Adam Bryce, one of the faces behind Telecom's 'smartnetwork', cut his teeth on the Karl Lagerfeld school of aesthetics
What’s your current ‘smart network’ gig with Telecom all about?
I returned to New Zealand as a base early 2011 to start Post Creative with Nick Baylis and Mike Watkins. We all saw traditional advertising was in trouble – as I’m sure we all have – but felt we had a new approach that could change things.
The approach is one around influence, building communities and partnerships between brands and influencers with authentically joint philosophies. The smartnetwork.co.nz is exactly that. We pulled together a group of people that we felt would represent new New Zealand, a creative and ballsy country willing to hit above its weight.
Word on the street is you have an Honours degree in fashion marketing and communications – what led you into that?
I grew up obsessed with fashion, and brand, at the age of 10 I was reading Thrasher magazine like all the other kids around me, but also my mum’s Vogue and The Face. Early on I wanted to be involved in that world in some way. I wanted to be around brands, be they skate brands, sports brands or fashion brands. I was obsessed with how people and things looked.
In my late teens I worked at a number of Auckland-based boutiques and was given the chance to style editorials for local magazines off the back of meeting people through the stores, and decided that was what I wanted to do. I was obsessed with success, and St Martins seemed at the time the place where anyone who had made it studied. I studied here at AUT for a while then applied, was accepted and left for London.
Word is also that you interned in the vicinity of Karl Lagerfeld. Got any naughty info on him?
I worked really hard at fashion school and did well enough to be offered a number of great jobs when I graduated. The opportunity to move to Paris and work under Lagerfeld seemed the most compelling, but being an arrogant young graduate I didn’t enjoy ironing clothes, sewing sequins and fetching people’s lunch too much, and left within six months. No rumours I’m afraid, but he is a very nice guy and I think in my experience the media make him out to be more gruesome that he is. He is still one of the most talented people to have ever worked in the industry and my time in Paris taught me a lot.
Come to that, ever been in an elevator with Anna Wintour?
Haha, not an elevator, but when I moved back to London, I worked as a fashion director at a number of magazines, and worked on a Vogue US job. I actually sat through a meeting that Anna Wintour led for at least an hour, there were only four of us in the meeting, so I assumed I wouldn’t have been blanked in the hallways later that day, but it seems I wasn’t memorable enough at the time. She’s an amazing woman though, and deserves all the accolade she gets. She’s one of those rare people who can own a room without blinking.
Let’s play the name-dropping game. What are the biggest brands you’ve worked with to date?
I’ve worked a lot with Nike on a number of different levels, I’ve worked with a lot of fashion and lifestyle brands that have meant a lot to me, the likes of Comme des Garçons or The Standard Hotels, but in a more big brand sense, I’ve worked with Toyota, Sony, Mercedes, Levi’s, Warner Bros. and others.
Tell us a little about your website SLAMXHYPE ...
I started SLAMXHYPE in 2003. I was really into sneakers and skateboard brands, but also high fashion, luxury brands and art. I’d always been obsessed with magazines and would buy everything I could get my hands on, but there was no one magazine that catered to my needs, and also there was a lot of news and products on the internet that magazines weren’t catching on to.
I was quite sick at the time, and had a lot of time on my hands, stuck at home, and initially wanted to start a magazine that would fill this gap. I printed a few zines for a few months, and then figured basically it was a pain to have to print them (which normally at the time involved me sneaking into my then-girlfriend’s office after hours and using her printer), then dropping them at stores and friends’ places, and figured there must be an easier way, little did I know, there was a much easier way, a blog.
I was lucky I started SLAMXHYPE at that time when blogs were very new and for a market that was very ready. The site became really successful, advertising dollars came along, then competitors, then business.
What do you miss about New Zealand when you’re not here?
The quiet – ironically, that’s also what I hate about it when I am here!
What was the last thing you were inspired by?
I have a very short attention span and am basically inspired by shapes, colours and the way things look, what the last thing was, I can’t remember, it would have changed.
Adam Bryce has just launched a new site, post-new.com.