Paris Fashion Week’s Late Night Soirée with Saintwoods
Paris Fashion Week’s Late Night Soirée with Saintwoods
WORDS: NOAH PHAM | PHOTOS: JASON RENAUD, GLENJAMN, AND AUBREY HANNAH
Incubated in Montreal, Nathan Gannage and Zach Macklovitch are the masterminds behind Saintwoods, the brand that’s fostered an ecosystem for fashion, hospitality, and throwing some of the best parties worldwide. Oh, and they’ve recently launched their own line of Vodka also. How else are you going to fuel your own creative fires? Started in 2006, Saintwoods has been the cultural frontrunners for putting on Canada’s already growing scene. With absolutely no signs of burning out, the two have kept a close ear to what’s happening globally, and have applied that to their own values to create the ever changing DNA that is what Saintwoods is today.
Apt. 200 is the sister to Saintwoods and houses two of Canada’s most eclectic night clubs. It’s hosted some of Canada’s biggest artists from Kaytranada to The Weeknd, and have brought in guests like Virgil and Post Malone. But it’s far from static in terms of staying within their hometown. Apt. 200’s party crew has brought their parties across oceans; to Miami for Art Basel, LA pop-ups (which will actually be an official club soon), and just wrapped up a soiree to cap off this year’s Paris Fashion Week. We had a chance to talk with the duo more on how they’ve skyrocketed all of their ventures with keeping a balanced head on their shoulders.
If you missed out on this event, you can purchase an exclusive Saintwoods x Basic Space PFW t-shirt here.
Tell us about each of your roles for Saintwoods, Apt. 200, and the Vodka brand?
Zach: It’s a tough question to answer. Myself and Nate kind of act as coaches and quarterbacks I would say for the mentioned products. When it comes to SuWu, Apt 200, or bar and restaurant stuff, we’ve been there for the original concept development, to design, product offering and music programming. Similar to our clothing and our vodka, we work with different partners and our amazing team in each one. We like to think that we drive the conversation on how we want to take it and where the product starts and goes.
Nate: I was having this conversation with someone the other day. As you’re getting started as an entrepreneur and even through different levels of success by reach, you have to be wearing different hats and doing everything from marketing to accounting, being the CEO to the janitor, whatever needs to get done you need to do it. Like Zach said we have a great team, but our day to day does vary especially with all the different projects we have going on.
How did you get started? What was the first entity?
Zach: Saintwoods was the original brand that kicked it all off. It started off as a multi-faceted lifestyle brand although at the time it wasn’t something like “oh we’re going to create a lifestyle brand.” It was more so that different things we’re interested in whether it’s events, music; we used to run a music blog as well. There was always a merch offering. From the get go, it was a multi faceted brand and through that and over the years of having it grow, it became a prevalent name in Montreal and Canada in general and doing events in NY, Miami, and Paris, that opened up opportunities to get into hospitality projects. The first one being SuWu, our smaller bar and restaurant, and second, being Apt.200 which has become our flagship destination that we wanted to roll out into other markets, Toronto being our second expansion. In Spring 2020, the LA iteration of that will be the first expansion outside of canada. Through all that, clothing was always a part of the brand so over time we saw a good response and started taking that more seriously and continued to do so. And the vodka was a project we had on the backburner. Owning our own bars and hospitality projects gave us more lanes of distributions that had us take it more seriously. So you pass 3-4 years of working on that, and we did a soft launch in the past year and hoping to really roll it out simultaneously with Apt.200 in LA.
How’d you find yourself in the shoe’s you’re in?
Zach: We both didn’t study business at all. Let alone hospitality or fashion design, I’m a poli sci and philosophy major and Nate is international development studies, which is basically macro economics and political science. One thing that I found that was always interesting is that when you get older and self aware, we’ve been interested in the way culture moves in big populations and cities and in history, sort of in a sociology kind of sense. That reality of that understanding for different cultures and different people became very paramount in everything we do. So when we’re throwing a party, or designing, or opening up a bar, it was always about establishing cultures or communities in all kinds of different places.
How was the culture laid out in Montreal when you first started?
Nate: Zach and I aren’t really latched onto one scene. We’re pretty open minded in terms of friend circles we have or the different things that inspire us. We were going to all sorts of different events from concerts, bottle service clubs, obscure music genre parties, and afterparties. We got a wide spectrum of events and had fun at these events. For us it was like we were always Saintwoods whether it changes in aesthetic or the musical genres we play at our events. It always falls back on Zach and my case and what we think is cool, current and timeless. It never hinged upon one thing and what i like about saintwoods and how we’re lucky is that it can change over time and be adaptive. It’s about the overall feeling and having fun together and having a mutual respect for one another.
Zach: It’s been one of our strengths for the past 10 years, and both of our careers started before that. There are so many great brands that come and go so quickly. I think that it’s like it’s a lowkey strength of ours that we’re never just about one thing. It’s not weird to go to two Saintwoods parties in one week and hear two different genres of music at each party. Subcultures are important and one thing we try to do is that we can live comfortably within one of those many subcultures.
How much does Canadian youth and new culture influence that?
Zach: I don’t think we are canada focused, but it was our reality at that time. Everything from the start within a year of starting together we planned to move to New York. We had our focus on the biggest markets in the world. What was nice about Canada was that a bunch of these cultures live together. What’s amazing about Toronto and Montreal there’s an amazing hip hop culture, dance culture, and kids with their own looks and brands. The beauty of these cities is that they’re multi culture mixing pots where you see different people all the time. Our goal was to be doing cutting edge shit with as many different things as possible. And when our voice grew it allowed us to do things in Miami, New York, and Paris.
How do you find balance between juggling the three brands?
Mental breakdowns (laughs). The reality is that everyday I feel kind of blessed where as much as we do something that has a bunch of issues, it comes with very real ups and downs in every way you can think of. There can be days that are exhausting and difficult but that’s kind of why you choose to work for yourselves and why nate and I chose to get involved in so many categories. The thing is that it’s the beautiful thing we do. There’s always a challenge. It starts to get boring if you’re doing the same thing ay in and day out.
So how was the party at Paris Fashion week?
Zach: We started doing it quite some years ago and we had some friends from paris. There’s a bridge between Montreal and Paris and our community in general. A lot of kids tend to go to university out here and go back and forth so we had a community at the time. We were also working with some artists and dj’s that we were bringing over. At this point maybe 6-7 years ago we were throwing events but they weren’t our own events. We would DJ and host them but we got a feel for what it was like. We always wanted to take apt 200 to a global scope so doing these pop up events would be a good intro to that. Whether it be PFW or Art Basel, we always like to keep the brand relevant and throw good events with good people and spread our ethos to different cities that don’t have it yet. Just looking for a good global community would be a good time to show people what we’re about.
Nate: Speaking about this past event or the one in Miami. Those two weekends have such a convergence of every major brand throwing “party activations” and what we try to do with our pop ups is to offer a form of counter culture. What we do in Paris, I’m very happy that our events bring our friends and high profile guests, but we don’t have a VIP section or no bracelets, no “you can’t stand there”. Everyone’s a proletariat. Same with Miami, when everyone is trying to do massive activations with 16 headliners, we just throw a house party because we want to offer something that juxtaposes what everybody else is doing and it allows us to get back to the grassroots community we want to get to know.
You can purchase an exclusive Saintwoods x Basic Space PFW t-shirt here.