Mr. Saturday is the luxury clothing brand of Toronto-based designer Joey Gollish, a member of HXOUSE’s inaugural cohort. Sold worldwide and shown at Paris Fashion week, Mr. Saturday has been featured on GQ, Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, and worn by the likes of J. Cole and Grace Jones. We chatted with him to discuss the music references in his collections, the tracks that keep his mind stimulated, and the details on his latest charity capsule.
Your Stranger Than Paradise FW20 collection heavily references one of NY’s most infamous underground music venues in the late ’70s, The Mudd Club. What was it about that nightclub that drew you in?
All of my work is about connecting the history of nightlife and culture as a whole. Night clubs are safe havens for marginalized communities, and they are places where things happen first. Especially in fashion, where people get to be whoever they want. You may dress one way at work but you’re going to dress a different way when you go out. And I think that’s true for no matter who you are. Even if you’re David Bowie, you might dress more eccentrically when you’re going out than you do at home. When David Bowie’s at home I’m sure the way he dressed was eccentric to begin with, right? And The Mudd Club was this small club in New York that pretty much started with no money and existed at the same time as Studio54. I tell people if Studio54 was disco and cocaine, this place was punk and heroine. It fostered so many artists on their way up, like Keith Haring, Jim Jarmusch, and Basquiat.
“If Studio54 was disco and cocaine, this place was punk and heroine.”
Fall/Winter 2020 Collection
Were there any specific artists you were channeling in the typography?
Writing for me as always been a really big thing and I’ve always loved typography. A lot of it came from what was available at that time, based on the analog approach to creating things. A lot of it for me came from — in a weird way because it doesn’t look like their typography — but it came from The Cramps. When I was a little kid, growing up skating, I listened to them a lot. Not knowing anything about them, just being like, “I really fuck with the weird sound that’s happening here.” And then discovering things that I liked as a kid, being part of my work through a historical approach is kind of cool. The first graphic I made the collection is based on The Cramps album title, Bad Music For Bad People.
Fall/Winter 2020 Collection
What role did HXOUSE play in your journey to get where you are today?
That program is in its truest form of the word an accelerator and an incubator. If you’re working on something and you’re getting somewhere with it, there’s an opportunity to be taken. At the most basic level you have access to the best mentors in the world who have done things similar to what you’re doing. I have a sounding board that I wouldn’t normally have access to. So you get that cheat code there, to be able to bounce things off some of the best creators in the world, and then beyond that you have the support of them as well. So not only do you have their mentorship when you want to call them or speak to them, but for every single person in my cohort, they believe in us and they believe in what we’re doing. If we have a project that we’re working on and there’s a way they can help, they’re going to do that and they’re going to do everything they can to make it as successful as possible. So it’s sort of been the amplifier and accelerator that I needed to get a foothold in this industry.
“At the most basic level you have access to the best mentors in the world”
I’m sure you were surrounded by a lot of musical talent there, whether that be musicians themselves or creatives such as La Mar Taylor who are obviously so immersed in the music scene. Did that have any influence on your development as an artist?
Yeah, I mean definitely even from a cohort perspective, just finding out what other people listen to and getting that world opened up to me was amazing. And working with La Mar and Joachim, they just have such diverse musical tastes, and they’re so immersed in what the actual reference of what creative project they’re looking at is. So they’ve definitely both opened me up to a world of, “Yes, this is what you like, but this is why you like it, and this is why the person who created what you like created what they created.”
It sounds like music is an integral part to how you approached your label and each of your collections. How else does music play a role in your life?
A huge part of why I’m alone right now is because I like to play music really loud, all the time. Like a deafening silence with music. So I think music is firstly a really easy way to get in a specific mindset depending on what I’m doing or what I want to feel. So that just goes to my personal catalog of things that I know make me feel a specific way. But beyond that, because what I do is documenting the history of specific night clubs, those night clubs also always have a specific sound. Even if it’s eclectic, it’s usually based around one thing. Like The Mudd Club. Although it was a punk club, something that was very punk was playing things that people wouldn’t expect. So it was super punk to play disco at a punk club because punks hate disco, you know what I mean? Haha. So when I’m researching a place, I usually get super super immersed in the music, and while I’m designing that collection, I pretty much only listen to the music that was played at that place.
What was your approach to curating these tracks?
This is just currently what’s going on for me. It’s super eclectic, because one of the most interesting things about quarantine is only being in one environment all the time. I think normally we can go places to get into specific mindsets or get a release. I gotta get out of the house, I’m going to go to the coffee shop or I’m going to go for a drink, I’m going to go see my friends, I’m going to go do this, go do that. But we don’t really have those external stimulations to create internal states anymore. In a perfect world, we can just rely on ourselves and our brains. But we’re not all yogis, so we need something. And I think music is a great way to do that. So this is a curation of different things that keep me feeling good and help me feel a specific way. No matter who you are, there should be something in here that opens your eyes up to a different style of music that you haven’t listened to before, or an artist that you haven’t considered that will help you through your quarantine. And then, even as we live outside of that, the mix is meant to inspire thought and creativity in somebody’s daily life, no matter what they’re doing.
“The mix is meant to inspire thought and creativity in somebody’s daily life, no matter what they’re doing.”
12.38 is off of Gambino’s new album. I’ve loved Childish Gambino, like forever. He used to do this thing online called Derrick Comedy before he was in music at all, which was insane. But I’ve been a big fan of this guy for a long time and I think that he always has some great surprises when it comes to an album. This track specifically has a big change up in it. It’s got a mix of that funkadelic vibe which is super apparent on his last album. It’s a bit more poppy, then it just switches up into this 21 Savage verse which just has a lot of energy behind it. 21 is one of those guys whose voices is quite monotone but for some reason he carries a lot of energy. So this gets me in that vibe of just being happy and floating on a wave of positive energy, which I either listen to in the morning when I’m starting to work or mid day if I need a refresh. Pretty much anytime I need a refresh to be in a positive mood where I’m okay with my environment and accepting of the fact that there’s nowhere to go. This makes me feel just poppy and energetic.
This is a disco track, I guess. I don’t know. This for me is full of that soulful energy, for when I’m thinking and not writing things down or actually creating. I like to loop around a lot, and this is that glass of wine or scotch at the end of the day. Kind of dancing around, thinking of ideas.
This album just dropped a couple weeks ago. He never does this anymore, but Virgil Abloh actually did the cover art on it. It’s a Caravaggio painting of David and Goliath that Virgil put a chain on, which obviously ties into his whole philosophy of ready-made art. So the album cover is obviously a huge draw from a stylistic and cultural perspective, but the song 327 feels like a new version of old school hip hop. It’s pretty calm and pretty lyrically focused. It’s kind of like a quiet, serious hip hop vibe.
This next one is completely different. I’m pretty sure it’s a cover. I’m not 100%, maybe it’s the original one, but I’ve definitely heard a lot of different versions of this song. Definitely a big part of me on the inside is a bit of a hippie. And so when I’m feeling like a hippie, maybe when I’m having my morning coffee or something, I like listening to this. All the lines are like, “I danced myself right out the womb, is it strange to dance so soon?” Just super weird lines and a really free spirited vibe which kind of gets me into the same headspace.
This one is kind of on that same note of songs where there are so many versions of. This is potentially one of the most covered songs of all time. On my Spotify, I think I have 9 or 10 in a row of this. I’m pretty sure Sinatra’s is the original. I think this song is super cool because it walks you through the life of someone. And different people, when they cover it, insert their own ad–lib lyrics. It kind of makes me feel like I live in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood or some sort of Manson-oid era. When I first heard this song I was probably a kid, but recently I’ve been listening to a lot more. And I’d listen to all 10 versions while I’m working. Some of them are instrumental, some of them are disco, some of them are spoken word or that weird ’60s vibe where 7 people are singing at one time and it sounds like a family choir. But when I heard this song I thought it’d be so cool to have a movie that was entirely scored with different versions of this song, both instrumental and not. I think just listening to it gets me into a good creative space.
This is one of those house tracks where somebody sent it to me and it was one of the first things I’ve heard in a while where I was like, “Oof, what is this?” This is definitely a dance track for me. Like I’ll definitely listen to it to think. This whole album or whatever by him is super cool. It just starts with this reverse high-hat, and it’s just a really solid build of minimal house. It gets me into a good thinking space, but I definitely find myself dancing to it.
I’ll Try Anything Once, the Julian Casablancas version. Not You Only Live Once by The Strokes. Which is also a good song, but I prefer this version. The Strokes is my favourite band, and I definitely have a huge man crush on Julian Casablancas. This song has all the feels for me. I literally listened to this two nights ago, standing out under the stars having a glass of wine, smoking, and just thinking about my life. I think that the way he tells stories through songs is super candid and usually pretty poignant. And this one definitely gets me in my feels if that’s what I’m going for.
If you’re a kid from Toronto and you have an ambition, whether it’s creative or it’s not, I don’t think you could hear Snowchild and not be crazy inspired to just keep pursuing whatever you’re pursuing. It makes you think, “Other people have done this, you’re on the right track, just keep doing what you’re doing.” It’s just such a source of motivation for me. And the beat on that one is crazy. It’s super reminiscent of his old stuff.
“I don’t think you could hear Snowchild and not be crazy inspired to just keep pursuing whatever you’re pursuing.”
This is one of my close friends. He put out this really eclectic EP. He showed it to me like a year and a half ago and at that time, he was just a singer songwriter. Like acoustic kind of stuff, or bluesy. And he just made this EP on his machine. I think he’s a Logic guy, I don’t think he’s an Ableton guy, but he just made it like one weekend in his basement or something. And he just didn’t put it out for a long time. It’s super eclectic, pretty up beat and weird, a bit experimental. It’s been pretty positively received by Canadian music press which makes me happy for him, and this song Vibe is my favourite one off that.
And the last one, Lush by Four Tet. I’m sure there’s a genre name so I’m not going to try to make one up in my head, but that song Lush is percussively driven, keys and drums song. That for me is on that jazz wave of like, “Let’s put some music on that’s new and kind of out there, but doesn’t have lyrics, that helps me think.” This one definitely comes on after midnight a lot if I’m still working. I listen to a lot of Four Tet, but this is the one I’ve been listening to the most lately so I wanted to include it. It’s definitely my late night working vibe.
We noticed you’ve been active online promoting your SS20 Artist Relief Capsule. Can you tell us about that and what inspired you to get involved?
I’ve never felt so grateful for the community that we have. I feel like everything we do, I’m always really pleasantly surprised with how many people are there to support and how many people are really behind what we do. The idea behind this one was pretty simple. My parents are both doctors. My mom is a healthcare professional; she’s an anesthesiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital and is working on the front lines. And at the same time, she’s the Vice Dean of U of T medicine. So the topic of COVID and what’s going on pretty much hit home, and we were talking a lot about different things I could do. Our main factory was making masks and other PPE for healthcare professionals and they were doing crazy numbers on them. They’re doing a great job, so how can I support that? And then the second part was what can we do to give back to the community that fostered us?
How did you land on the TOArtist COVID Response Fund?
I wanted to give back something that could really make a difference. I was talking to La Mar about it, he was like, “Why don’t you just donate to what we’re doing? There are more kids that have applied to the TOArtist Response Fund than they had raised for, and they’re still raising money for it. If you think you could donate $10,000 to it, you’re going to know that you helped 10 kids. And those kids are in your city, in a community that you participated in, that you benefit from, so it’d be great if you could give back to them.” I was like, “You’re 100% right. Okay, let’s raise $10,000. We’ll donate half of what we’re making to the cause, so let’s try to make $20,000 worth of stuff.” Then the other half is going to go to our factory and paying our staff.
“Those kids are in your city, in a community that you participated in, that you benefit from.”
That’s incredible, thank you to both your mom and yourself for all of your work. How has it been going so far?
When we launched, it sold out – we raised $20,000 in 24 or 36 hours or something. The goal now is to get the total donation up to $100,000. We just did a restock last week and that stuff has been selling. There’s some limited units left. We were actually just featured in GQ as the number one menswear product of the week, which really pushed that through. We have limited sizing left on the website but we’re doing another restock and actually dropping 2 new pieces with that. And all of that will continue to support the cause. Every time somebody buys, their name gets added to a list of supporters, so it’s super cool to see that list grow.
Anything else you want to plug?
Keep your eye out for the next collection, but if you can support the cause and want to be cozy in what I would call my favourite hoodie and sweats ever, then get on the site.