It’s hard to really pinpoint what the initial vision of the Montreal-based streetwear brand was, but what is clear is that Setiz Taheri, Koku and Gildas Awuye needed each other to make it happen. Whether they met via faith, chance, or sheer luck, they were meant to meet for a purpose: Atelier New Regime.
“I knew I needed to grow from what I was capable of so I had to team up with somebody,” explains Setiz, who was already working on a “passion project” selling slogan t-shirts from his trunk when he met Koku. Later, Koku’s younger brother Gildas developed an interest in the project and joined.
“[Gildas] needed to come on board. It wasn’t even that he wanted to, it was a must for us to work this way,” explains Setiz.
I interviewed the founders of the now established streetwear brand, launched in 2009, in their sole retail location in Montreal at 4632 Notre-Dame St W. In the store, which is completely orange (New Regime’s signature colour), items are minimal. Clothes and accessories from the brand’s pre-fall 2017 collection and some small capsule collections, like their “Home Of The Hungry” line, are currently available on a few racks lined up against the wall, and in one accessory display located in the middle of the shop.
Today, the company’s brand vision is more defined; focused on the future and on a brand that wants to stay relevant for years to come.
“In the long term, we want to create something that’s long-lasting and that could have an impact on art, culture and possibly change the world,” explains Gildas. “I think as individuals we all strive for greatness and doing more, so the goal is to create something that is going to last a lifetime and not just sell a couple of t-shirts and make some money. I think that’s a part of who we are as people.”
At the brand’s headquarters on Notre-Dame, it’s impossible to not get transported into the New Regime lifestyle as soon as you walk into the store and the door behind you closes. The orange painted windows allows you to completely disconnect from the outside world and once inside, connect with the New Regime ethos. T-shirts with the slogans “We learn all our gang shit from the government” and “Tout va bien”, possess a sense of humour, but also a certain rawness.
While the brand’s vision and goal wasn’t as clear back in 2009, creating streetwear was an obvious choice.
“It was the easiest way to express yourself and the essence of streetwear is kind of printing on t-shirts,” explains Setiz. The brand has since evolved from t-shirts into other product categories like hats and footwear, outerwear and most recently bottoms.
The brand vision, lifestyle and overall design has been inspired by the founders’ everyday life, and seems to come naturally to them.
“We get inspired by our experiences, and we get inspired by other people’s experiences,” explains Setiz. “We’re on this journey to kind of tell a story, which is a part of our mission and vision as well.” “In Montreal,” says Gildas, “you have so many different things that you get to see, so it really opened up our minds I think and helped us creatively, and also showed us what’s possible.”
Their pre-fall 2017 collection, now in-store, is themed “hustler”, while their official Fall and Winter collection will be an extension of that theme, featuring cozier items such as sweatpants and outerwear, created with Montreal’s harsh winters in mind.
When Setiz, Koku and Gildas talk about what’s to come, I can see the excitement in their eyes. They have nothing but high hopes and ambitions for the brand, and with good reason. New Regime is clearly making its mark on streetwear and the fashion industry as a whole.
In 2016, the brand was invited to do a presentation at Montreal’s Fashion & Design Festival. The brand has also collaborated with Montreal retailer Off The Hook on an all-velour capsule collection, and there are more collaborations on the way, confirms Gildas.
If the founders have reached any form of business success, they say they have their families and their team to thank.
“Entrepreneurs are not just these people who do stuff on their own. They’re a success because there are so many people behind us to support us, and when we’re down, they’re there to keep pushing and believing in us. If we didn’t have those families, I don’t think we would be where we are right now,” says Gildas.
For the future, the three co-founders completely agree on what lies ahead and it consists of more growth, more life, and more everything. “We have plans to collaborate with artists who we respect and who have an impact on art and culture. We want to get together and create something that has an impact. We have more collaborations coming up, more art installations – more of everything that we’re doing now.”