A Conversation With TROUBLED CO Founders

Mack Cathmoir and Brandon Schulz

By: Alex Dulanovic

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Mack Cathmoir (Left) & Brandon Schulz (Right)

Weirdly enough, I’ve known you both for quite some time but have never asked how you met.

Mack Cathmoir: In 2001, I moved from the States to Toronto. B & I went to the same elementary school and he was one of the first kids to show me around the block.

Brandon Schulz: Yeah, walking back from school we realized that we lived around the corner from each other. We were listening to the same music and both gravitated towards skate culture. From there, we started kicking it every day.

What is it about your friendship that led to the decision to essentially start a business together?

B: TROUBLED COLLECTIVE is the product of experiences that we’ve gone through separately and together. Ever since we met we’ve always been genuine with each other. Trust, which gets built over time, allows us to have a creative partnership.

M: Also, we were just at the point of our lives where we wanted to create something independently. The vision has always been there, but it took time to grow as individuals and commit to executing our ideas.

Those ideas came together to form TROUBLED CO. What’s the meaning behind the name?  

M: Not being part of the norm is the essence of TROUBLED CO. We’re about creativity without borders.

B: The name isn’t just a reflection of us. The brand is about accepting your own perspective and expressing how you feel.

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Photography: Austin Chan, Model: Quincy Lee

Breakdown the space where you guys create.

B: Personally, I enjoy creating in my living space. Currently, our studio is in my bedroom. I replaced my bed with industrial sewing machines and a cutting space where we can bounce around ideas.

M: We’re spending whole days and nights there, so it’s important to create a positive workspace. It’s a place where we can generate ideas without judgment. It’s almost a sanctuary in the sense that it supports really productive days, but it’s also somewhere we can just kick it.

What have been the biggest challenges so far?

M: When you’re a new brand, every day is a challenge. We’ve always had a strong connection with the city and it’s exciting to see it on the rise. While we’re trying to be a part of that, we want TROUBLED to stay true to its own individuality.

B: Right now it’s just us two, and doing all the things necessary to properly introduce our brand takes time and effort. Finding a way to manage our personal standards with the demands of the fashion industry has been a learning experience so far.

How has growing up in Toronto influenced your product and rollout?

B: Growing up my family moved to different areas but I always stayed in Toronto. I’ve seen the city evolve and it’s currently an inspiring place for anybody creating art. It’s always giving us ideas so we try and give back through creating a brand that will relate with the people.

M: I’m always travelling between downtown and uptown. While commuting in itself is a huge part of this city’s lifestyle, it gives you a perspective on how diverse our creative environment is. The city provides the opportunity to collaborate with talented people that offer unique ideas but share the same desire.

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Photography: Austin Chan, Model: Austin Wang

Brandon, you’ve always been interested in a variety of mediums ranging from clothing all the way to anime. Mack, you’ve got a broad music library. How does that affect your creative process?

B: Yeah, I’m into art in general. I enjoy seeing the effect creative work has on people. It’s crazy how art can be a place that’s an outlet for your own expression but also can connect on a deep level with someone you’ve never met that experiences your work.

M: Music inspires everyone. It’s something that keeps me level on a daily basis. Whether it’s just finding new stuff or listening to old favourites, music has always been something I can relate to.

What’s another piece of fashion you guys would like to design in the future?

M & B: Womenswear.

What’s next for TROUBLED CO?

M: Getting the product available to the public. That’s something we have been working on every day.

B:  More risks. Stepping out of our comfort zone and trying new ideas.


Threads

By: Alex Dulanovic

There are threads that connect us all. One side looped through the present, the other attached to the future. Dark and thin, they sway in response to life’s storms, threatening to snap and become a loose end that cannot be cut.

In order to be troubled, one has to care about that thread. Obsessively untangling it from the present, then following the frayed string all the way down to an untrustworthy weave sewn into the future’s cheap texture. A crazy activity considering all the loose ends we’ve accumulated. There are more of those than potential threads.

After a while they begin to knot together into a black fabric, resting on the floor, in a heap, at the back of your closet. You know where it is. It only gets brought out in front of private mirrors and familiar faces. No matter how many outfits are placed in front of the pile, it can’t be hidden. In fact, it’s defined everything that’s ever been hung.

When you’re ready, head to the back and grab what has accumulated into a quilt of loose ends. Lay it in the open, smooth out the wrinkles and stare at it. Not so bad, huh?

It may be beautiful like this, but it’s too much for the public. Give it some time. Add zippers, create pockets and place a couple buttons before pulling it over your head.

Wear it outside.

Despite everybody having one of these, people choose to rock other things.

You always knew that dejected heap at the back of the closet would look fly under the city sun.

Didn’t you?


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