, October 15! (And FYI, The above photo was shot by Katherine Lowe and features Karl from Clyne.)

11. Be happy. Don’t be unhappy, be happy.


share on TumblrShare on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter


  1. Maggie says

    Great to read your ‘Facts of Life’ Ise. I’ve really missed them! And love the ‘Wish You Were Here’ tees and your model – so cute! Looking forward to seeing them in the shops. And go #11 !!!

  2. alostseamstress says

    Sometimes I feel like I should leave NZ. Then I realize I may actually have to be nice and listen to people go on and on about themselves. And I can’t handle that.
    Signed with a dash of happy.

  3. anonymous says

    ahhh what a relief to see that you have managed to spin the somewhat conservative ways of us Kiwis into that of humility.. having just arrived from 3 years in London I am struggling to find my way in Auckland. Thank you for helping me to look at it in a different light.

  4. Andrew HHM says

    is it harder to make it in NZ or NY? Are there any tall-poppy choppers overseas? BTW great seeing you in NZ. I learn something new every time I see you.

  5. Juliet says

    ARE YOU KIDDING? Alison Leonard’s radio voice is so gross! “Why, helllllloooo there”…it’s like she’s trying to seduce the radio mic. VOMIT.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *