Conversation 1 | Kirk Beattie of And The Sky Goods and Crawford Connaway Of Touba

Kirk Beattie is the founder of And The Sky Goods, a new company here at Touba. I have been ecstatic about getting the chance to talk to him, because I truly love everything he is doing with this company of his. And The Sky feels to me as a calming spiritual experience. Each garment is made with unmatched quality that would be appreciated by anyone. Not only is it of the utmost quality, but it just looks amazing. It almost doesn't matter what your style is, And The Sky just looks good and feels right.
 

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Crawford: How has your day been so far, Kirk?
Kirk: Fantastic thank you, the rain is falling and it’s a true grey London day, but I’ve braved it, and have been playing in the park with my daughter. We are a bit soggy but nothing that can’t be fixed.
Crawford: Sounds like you’ve had a nice day. My day is just starting over here in Dallas. I just got done with my morning run in the 90 degree Fahrenheit weather we have here. So quite a bit different.  
Crawford: So I’ve got a few questions for you, Kirk.
Kirk: Alright.
Crawford: I’m just gonna dive right in.
Crawford: How long have you been in Fashion?
Kirk: I first started in the fashion industry when I was 17, so that’s 25 years ago. It was in my home town of Maidstone in Kent. I started working in a store that I loved and used to shop at, they sold the likes of Duffer, Vivienne Westwood, and Burro to name a few.
After a few months they allowed me to do the buying, which was a dream come true for me back then.
I stayed there for just over a year and then moved on to open my own shop at the age of 18.
Crawford: I also started in fashion when I was 17, but originally in photography, then eventually retail, and by 18, Fodé (Touba’s Founder), was teaching me the art of buying. 
Crawford: How has being in fashion from a younger age effected how you think about it? Has it kept you thinking in a more youthful manner, or maybe caused you to look at things in a different way than most?
I’m still a young man, so I haven’t experienced many of the effects yet.
Kirk: My career so far has always been about finding the new. I have never worked with big houses or hype brands or even entertained the idea. It’s always been about the emerging, breaking brands rather than riding on the back of them, so that has definitely kept me youthful and wide eyed on the industry.
Crawford: And that is why I was very excited to see And The Sky working with Touba. I’ve seen that same energy and in a way, lifestyle, in Touba. It’s all about ageless youth and discovering.

Crawford: Did you always want to be in the fashion industry?
Kirk: I have always been crazy about clothes, but at 16 when I left school I had no idea of how to get in to the industry. I started an apprenticeship as a plumber, but after about 8 months, I realized that this was not my calling card.

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Crawford: So what was your very first job? Was it the plumbing gig?
Kirk: Yes, My first job was as an apprentice plumber, I used to get £60 a week. One day a week was supposed to be spent at college, but I can only recall ever turning up once or twice as I preferred to use this day for shopping. I would go to Duffer of St George, Jones on Neal street, Michiko Koshino, Bond on Newburgh street, and WAY IN in Harrods. My £60 a week wasn’t going too far.
Crawford: Did you learn anything at your plumbing job that helped you prepare for the fashion world? 
Kirk: Absolutely not! But I can still fix a dripping tap.
Crawford: Well at least you walked away with something.
Crawford: Did you ever start collecting anything when you were younger?
Kirk: I used to collect records and sneakers, but over the years and moving houses these have been sold off for space, which is quite liberating! I also hate clutter!
Crawford: Did you every have a holy grail sneaker or record, and were you ever able to get your hands on it?
Kirk: I was never that nerdy about it. The sneaker thing comes from when I was very young, so there where models being reissued that where on the holy grail list of my 12 year old self that had to be bought like Jordan 3’s, as I only managed 4’s and 5’s back then.
I was always unable to get my hands on a copy of Roots N Future by Phuture Assassins. An old happy hardcore track that sampled Little Johns Rub A Dub One. I was desperate for that, but to be fair it’s pretty terrible, so my life hasn’t been ruined. 
Crawford: What are some of the processes used to create some of the garments for And The Sky?
Kirk: There are many different processes within the collection, there are a lot of block printed cloths in there. Jaipur in India has an amazing history of block printing, going back as far as the 12th century. The techniques and natural dyes just give the fabrics a real natural depth that cannot be made by a machine, alongside these you will find hand spun and loomed cottons known as Khadi. Once again these cloths just feel real! They have beautiful imperfections that can’t be replicated.
There are kantha cloths completely hand stitched by true craftsman and beautiful vintage cloths that have the process of wear and time. 
Crawford: What inspired you to use these methods for the And The Sky garments?
Kirk: Craftsmanship, I wanted to use fabrics that had been made by skilled hands, this and the fact that they use natural dying methods keeping the brand much more ethical. I’m hoping to try and get the brand as sustainable as possible over the coming seasons. 
Crawford: Yes! I love that! Sustainable fashion is great.

Crawford: Do you have a favorite painter?
Kirk: I couldn’t say I have a favorite painter. I do love the work of Francis Bacon, which I know is very cliche but hey! I’m not an avid art fan, which is very strange, as I do love making my own art.
Crawford: I love Francis Bacon! Very emotional painter. I see a lot of similar textures in his work compared to And The Sky. But almost like if And The Sky is Heaven, his work is Hell. 
My personal favorite painter is Yves Klein. I feel And The Sky would mix so well with his work also. Probably because of all the blue he uses.
Kirk: Love Yves Klein... anyone with their very own blue has done a good job in my book.

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Crawford: What about music? What do you like to listen to?
Kirk: Music is a great love of mine, I have grown up through many important scenes, which all still hold a place in my heart. For a good few years I’ve been more interested in digging for the unknown, rather than finding the new, so it’s a real mixed bag. I have a couple of And The Sky music playlists on Spotify so take a listen.
Crawford: How often does And The Sky come out with a new Spotify playlist?
Kirk: I would like to say every month but for some reason I keep making them stupidly long.
Crawford: I love that, I don’t think I’ve ever made a playlist under 4 hours myself.
Crawford: How did you get the name And The Sky Goods?
Kirk: I once read the words “and the sky shone” in a book some time ago, and the words really resonated with me for some reason. I would like to tell you what book that was, but I remember nothing else.
Crawford: That’s really interesting. Books are the best source of inspiration in my opinion. 
Crawford: Well Kirk, thank you very much for the chat. I’m looking forward to speaking with you again soon. 
Kirk: Thanks, Crawford. So am I.