Getting To Know: Olly Smith – Brand Manager At Nepenthes

Getting To Know: Olly Smith - Brand Manager At Nepenthes

Hi Olly, firstly please introduce yourself and your role with Nepenthes?

I’m Olly Smith, and I’m Brand Manager for Nepenthes. When I think about it, it’s hard to describe the role concisely however the main focus is making sure our Nepenthes voice is felt overseas as well as Japan. Also working on collaboration projects across Needles, Engineered Garments and South2 West8 and as I’m based in London, making sure our London Store is functioning to the best of its ability. 

With a handful of unique brands and styles involved that are all able to blend and be worn together in a unique world seamlessly, how would you describe the Nepenthes mindset or aesthetic to someone new to the label?

I guess Nepenthes is a physical catalogue, and you take from that catalogue whichever section takes your interests. It could be a love for American Culture, a love for Japanese Craftsmanship or perhaps you have an Outdoor Lifestyle and you want to enhance this experience. It’s really unlimited when I think about it, and I think it’s accessible to many demographics.  

What does a normal day for you look like currently?

Whilst the time at home has of course been frustrating for us all, it has allowed both myself and the company to really sit down and evaluate future projects. Nepenthes has been busy over the past year. We’ve successfully opened two brand new Women’s stores in Osaka and most recently Tokyo. I hope to be able to visit them soon. Closer to home we’ve been working on a new Website which has just launched.

Here at HIP, it’s been great to see Japanese brands embraced so much in the UK in recent years, how do you find this in the case of the Nepenthes London branch and the usual customer you see come through the doors?

The customer that we see in the London store is hard to pinpoint, to be honest with you. Our brands and indeed the broadness of our collections, allow us to float in between the creatives, the professionals and of course a younger audience has also taken a keen interest due to recent projects and collaborations. I find the store to be a very welcoming experience, and now 2 years in we see many regular faces which must mean we’re doing something right. 

With the store being open almost two years now, how has the response been from the people of London? Are there any trends you see, or ways in which Nepenthes pieces are worn by us over here in the UK which may differ to the US and Japan? 

It’s been an eye opening experience for myself. We are situated on a beautiful cobbled walk, surrounded by a multitude of different shops. We’ve been welcomed warmly into the Woburn Walk community and I couldn’t wish for a more fitting location away from where some customers may typically have liked us to be situated. Most definitely we have seen our brands worn in ways we hadn’t imagined previously. Typically our customer tends to mix and match our brands with other brands that are typically mentioned in the same breath when you think of Nepenthes. 

Focusing on this season, which pieces have you been gravitating to personally or got your eye on?

It’s strange isn’t it, because the mindset changes because of the situation we’ve found ourselves in over the past year or so. Now that we seem to be coming out from our homes a little more, I guess it’s time to focus on summer. The Cabana Shirts from Needles come in such variety this season and I very much like the DN Coverall for when it’s not quite warm enough for a Short Sleeve Shirt. New for Engineered Garments this season is the Cardigan Jacket which is such is something you didn’t know you needed until you see it. The Cotton Ripstop will do well, but I’m thinking of picking up the Chambray option. As for S2W8 The Weather Effect Jackets and Boulder Shirts are probably my most worn pieces within the entirety of our in-house Brands.

You recently collaborated with Vans, what else can we expect to see looking towards 2021?

Well, as you may have just seen, perhaps one of our and certainly my largest collaborations came to fruition in the shape of Supreme and South2 West8 last week. A quite unbelievable project which I believe merged the worlds of both brands. I was surprised to see the Tenakra Rod sell out first, I had no idea there was so many Fly Fisherman in the UK.

We have a few more really interesting projects coming up in house, some previous collaborations are being re-ignited as well as some new projects which I hope to be able to speak about soon.

Follow Olly here, Nepenthes London here and browse our latest Nepenthes deliveries from Needles, South2 West8 and Engineered Garments.

Getting To Know: Olly Smith - Brand Manager At Nepenthes London
Getting To Know: Olly Smith - Brand Manager At Nepenthes London Needles
Getting To Know: Olly Smith - Brand Manager At Nepenthes London
Getting To Know: Olly Smith - Brand Manager At Nepenthes London Needles South2West8
Getting To Know: Olly Smith - Brand Manager At Nepenthes London Needles South2West8