Shop UO UO Blog

Introduce yourself!

My name's Luke Harwood. I'm the director and co-founder of Stolen Girlfriends Club. Our brand was created in 2004 and we've been around for about eight years now. We're from New Zealand.


Why did you and your partners decide to start your brand?

We didn't mean to start a fashion brand, we were just really excited about music and art, which I guess sounds like a clichè thing to say, but at the time we were kind of bored with what was happening around our city. We started doing art shows and then we were like, "Let's make a couple of T-shirts," and that was really the basis for Stolen Girlfriends Club.

Why did you and your partners decide to start your brand?

We didn't mean to start a fashion brand, we were just really excited about music and art, which I guess sounds like a clichè thing to say, but at the time we were kind of bored with what was happening around our city. We started doing art shows and then we were like, "Let's make a couple of T-shirts," and that was really the basis for Stolen Girlfriends Club.

Jewelry?

Yeah, it was kind of before there was a lot of jewelry around in fashion. We looked at these old punk and rock and roll guys and thought it’d be cool to do something similar, so we made these like, different jewelry pieces made out of links and sterling silver.

How much are you influenced by music?

Originally and still now, music has been one of the biggest inspirations to the brand and a lot of our collections and shows we have done-even just the feeling behind everything is inspired by music.

Can you name some of the artists that inspired you?

In the beginning, Bands like Nirvana (obviously huge for the grunge input), The Rakes, The Horrors, O Children, TV On The Radio, These New Puritans. New music is definitely inspirational to the progression of work.

Can you tell us a little bit about your newest collection, The Fates? What's the story and inspiration it??

The collection's called The Fates and The Fates is actually the very first collection we ever made for Stolen Girlfriends Club, which was a collection about a guy and a girl who were in love, and then they broke up, so that was where the name for the collection line comes from. We like the idea of juxtaposition so it's mixed up with really cool prints and some are prints mixed with some mesh and sporty sort of looks.

Your partner Mark talked about how the collection is somewhat androgynous. It's like when couples are in love and they share each other's clothes. Have you ever stolen anything from a girlfriend, or had anything stolen?

For sure. My wife she steals my clothes a lot, but I don't steal her clothes because I'm a lot bigger than her [laughs]. It's cool, you feel comfortable too when you do that.

Yeah, it bonds people.

Yeah, that feeling of like maybe you're like camping or at the beach and it gets cold and your girlfriend puts on your sweater and she's all cozy. That's a cool feeling.

And it smells like them and it's cute and kind of creepy but romantic at the same time.

Exactly. Especially when you're young and just falling in love for the first time. There's a kind of nostalgia thing about it.

Where did the name "Stolen Girlfriends Club" come from?

It was the name of one of our first art shows. It really can be interpreted how you like, but it's like a damsel in distress, a girl who has been mistreated and someone comes along and saves her. That's where Stolen Girlfriends Club comes from, but then other people interpret it in another way. It's open to interpretation.

What was the first T-shirt you ever created?

We created a couple. My business partner did one and it was like a homage to the old "Frankie Says Relax" but it said Stolen Girlfriends Club Says Relax. And then I was into hand drawing stuff so I was using lots of markers and writing on them and turning them into screened tees, like Girlfriends Death Metal and things like that.

Since you didn't go to school for it, what do you think was the hardest part of learning how to design?

I think the technical part was the hardest bit. Like understanding garment construction and things like that, being really naïve to that. Making a pair of jeans and being like, "Aw these are cool!" but not prewashing them so that when we did wash them, they shrank. Really dumb things like that.

What other kind of things did you start out doing?

In the beginning it was definitely a lot of T-shirts and like jersey cotton stuff. We locked in and made a lot of denim pieces like patchwork, and we did a lot of cool long cigarette jeans and then stovepipe-kind of Ramones style, with lots of different details in them. Some of the details were so cool, and like if I saw those jeans now I'd think they’re cool, but almost too expensive to make now so I can’t do it from a business point of view [laughs] but really fun when you're just learning and making these pieces. Also, jewelry. That was a big part.

What is your favorite piece in the collection?

I love the cropped tank. The mesh cropped tank.

What is your favorite piece in the collection?

I love the cropped tank. The mesh cropped tank.

Any new projects coming from your team that you'd like to share?

In the last few months we have actually created a new music program where we release a song/album each Friday so people have something for the weekend. We do it mostly to support new and up and coming bands and our friends and our love for music. If anyone wants to receive the music download, they can just join here and get the Friday release in time for the weekend!