Q&A with Creu Clothing

We kick start 2022 with a new Q&A with all round top lad Saul Wilks, the man behind the brilliant Creu Clothing. We had a real in-depth chat with Saul and really enjoyed this one, and hope you do to. Enjoy!

Afternoon Saul, how are you?

I’m very well Dan, thanks for taking the time out to send over some questions.

For those who may not know could you give us the background to Creu Clothing?

I was previously one half of another label called Ardour and when that came to an end, I knew I wanted to continue doing something on my own so I started Creu which was in 2018. I have a full-time job away from the label so I set it up as a passion project first and foremost, somewhere to channel my creative ideas and it’s just grown from that.

What inspired you to start the brand?

I have a real deep-rooted passion for the type of clothing that I do with Creu, it comes from football and being into the clothing scene related to that. I also don’t feel personally satisfied unless I’m doing something creative. Those two elements are basically the fundamental reasons for starting it.

What’s the product you’re most proud of to date and why?

I think I’d have to say the Somerton Parka, the first piece that I done. Not because it’s the best garment in terms of design or quality, but because I achieved my ambition of taking a creative idea through the process to a tangible product. I had a lot of money tied up in those jackets so it was shit or bust for me. I had 45 made and was nervous about how they’d be received, I was really humbled when they sold out in a week. The fact that people wanted to invest their money into something I’d designed was such a good feeling and I was and remain immensely proud of that.

In terms of design and quality then my latest release, the Hazell parka is my best work to date. There’s a definite upward trajectory in terms of quality and design with each new thing I do. That growth is very important to me, it shows that I’m learning and progressing which gives me confidence to explore my ideas more.

How has COVID affected you and your output?

COVID obviously bears so many negative connotations. It’s been horrendous for a lot of people, both physically and mentally. I became a father for the first time in the height of the pandemic. It was a scary time, especially as my partner and I both caught it last Christmas just a month before our son was born. From a creative point of view, I had time to really think about what I wanted Creu to become and the kind of projects I wanted to do under it’s guise. I have sketch pads of ideas, a lot of them came from lock down so for me that’s a positive thing. I think you need to look for positives in an otherwise depressing situation, it keeps the mind and soul healthy.

How have you been keeping busy and positive?

Having a young family has certainly kept me busy, but i wouldn’t change it for the world. The joy of being a Dad is unsurpassed, It has made me a better person. I am often very self-critical and have suffered with depression but if I ever start to feel like that I stop myself and think about what I’ve got and how thankful I am. It’s totally transformed my mindset.

What interests do you have outside of the label?

Following Newport County is one of my greatest passions. If you cut me, I’d bleed amber, so goes the Newportonian adage, ‘amber in the blood’. I’m a lover of Boogie, Funk, Disco and Soul music and collect records. I used to regularly DJ and run a night with some friends called boogie cartel, although that has slowed down the past couple of years. I very much enjoy writing and have an avid love for history, mainly cultural and military. I’m one of these people that if I take an interest in a particular subject, I immerse myself in it and try and read and gain as much knowledge about it as possible. I absorb it like a sponge.

Who are your favourite designers and why?

Obviously Massimo Osti for his ground-breaking research and experimenting with different fabrics. Numerous jackets from his labels are literal works of art, rightly revered for their beauty and complexity.

Secondly, Ralph Lauren. It’s a label that’s timeless, stands the test of time for wearability and the fact that it appeals to such a differing array of people as far apart on the spectrum as possible, makes it very interesting to me. If you can make clothing that appeals to street gangs from Harlem and preppy kids at Ivy league schools, then there’s a certain genius to that.

Thirdly, someone from closer to home, Frazer Moss of YMC. He’s also from Newport so is someone that I greatly admire. You don’t get a lot of designers come out of places like Newport so I take real inspiration from him and what he’s achieved. YMC is a great label, one I’ve enjoyed buying and wearing for many years.

What advice can you give to anyone wanting to channel their creativity but unsure where to start?

Without doubt the best advice I can give is don’t be afraid of throwing yourself into something that you’re passionate about. Life is too short to sit on the side lines and watch it go by without having a crack at something you want to do. If you want something enough and have the drive to go after it, have a pop. Don’t go into something half hearted, have an idea that you believe in, research the field you want to enter and most importantly don’t give up. Having an independent clothing label is not a get rich quick scheme. I don’t do it for the monetary aspect, I do it because I love it and it makes me feel good. Doing something in life that makes you feel good and gives you joy should be paramount for your own wellbeing.

What life lessons have you learnt from running the brand?

That sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. Running an independent label can come with a lot of worry and stress. At the end of the day nobody wants to feel like a failure in life and it’s no different when doing something like this. I’ve had numerous setbacks, but if you have the will to keep going, good things will come. We all get dealt a shit hand from time to time, in all walks of life, it’s how we deal with them that counts. I’ve learned that I have the fortitude to keep going and to believe in myself. I believe everybody has it in them to do the same.

What else inspires your releases?

I am massively inspired by my home town of Newport along with the surrounding industrial and natural landscapes of South Wales. The area is steeped in working class history and culture, I’m very proud of where I’m from. Newport is probably regarded as being dreary and ugly, so I use vivid and bright colours as a reaction to that. The fabrics I use for my jackets are chosen because they’ll form their own unique character with the more wear and weathering they get. The Welsh climate certainly inspires those choices as there’s no better place to wear fabrics that get sculpted by the weather than Wales. Above all Creu is an expression of who I am and the things that I love. It’s very personal to me and I want that to be communicated in the clothes that I create. Whether they’re worn in the hills or on the terraces.

All summed up perfectly as my swing tags read:

‘Creu, meaning to create; Taking inspiration from everyday surroundings, from the Brecon Beacons to the banks of the Usk.

Finally, can you summarise Creu in only 3 words?

Working class ideas.

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