Interview with The Anix: A conversation about techwear

What was once a rock band that started in the early 2000s, The Anix began to evolve into music that blends rock with electro and dance elements, while becoming a solo effort from creative master, Brandon Smith. The ideals of futurism took hold of The Anix’s music, and Brandon Smith also portrays that same high-level of futurism in his everyday attire through techwear. 

We got the chance to ask about what techwear means to Smith, and how his journey through techwear has also evolved and become synonymous with the music of The Anix.

How did you get into techwear initially?

It’s been a style I have been into long before I knew it had a name. I was always modifying my clothes when I was a kid using gear from the army store, or pieces from actual flight and motorcycle suits I would find on eBay, back when I was still in high school 20 years ago. It was fun trying to bring the characters I liked in comic books and movies, to life in the form of my wardrobe.

The goal was to make it NOT look like a costume, so just modifying small parts to increase utility. Snake Eyes for example, is a character I have loved for over 30 years, so it’s engrained in me that I want to have a piece of that look in my daily life haha.  

What’s your favorite piece of techwear and feature of that piece?

My favorite item I own right now is the white Acronym J1E-GT. The “E” version stands for experimental and was a super low production item they created to test new technology, materials and patterns. The coolest thing about the jacket was the new experimental zip closure design on the front chest pocket. I still discover new things on that jacket every time I wear it!

You’re clearly a fan of Acronym, as we have seen your pics of you decked out in their gear. Do you have any favorite techwear brands? 

Most of my closet is all Acronym pants and jackets, a few VEILANCE suits, and I have a couple Stone Island Shadow Project and NikeLab items. I also really like Cav Empt, Undercover, ACW, ALYX, WTAPS and Neighborhood.

We saw that you got to meet Errolson Hugh from Acronym, what was that experience like?  

I have met him a few times now as we have a mutual friend (Rod Chong @rev_sect). He is very down to earth, but highly intelligent. He is respectful but don’t mistake the kindness for weakness. An amazing moment to meet one of my hero’s. His design pillars and philosophy is something I apply to my music and other projects in daily life.

What is the connection between your music and techwear and how did the connection come about?

I feel there is a natural connection with futuristic, or electronic driven music and technical apparel. My music is dark, the equipment is black with small white lettering and wires hanging out everywhere. For me it requires zero thought, it’s like that is the style of clothing that MUST go with my music-I cannot imagine any other possibility.

I wear this stuff 24/7-it’s not a costume I put on to play a role-I live in the stuff in all aspects of my life, so I think that lends a level of authenticity to it. I meet a lot of other musicians who simply put on a custom when they meet fans or do videos, then put on shorts, sandals, and a tank top in their everyday life. That is not happening here.

How do you feel about brands taking the acronym formula, but making techwear more affordable?

My biggest issue with big name brands like H&M, Uniqlo etc. bringing it for the masses, is that they are generally trend hopping, and making items that you throw away after a year or so. To me technical apparel is not a trend or a fashion, it’s just something some people have engrained in them from a young age. There is no way to create the true craftsmanship and materials used in Acronym and VEILANCE without paying for it.

There is a respect you have for a garment that took you 6 months to save up for, that also retains a resale value worth just about as much as it did new. These are items I can use for 30 years and still not go out of “style”. Nike makes some decent looking things through their Nike Sportswear line, but to me they lack the magic that you feel when you have one of the true pioneers of the craft in your hand to compare with. The Nike ISPA range is a cool idea-low production run with experimental techniques being used and high-quality materials.

Do you have any favorite techwear brands that are on the lower end of the pricing spectrum?

It would be something from Nike ACG, or maybe some stuff from Y-3 although that is still pretty expensive! 

What are your thoughts on non-functional garments being labeled as techwear? Do you think this affects techwear positively or negatively? 

The problem I have with the name is that it pushes the genre into a fad, trend, or a style. I think the TRUE tech driven brands are almost just seen as ultra-high-end luxury garments which use materials that serve multiple purposes and have multiple functions. You see the word “tech” used on everything now that has stretch, or moisture wicking abilities. For me “tech” should be something that allows you to function better wearing it, than you would without it. 

The Anix x Revenge Capsule

Is your own brand on the horizon? 

I will continue to release ultra-high-quality merchandise under The Anix name. I have always been disappointed and bored with typical band merchandise, so this is my opportunity to stand apart in this department. I have really high standards and am very particular with the items I wear and like, so any merch I make must be something I would wear myself otherwise I won’t make it. 

Any future projects that you're excited about?

YES- I so WISH I could say but it’s still top secret… at the moment. Of course, new music is always being worked on, and I have a pretty massive waitlist for artist collaborations I am trying to work on. Keep a look out for my music in some upcoming video games as well!