FJ Shoot: Fragile Minds

Words by Mia Besorio

DIY or die.

Young people are always told they don’t know what they want and they don’t know what they’re doing. Even being called “young people” is an affront to their collective force. The dominance of e-commerce, the rapid lifespan of Instagram trends, and the quantity-over-quality marketplace is a fashion landscape curated specifically for them, but which is already out of touch.

The age of the influence we were only just getting used to has already plateaued and young people can see past the #spon. Where businesses saw social media as another marketplace for revenue, young people are increasingly seeing it as a place to trade ideas and organise communities instead.

Our rapid consumer landscape was built with Gen Z in mind, and yet it is they who have rejected it. Young designers and creatives are innovating around the reactive purchase model that was built to directly appeal to them, and are at the forefront of industry-changing movements. They weren’t being heard, so they became their change instead.

Ultimately, they want their identities back.

I spoke with 20-year-old Josh Lee, the designer behind Fragile Minds. What started as a T-shirt label has morphed into a vision for a collective of young creatives of different disciplines. Josh saw the need to create a decentralised community that gives young people a place to start out. Somewhere that is inclusive in its access and supportive in its ethos. While it’s still a work-in-progress, its spirit is in full effect. The Fragile Minds meet-ups are currently small, and they happen where most revolutions start: a bedroom.

Why did you start Fragile Minds?

When I started Fragile Minds I didn’t have a purpose – it was just another T-shirt brand. I slowly started to realise that I wasn’t representing myself the way I wanted to, due to the lack of acceptance I received from the existing fashion community. I feel there is a lack of resources and platforms available for newcomers. Everyone has their own unique ideas, and what is stopping them from being actualised is the fear of being different. I want Fragile Minds to be a community-oriented, shared platform where young creatives can work, grow, and try to diversify Australian fashion together.

Was fashion something you were always interested in?

Although I haven’t been focused on creating garments my whole life, I have always cared about the way that I present myself. I was a skater when I was 12 years old, so my aspirations for entering the fashion industry began back then. The skateboarding community has influenced my fashion sense a lot.

I love how self-sufficient and supportive the skate community is of its stores, brands, and of each other. Were there any specific brands or skaters that influenced you back then?

I was heavily influenced by the 80’s skate scene – you know, the baggy era of oversized clothes and chunky shoes. There weren’t any specific skaters that influenced me, but I was dedicated to wearing my favourite skate brands – Shake Junt, Deathwish, Girl, DC – which is really the basis for my style today.

What would you like to see more of in Australian men’s fashion?

There’s this stigma that men just wear a shirt and pants, but there’s so much more to it. I’d like to see more diversity in the textures and patterns of fabrication used to make garments. I’m currently working on an upcycled vintage collection. I’m experimenting with fusing different fabrics together – I really want to make unique materials to create with.

Upcycling is cool because it reuses what has already been produced, rather than creating more waste. What are some of your favourite details on vintage garments that you like to repurpose?

Pockets, zippers, mesh, and old jewellery.

How do you intend to give the Fragile Minds community a platform to access the fashion industry?

While I may only have a small following online, I still have so many kids messaging me with questions about how to make clothes. They want advice, but they also need resources. I always have random creatives with crazy ideas coming into my space. I teach them what I know, and try to help them actualise their ideas. Even this small step feels like I’m contributing to opening the doors to the fashion industry. I’d like to keep growing until I can actually make a significant change.

Further to this, I’m working on exhibiting six debut designers that have never released clothing before. They all have completely different styles, and the aim is to highlight the diversity in style that Australia could have. I plan to do this in between each of my own Fragile Minds drops, because ultimately, it’s a community more than it’s a brand.

Why should people in the fashion industry be in of support new/young creatives, rather than exclude them?

By supporting each other, it helps to create an industry that feels welcoming. That way, young people aren’t as scared to take the leap and chase their goals. The more creatives we have in the scene, the more diverse the industry becomes, and that’s a good thing.


Lazy Loading