Exploring new disciplines is always an enriching and inspiring process, especially when it comes to setting up your own label. Founded by two brothers, Aran and Dylan Quinn, Nah is a new and independent brand, celebrating Irish creative talent. The amorphous brand aims to seasonally release playful products covering apparel, skateboards and home goods inspired by art, music, skating, nature, romance and cheekiness. “We want Nah to represent an all-inclusive, don’t take yourself too seriously, laid back way of living”, Aran and Dylan tell C24 about their positive and playful work, “For us, Nah is a reminder to say, ‘Nah fuck saying yes to that, we’re not into that, we’re gonna do us for a bit’. Sometimes smaller is better. Put the time, care, and love into what you make, and make it for the pure fun of it if you can. Make space for something you wanna do without anything or one putting doubt on you. It’s a creative safe space. That what it is for us and we hope for others.”
While Dylan comes more from a musical background and manages the company, Aran took over the creative direction, with a strong focus on illustration and animation. With Aran in Brooklyn and Dylan in Dublin, the duo has figured out a way to master their working relationship from a distance. “We’re a very close family and missed each other. Dyl hit me up to start putting his designs onto tees and we took it from there”, Aran remembers. Since then, the two brothers worked on a series of caps, shirts, hoodies and skateboard decks and are now about to release their first ceramics jugs and pots, puzzles and socks .“We both live on 2D digital screens for most of our days. So we thought to break that up and put our taste on real-life stuff. We love clothes, ceramics, and boards. So that naturally happened to be where our work went and what we felt comfortable knowing what the expectations should be. A big part of it was having friends and finding connections that could work with us in these mediums.”
The duo collaborated with various artists throughout their journey, such as photographers Rich Gilligan, Cáit Fahey, Daragh Soden, filmmaker Albert Hooi, director Sam Mulcahy and designer Rory Simms. “We have really talented friends from Ireland and we wanted to collaborate with them for years. This was the perfect excuse. Successful, sick looking brands have great campaigns and accounts spanning illustration, animation, video, photography, sound design, music, skate teams, and so on. We wanted to achieve the highest standard too”, the duo state, “We know where our strengths lay and where they don’t so we thought to reach out to the artists we know that do it best and asked to work together.”
Despite their strive for excellence and high-quality, Nah is all about all about self-expression and not taking yourself too seriously. Since their early beginnings, the duo always trusted their guts, instead of following trends or playing it safe. “When working for a big company so many opinions and tastes are involved to create one visual output. Because of this, we found the idea or design would usually feel watered down to something generic and safe-looking”, Aran and Dylan explain, “So by the time we got making Nah work, it was less daunting and more invigorating to go wild and feel free on the blank page. Luckily people liked our work straight off the bat so that gave us the boost of confidence to keep going with it.”
With Nah, they have not only created a multi-layered platform for any kind of creative output, they have also build up a strong community between their collaborators. “We know we’re not a 2-person show and always want to highlight and credit everyone who helps make Nah what it is. We’re definitely stronger when more people are involved”, they tell us, “We wanna keep working with talented people in the future and aren’t exclusive to Irish artists. Get in touch if you’re down!”
When Aran and Dylan launched their brand, the whole family jumped in to help with their – hilarious – launch film. Their third brother, Ryan, and their Dad, who play Irish traditional music, recorded an electric distorted take on the well known Irish song, The Kesh. The result was directed by their cousin, who actually starred in the film, sitting on a motorcycle and, well, butt-naked. “As serious as we are about Nah and how proud we are to have it based in Dublin, we’re also taking the piss of how Irish it all is and loving it at the same time”, Aran and Dylan joke.
As Nah consists of a small core team, currently consisting of only two people, Aran and Dylan had to overcome a few obstacles along the way. “Everything is out of pocket so money can limit things and make releases slower. We’re luckily growing thanks to the support of our followers so we’re gonna keep trying to grow… but never wanna get too big where we think about best sellers over what we think looks the best”, the duo states, “This more means wanting to make pants and a pool ball set and our other drop all at the same time, but having to make the decision on what to drop. Luckily we have great resources. Our friends and connections have helped a lot with finding the right people to work with.” Jumping between so many different mediums and tasks can be difficult, especially when having to balance the heavy workload between organizing, designing and producing. “Thinking of everything at once can get overwhelming, ceramic, working partners, clothes, designs, music, the skate team we sponsor, shipping, customers, emails, etc. But we love it all and try to take one step at a time.”
Looking into the future, Aran and Dylan had actually big plans for 2021, including a Dublin-based exhibition lined up with an indoor skate park set-up, an auction of painting, a photography exhibit and a series of sculptures. “Then Covid hit and we had to cancel it all. If things get better this year we’ll look into it, otherwise, it’ll happen in 2022”, they tell us.
Nevertheless, the duo holds onto their dreams and has an undying faith in their vision. “We want to be an Irish company making work that’s at the top and inspiring other Irish talented people to make their own company”, they state, “We wanna help show that shopping local can be great whenever you are, and help convey to people that caring how the clothes are made and what they’re made of is something to focus on.” For their latest edition, Aran and Dylan have not only designed the graphic and embroidered design, they have also designed the fit of the clothing, which were ethically made in Portugal with OCS organic cotton. “We understand our prices went up a bit because of this and some folks find that tough, but we’re proud of consciously pushing ourselves to the next step. Hopefully, it’ll shed some light on kids and adults who shop to be aware of where stuff is made.”