Interview :: Teik from Halfsleeve

June 22nd 2012

Halfsleeve is a clothing and lifestyle concept store stocking labels Huf, Only NY, 10 Deep, Mishka, North Face JPN and Rockwell by Parra amongst a bunch of others. Their latest range ‘Native Son’ takes Aboriginal prints and cultural totems to the streets. FBi’s Jackie Leewai speaks to owner, Teik Chew.

Jackie: Tell us about the ‘Native Son’ creative concept and design, particularly with the feature of Aboriginal prints and cultural totems?

Teik: When we started sourcing for the current range late last year, we stumbled across these great Australian fabrics. We knew we HAD to incorporate them in the range somehow. Aesthetically, they were too dope NOT to use. Also, there has been a noticeable rise in the use of Aztec patterns and Native American prints in our industry recently, which is all good and well, but didn’t really reflect us. So as a reaction to that trend, we thought this was the perfect way to shout out to the forefathers of OUR home. Everything started with the caps. We were so psyched on how crazy they came out we decided to incorporate the fabrics into a few more pieces in the range.

There’s a tee and sweatshirt with the line ‘F*ck Your Ethnicity’, also a feature track of Kendrick Lamar. It’s a forward statement but works in the range, let alone how we should be living day-to-day. What’s that about?

Firstly, Kendrick is THE SHIT. We’re total fans. Secondly, the lyrics of that particular track we felt were a perfect fit with what our brand stands for. Being an Australian brand it means we represent a lot of different backgrounds – from our total mixed-bag family at the brand to our super diverse customer base. So when Section.80 dropped and we heard that first track, we were immediately drawn to it. Plus, he puts it so damn eloquently… Haha.

Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Goddammit
That don’t mean shit to me
Fuck your ethnicity

Have peeps been getting into the new range?

We’re getting really good feedback on the range from our customers. Blogs and mags have been down with it too, which is an added bonus.

Good looking models in the look-book. Are they a family?

Oh yeah, they’re our fave family of all time. Sandy (mum), Chris (dad) and Marley (little man) are just so goddamn steezy that we knew one day we’d love to shoot with them. So when they agreed, even though they were all pretty much knocked out with the flu that day, we were psyched. Sandy, who’s fam hails originally from Egypt and Nigeria, came here when she was super young, Chris, who’s fam is from Hong Kong, was born here, and Marley too, so in terms of representing the themes behind this range, you couldn’t dream up a better match. Props to Tobias Rowles ( for all the shots too, he’s the best.

Halfsleeve has been based in Surry Hills for a few years now. How has that been for your store?

It’s been great. We’ve been here 4 years now and there’s no other place we can see the shop being. The locals are the best, they’re our type of people, you know. Man, we live here, we eat here, we party here. End of story.

And Surry Hills is featured throughout your different ranges (i.e. Surry Hills Scumbags Snapback cap). You guys are proud citizens obviously?

Well the whole Scumbags thing started because at one stage we had a lot of brands from New York in the shop. We still do actually. But yeah, back then, half the customers would walk out with tees and caps saying Brooklyn or New York on them. Which is all good and well, but when we started our own brand off we just wanted to make sure we rep’d our own people.

Can we expect another range from Halfsleeve this year?

Most definitely! Keep watch for SS13 around Sept/Oct.

What: HALFSLEEVE Native Son range
Where: The corner of Wentworth Ave and Goulbourn St, Surry Hills.


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