loading
drag

Australian label Jody Just’s debut collection is an ode to teenage rebellion

IMAGE VIA JODY JUST

WORDS BY HANNAH COHEN

Watch out, he’s only just begun.

Inspired by New York City’s boisterous fashion scene, Jody Just’s founder Roman Jody has made a bold debut with his collection of elevated streetwear staples, Candy Flip. Candy Flip is a cheeky nod to the designer’s self-confessed rebellious origins, reminiscent of his years as a teenager growing up in suburban Sydney.

With a name that references the experience of taking acid and ecstasy simultaneously, Candy Flip takes us on a trip through emerald velvet tracksuits, matching sets adorned with tie-dye pastels and gothic crosses, splashes of graffiti lettering and upcycled jeans that feature punk-rock-resembling studs, intricate freehand paintings and retro patches. 


Head to our Fashion section for more local designers.


I chatted to Roman about how taking NYC by the horns fuelled his creative pursuits and how his move to the States is embodied throughout his unique garments. With bespoke cut-and-sew pieces and custom cowboy hats that have been worn on the heads of mega-celebrities like Post Malone, Roman has come bolting out the gates with an inimitable edge. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by JODY JUST (@jodyjust_)

Hey Roman! Congrats on your debut collection! Tell me about your decision to move to New York and build your label there.

Thank you! I remember finishing high school and knew I wanted to do creative stuff. I felt that if I could get over there, there would be a better opportunity to do that. Just kind of like a different sphere. And then [in New York] I was doing all this freelance graphic design stuff while I was over there and was getting a little bit jaded about it.

It was initially kind of just fun, creative projects and I never took them that seriously. It was a semi portfolio thing where if I wanted to get a job when I finished uni, I could be like, ‘Oh, you know, I’ve done this, I made this brand,’ and use that as a stepping stone to other stuff. But it wasn’t until like, a year and a half ago when I was like, maybe it’s not a stepping stone. Maybe it’s actually what I do want to do. 

What was your experience like living and studying at Parsons in New York?

It was crazy. I was surrounded by so many amazing and talented people who shared that freshman and naive experience with me of starting at such an amazing school who have now gone on to do brilliant things. It’s something I will be eternally grateful for. I had so many moments in classes and lectures that changed the way I think and act in the world. My biggest influence at Parsons was my professor John Bruce who was like my creative and strategic thinking spiritual guide.

I was in New York for five years. I ended up working for a couple of different brands after I finished [studying]. I was a DJ and it was sick, but I was out like three or four nights a week till like four in the morning. And it’s kind of like a weird city where you meet a lot of people, particularly in the nightlife. You go there to do one thing, and you end up kind of getting swept up in this tornado of fun. It’s sick. But after a year or two of waking up at like one in the afternoon or getting up early, and then being exhausted and then doing these ridiculous things, like 16 to 17 hour days, you just get super burnt out. 

Finally, I ended up finishing uni. I was valedictorian [and decided] to take the next six months off, and do freelance stuff and have a little holiday because I was so physically exhausted from all the work. Then it got to like a year of doing freelance and DJing and I was like, ‘Oh my God, get me the hell out of here. I need stability in my life.’ 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by JODY JUST (@jodyjust_)

What kind of influence did the hectic New York lifestyle have on your designs?

Style-wise, New York had a big influence in terms of wearing loud clothing and not reverting to basics or ‘blend in’ style options. I loved living in a place where you don’t get judged for dressing differently or taking risks with your style and I like the idea of wearing something that has a message or turns a head. 

I’ve kind of shifted it a little bit though, because I think it was a bit too integrated… it was just a bit gnarly, I was a little bit depressed. Some of the stuff was super emo and there were lots of weird drug references and stuff… I think it’s weird, because I’ve been back for two years and I catch myself talking about New York all the time… I’ve been so shaped [by New York]. It really turned me into who I am. It’s hard to not constantly be drawn back into that big influence of what made you who you are, so it’s all super inspired by being in New York.

Has coming home to Sydney influenced what you’re making as well?

New York really influenced my work attitude and grind mentality of being consistent with the brand output and constantly engaging with like-minded people in the community to collaborate and bounce off of… coming home though, I’ve been a lot more thoughtful and am taking a more considered approach to what I’ve been putting out now. I think that’s because of the pace in Australia. It’s been really nice to slow down a bit. [I adopted] this really ferocious workhorse attitude, which I still have. But I don’t put as much pressure on the brand and so that’s how I was kind of able to do a proper collection. 

Let’s talk about Candy Flip and the references within the collection.

It’s a lot about the suburban experience growing up… I grew up in the suburbs until I was like 13 and then I went to high school in the city. I definitely grew up in a bit of a sheltered existence and I remember going to high school and was like, ‘Whoa, this is what other people are like.’ I got into graffiti and went out a lot and had oppositional defiant disorder for a while, which is kind of like a weird complex with authority. So it’s like, someone says “Don’t do this” and you think ‘It’s gonna be way more fun when I do this now!’ Stuff like that is what the whole Candy Flip collection is about. It’s just about when you have that shift in your perspective of the world and you stop taking things with such an authoritative tone and start analysing and looking at things in different ways.

There’s also a lot of religious references in there. I grew up in a kind of weird, gothic household. I’ve always been surrounded by those symbols… It’s just really about questioning what things mean and changing perspectives… I mean, candy flip is when you take acid and ecstasy at the same time and I feel like that’s kind of the embodiment of a ridiculous teenage attitude of not really knowing anything, but someone else is doing this and it could be fun. Definitely [references] rebellion, but not really loss of innocence because I think you can do all that stuff and still have this really intense innocence about you. I think it’s just naivety and confusion. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by JODY JUST (@jodyjust_)

How important is it to you that you have custom made-to-order pieces in the collection?

I think that it’s such an oversaturated market, particularly the higher-end streetwear stuff. I think for me, it’s definitely a point of difference and something that has kind of given me my voice with the brand. So I think it’s important to carry that on, the difficulty is scaling it en masse. Customisation at scale is super hard and I’ve been realising that because I’ve been spending like, every single day painting on jeans and stuff… my fingers are blistered and I’m getting a herniated disc in my neck. I’m just like, I can’t do this anymore.

But that being said, I think it’s really important to do custom-made-to-order things because… I think it’s just such a wasteful industry and it’s tough because a lot of the time you have to meet minimums. But still I think if more people did the made-to-order stuff, it gives the person who’s buying more of an appreciation for what they’re getting because they know that this person is specifically making this for them and it forges a nice connection with that person who’s buying it. I think that’s special.

What was it like seeing Post Malone wear your garments?

I was pretty hyped! That was my first really big celebrity that wore anything, which was pretty fucking sick! I was already a big fan. The stars just kind of aligned on that one a little bit. I think it’s sick to see celebrity stylists who are dressing their clients not just in big fashion houses and stuff that everyone else is wearing. It’s so dope when you have someone that’s actually rooting for the little guys.

It’s a huge highlight for me, but I also don’t want that to be the only highlight. It was a massive achievement and something that I am super proud of, but I feel like the brand has only just started and I want to get to a point in a couple of years where I can say that Post Malone and all these other megastars are all wearing Jody Just as if it’s a normal thing. 

Where do you see Jody Just heading in the next five years?

I want it to graduate from the emerging category to the established and successful category! In five years I also want Jody Just to expand outside of clothing and be actively engaged in the Australian creative community, similar to how Amiri started the Amiri Prize for American Designers or Kerby Jean’s Your Friends In New York.

Check out Jody Just’s designs on Instagram and its website.

Lazy Loading