Updated: Apr 2, 2020
Speaking with Malcolm Wyley Founder of a-LA
CA: It has been a long time since we have seen a-LA. What have you been doing in your absence besides releasing SandwichGallery? a-LA: It was important for us to get SG4 out as it had been an entire year and a half previously with nothing, and it only took that long because we decided to put it back on its original summer release schedule. Think the third one came out in January. It has much more of a summer feel to me, so moving it back was important. Relative to a-LA itself, we’ve mostly been refining. We know what it is we do well already, so one of the natural next steps is “How do we do what we do well even better?” That and brainstorming new ideas, designs, products, that’s a constant, ongoing thing, as it should be. Taking the time to ensure things are being done well and efficiently.
CA: For those who don’t know, what does androssLosAngeles mean? Why did you choose the X as the main logo to represent it? a-LA: There’s supposed to be this grand story behind it but in truth there really isn’t. We had the logo before we even had the name. I drew a lot in school instead of paying attention in school, and one day in like 12th grade a version of that ended up happening, and we tweaked it a little bit a few years back, that’s its current form. There’s no real explanation for it, I just thought it looked cool, and I’m ok with that. Some things just work. I’m from Long Beach but LA is obviously the more recognizable city, and Andross, which also was applied randomly, was the first boss I beat in a video game, and I love Star Fox, so yeah. That’s how that came about.
CA: What have you guys learned about running a business based on your time away from making clothes? a-LA: We’ve learned that you really have to love what you’re doing, otherwise it’s gonna be a chore. Thankfully we at least sort of like it.
CA: Is there anything you would do over again if given the chance from operating with the brand? a-LA: Of course, but we’re still pretty new to all of this. We’re gonna fuck some things up, but I think the people that believe in us believe that we have the capabilities to make those slip ups right as well, which we’re dedicated to doing. But we also really hate fucking up, so we try very hard to ensure that doesn’t happen in the first place. That way there’s nothing to have to correct and we can spend that time looking forward.
CA: The brand has a presence in various cities across the country (even Toronto). How did you manage to accomplish building your audience so wide? a-LA: We live in a time now where being where you are means relatively little as far as your reach goes. It’s a very Field of Dreams type approach, if you make something that’s cool and quality, they’ll come.
CA: Since there are three integral members of a-LA, how do you all come together to make projects happen? What role does each person have within the group? a-LA: We all have our own various lives to live and carry out and we’re not really near each other at all, but we’re in constant communication with each other. Tay handles pretty much all of our technical internet stuff, SEO and all of that, Skip handles all of the business end stuff and is really the face of the company, and I’m more the vision itself, which includes about 98% of the design work.
CA: Ideally, where do you want a-LA to go next year and beyond? a-LA: Ultimately what I want a-LA to become is a known entity of pure creativity. For music, clothing, whatever else. I wanna be able to use it as a vessel for several of the creative people that I know now and will get to know in the future to display their various incredible talents. When we can figure out how to best do that, it’ll be a relentless thing.
CA: Any hints you can give us for new items we will see in the store? a-LA: As it turns out I’m fresh out of hints, but I think people will be excited.
CA: In regards to music, we have seen your constant collaborations with Dotropolis and Cameron Butler amongst others for amazing singles. What else do you have planned for the music side of a-LA? a-LA: Well it’s much more than just me. I just really believe in the people that I support musically, and things like SandwichGallery and running the Soundcloud I would think are evidence of that, you know? Doing what I can to give them some light and also to give people something new to listen to.
CA: To end off, a-LA has preached about the concept of family. How important is that mantra in all aspects of the brand? a-LA: Togetherness is everything ultimately. I personally don’t like working in groups mostly because when you’re put into a group there’s varying levels of commitment, things that we just don’t really deal with because we’re all very committed to what we’re doing here and to seeing it through and seeing it become what we know it can be. These are the same people that have been there from the jump, and to me that’s just the best way to work on something like this, with people that you know are gonna do everything in their capacity to get things done the way they should be done.