You may recognise Mala Brajkovic’s name because, many moons ago now, she had an eponymous label and store in Auckland’s CBD, under which she designed some of the most exciting clothing to come out of the New Zealand fashion industry. It was fresh and fun, and it channelled the zeitgeist of the time unlike anything else.
Mala took a sabbatical from designing in 2008 to care full time for her first daughter, Mickey. But now she’s back! With a range of apparel and jewellery under the moniker Bad Things Apparel, and we had a quick chat with the inimitable designer to discuss what her new project is all about.
When and why did you decide to start Bad Things apparel?
We’ve been working on it for about six months, but only really committed to it full time in the last 3 months. My partner Vinnie and I live in Raglan and wanted to start a business that we can operate from here and work around the kids and family life.
We’ve teamed up with our good friend Maki and we all bring different skills to the table, and it was good timing in terms of all of us being ready for something new work-wise.
All three of us have a really similar aesthetic and personal style and find there is a bit of a gap in the market for this kind of clothing.
What’s the brands overall vibe? What underpins it?
Bad Things comes from all the stuff we love that influences us and our style. Vinnie is a skater, and we’re all into metal, hardcore and hip hop, and that comic gore/horror aesthetic.
Was there anything or any designer who you were particularly inspired by for Bad Things?
Not so much designers but definitely artists. We’ve worked with some really talented artists on the collection so far, and have a few more lined up for the next collection of prints that will be out in a couple of months – from old school skate graphic artists to metal album cover artists. We’ll be showcasing artists on our blog Bad News through the website which will be up at the end of this week!
Any ongoing inspirations in your work?
Music, art and the subcultures that we’re into.
You’ve had your own range before – which I still consider one of the best things to ever come out of NZ fashion – and you’ve worked for some pretty incredible labels too. Why this next step, now?
I took some time off with our kids but I love working too so it was time to get back into it. I wanted to do something that was more accessible, affordable and easier to manage than things I’ve done in the past.
It was also definitely about doing this with the right people. I don’t have time to do it on my own now, with a family, but working with Maki and Vinnie who are totally on the same page makes it possible.
Is it going to keep being t-shirts and tanks or are you going to branch out into other clothing too?
We’ll definitely keep it at a street wear level but we’ll introduce a few more styles as we go along. Caps and kids t-shirts are next on the list. We’re doing jewellery as well which is made by Zora Bell Boyd. Pendants, rings and double rings.
My Dad was a jeweller and I’m probably most interested in that aspect of the business so I’m looking forward to focussing on getting some more styles out.
What are you working on at the moment?
Getting the website up! And briefing artists on the next collection.
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