An idea that started in California that somehow landed itself and firmly planted roots in the now thriving hub of Australia’s coastal Paradise, Byron Bay. A funny story really, as more often than not with clothing companies we see this trend develop the other way around - That is, of course, because Thrills was never meant to be a clothing brand.
Towards the back end of the 2000’s, Brooke, Tabitha and Ryan were well and truly fed up with their Californian careers and were looking for something new to sink their teeth into. The vintage motorcycle scene in the states was beginning to take off and they saw the interest of Australians peak, so they wasted no time and began bringing vintage motorbikes into Australia from the US and Japan under the guise of “Cheap Thrills Cycles”. With a background in the clothing business too hard to ignore, it was only a matter of time before they found themselves neck-deep in t-shirts and denim. Early in the Spring of 2011, “Thrills” was born.
Fast forward almost 10 years later, the brand is well and truly established in its home town in Byron Bay. The American roots still shine through in everything that Thrills do. Their DNA is one fuelled by a passion for vintage clothing, motorcycles, and music - A infectious passion that’s still as strong as ever. If you take a look at the brand’s daily activity you’ll see that punk rock, heavy metal and vintage motorbikes are a daily occurrence.
As with all things, a touch of sensibility and maturity creep in over time, the rough edges get rounded and the attention to detail is honed. Thrills has the look and feel of a brand approaching it’s first decade. The aesthetic, both in design and visuals, has developed a sense of class, with Tabitha McGregor at the helm of the women’s department, Brooke McGregor spearheading the men’s, along with a mess of various creatives, from motorcycle mechanics to photographers to musicians, too. Thrills are a culture-defining brand in every aspect.
It has been quite some time since we last touched base with the team, and seeing as they have just released their Spring range we thought it a good a time as ever to ask them a few qs.
Good to hear from you guys, do you mind letting us know who we’ve got? What’s your role at Thrills?
You too. My name is Jacob Pumphrey and I work on Marketing/Events here at Thrills.
You have just released your newest range for Spring, we’re seeing a mix of vintage tones, refined shapes, muted prints and subtle textures and of course that touch of grunge that you can always find with Thrills would you mind giving us an insight in to the design and production process?
Our design team work extremely hard to create pieces that look and feel like your favourite one-off vintage items. This can be anything from a band or motorcycle t-shirt to a well-worn retro gym tee or military-inspired jacket or one-piece romper, and of course we will always ensure that we have all denim categories covered. We have been travelling a lot the past few years sourcing graphic and textile inspiration from all over the place, and trying our best to recreate these with sustainable fabrics where we can – Japan and the US are always hot spots for us.
We mentioned earlier that Thrills has always prided itself on its connection to music and motorcycles, can you give us a little insight into how all this came about and how it has stayed alive in the business?
The motorcycle thing comes from a long running passion for vintage objects - From bikes to office furniture. We even shoot the majority of our campaigns on film. The first ever Thrills employee, Yui, has a workshop in the office and still imports and builds vintage Harleys on the daily. This passion is where our love for 70s and 80s punk and heavy metal came from and still steers the majority of the office’s music taste. We are lucky enough to have a host of bands working with us that are extremely active in the Australian music scene at present and this has made it easy for us to keep this passion alive.
What does the next few years look like for you guys?
We’ve got a lot of events coming up across arts and music all around the country, so keep an eye out for all of those as they are never one to miss. From the design side, you will be seeing more sustainable premium fabrics such as hemp, linen and organic cotton as well as the usual staples you know and love. From an office side of things, we’re always looking forward to summer, longer days means more time in the ocean or in the garage and living where we do there’s always a good show on somewhere too.
You mentioned that you have been working a lot more with sustainable fabrics, we have just had a bunch of your new hemp products come through the warehouse and it looks amazing, are we going to be seeing more of this?
Yep, you certainly will! Hemp was one of the first sustainable fabrics we started to work with here and we love it, Hemp crops are organically grown, they use a lot less water than cotton and they improve the structure of the soil they’re grown in. As a fabric it is extremely strong, naturally mould resistant and UV resistant, meaning each item you buy will last you a lot longer.
It’s not just stopping at hemp though, hopefully you have started to notice more organic cotton, linen and recycled fabrics through our ranges too, we want to continue broadening our horizons and offering our customers plenty of ways to buy more sustainable products that they can feel good about purchasing.