Fortune Sound Club Owner GMAN Talks Streetwear Brand Taikan

Buckle up, there’s a long way to go.

Garret”GMAN“Louie probably has one of the most interesting and diverse resumes in Vancouver. And to fully understand the path to his street clothing clothing brand Taikan, we must first look at the timeline of his career.

The serial entrepreneur has been in the world of fashion, music, skateboarding and cool business in general for over 30 years, but he says all the different businesses align and came to him organically. .

At 18 years old, GMAN co-owner of a sales agency called NLA which led him down the apparel path living rooms and while in California he discovered a line called Freshjive. They were at an underground party as part of the salon when he first came across street clothing brand in the world but GMAN says that at the time, the term street clothing didn’t really exist yet. He knew he wanted to start importing the brand and that eventually led to the launch of his clothing retail company Timebomb Trading which turns 30 this year. After costs he also brought skateboard products and other brands like Stussy and now Time bomb has about 15 partner brands and a sister company, FBomb Trading.

It’s time to party (and some more party)

But that’s how he found out costs on a night that sparked his unique and enduring approach that ultimately influenced the trajectory of his career as well. “The way I was going to promote this brand was the same way I found out about it,” he explains, “Having my own party here in Vancouver, the only reason to do it was to promote it. Get it on dj and taste makers around the city.”GMAN rented a warehouse and enlisted friends to help him, he put the costs logo on the flyers and 1800 people showed up for the inaugural evening. It was then that he thought to himself that “a party in itself could be a viable business – fun to do big for the culture”.

“I ended up throwing another party and another party,” he says. “25 years of parties later, I became this promoter under GMAN and Rizk (my partner’s name is Rizk) and we ended up promoting many clubs in the city over those years.”

At some point GMAN had four club nights a week although it was a rush. Between promotion, his distribution business was also taking off and he was building a network across both sides of the event, music (he was also a DJ) and fashion industries when a friend asked him if he wanted to partner with a sneaker store. He sold cattle during COVID, but during the 18 years he owned them, they also opened branches in Toronto and Winnipeg. After being a promoter for several years GMAN had the opportunity to open his own venue which became the Fortune Sound Club. “As we were promoting at all these other clubs, I kind of felt that a lot of our crowds – who were kind of into the world of skateboarding, snowboarding, whatever I was doing next door at the time – I felt a lot of our audience was not respected in other venues,” he says. “They were sort of these typical clubs, and they weren’t really built for music heads and because my partner and I were dj and true music heads and the sound systems always suck at these places… we wanted to build a friendly place for our crowds and for music heads.”

So, with all that experience under her belt and working to promote other people’s creative projects, it finally came time to ask, “Why aren’t we working on our own projects?” Our own brand after building all these other brands.

Build your own brand

Taikan started a few years ago as a bag brand but has since evolved into a capsule collection of street clothing which features artists, photographers, skateboarders, djand other creatives across Canada on both apparel and brand marketing.GMAN says he loves and admires people’s work Taikan collaborates so much with that he hands over the product and the reins to see what magic they can create. This allows an extremely varied advertising creation, but which corresponds to the atmosphere and the ethics of Taikan.The series Taikan By tells the stories of such creatives as Tyler Warren, DJ Pump, Jomar, and the team behind Pizza Coming Soon. And since GMAN is such a self-proclaimed music head they often include Spotify playlists for each collaboration.

“Vancouver is really special”

GMAN believes Vancouver has a unique melting pot of influences that have helped birth many of the brands he has seen grow from scratch. He cites the proximity to the American border, the European sensibilities of being part of the Commonwealth and the French identity here in Canada, as well as the large Japanese and Korean population bringing a thriving population. street clothing scene from Asia.

“Vancouver is really special,” he says, and being based here gives him a great perspective to design for the world.

His work as a distributor also helped him identify what he wanted and what he didn’t want. “A lot of brands have a lot of logos,” he observes. “And as I get older, I just like things a little cleaner. You know, there are times when I think to myself, Oh, it would be amazing if it didn’t have X written on the chest.

He found himself looking for over-branded clothes less and less and when he went through a phase of the pandemic where he was selling all his clothes and decluttering to the point of having a minimal wardrobe, he discovered that the “perfect plain black hoodie” never got old.Taikan was born from the concept of being the cement that unites all the brands of GMAN warehouse which have logos. “I felt there was a need for a minimalist, gender neutral, accessible price tag – really great quality, really clean with the brand,” he says “and that’s basically our design concept for clothes.”

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