In just a decade, Palace has gone from a skate spot on London’s South Bank, to a dilapidated house in Waterloo, and now, one of British streetwear’s most notable success stories. To celebrate the brand’s 10th anniversary, Palace founder Lev Tanju recently got together with i-D magazine to detail the Palace come-up.
Tanju not only touched on the early years of Palace, but he also discussed the brand’s passion for British youth culture, their simple approach to menswear, the company acting as a family, and remaining positive no matter what may be going on around you.
Below we’ve highlighted the key excerpts from Tanju’s conversation with i-D, which you can then read in full here.
On not making Palace’s 10-year anniversary a big deal:
“We didn’t want to make a big thing about the 10 years. We didn’t want to blow smoke up our own asses. It’s only ten years. Some shit brands have been going for 60. It ain’t rocket science, mate.”
On Palace celebrating British youth culture:
“It’s not a trick because it’s in everyone’s face. It’s just a question of looking out for it. The culture here is the most important and fucking amazing in the world. I just breathe it in. I’m so proud to be from London. This city is banging. There’s no fake bullshit. This city oozes culture, realness, happy people, sad people, even the c*nts all add to it.”
“That’s the only thing Palace was. We were true to London. We’re not trying to be anything we’re not. We’re not saying fuck you, this is cool. Like it or lump it. It’s basically representing London in a way that it’s supposed to be represented. We’re honest.”
On getting into skateboarding at the age of 18:
“My best mate at school got a skateboard. I thought it was the coolest shit ever and I just copied him. I got infatuated in some next level way. Watching videos constantly, 24/7, learning this thing, this art.”
On the man behind Palace’s graphics, Fergus Purcell:
“I respected him deeply, loved all his graphics and his T-shirts. He’s a fucking genius, man. I’m honored to even be sat working with him, spending this much time working on Palace. He’s the king of graphics. There is no-one like him and I’ve said it a million times. He’s influenced everyone.”
On Palace’s employees being nice to customers:
“That’s what makes the world go around. It’s been drummed into my head since I was a kid because my mum has manners. It’s important to have a smile on your face and be nice to people.”
On not bringing in an outside designer when the brand started to expand:
“I said, do you know what? I don’t trust anyone to do anything I don’t have to look at apart from him. Whether it’s socks or the colourway for a shirt, I’m going to have to go and sit beside them. I trust Nugget [Gabriel “Nugget” Pluckrose].”
On Palace’s simple approach to menswear:
“We all sit there together. We look at a big bit of paper and say, ‘Nah, that’s shit. That’s good. That’s banging. Wow, that is banging.’ It’s a family thing. Nobody wants to look like a jazzy tosser.”
On Palace being like a family:
“You’d be amazed by how many people at Palace have known each other for 20 years. I don’t even like speaking about this particularly, because it’s not mine to speak about. It’s all of ours.”
On seeing celebrities like JAY-Z wearing Palace:
“People have to wear shit.”
On remaining positive and always looking forward:
“Maybe there are times when people have to think, ‘Ugh, the pound’s just shit the bed because of Brexit. You want to stab yourself in the eye. It affects our business heavily. But we’re not sitting there scratching our nuts, saying ‘Oh fuck, what do you do now?’ We’re sitting there saying, ‘OK, let’s design the fucking Wimbledon kit. Let’s go and meet Ralph Lauren in his office. Let’s make good shit happen.’”
To read i-D‘s entire interview with Palace founder Lev Tanju, follow here. The publication’s Spring 2019 Homegrown Issue hits newsstands February 25.