You know that kid at school who not only had the coolest trainers, but 3 pairs of each in different colours, all kept in the boxes waiting for a higher purpose? That was Paul Sid, half-Hong Kong Chinese, half-English founder and principal designer of Retreat, an ethical independent clothing brand formed from the streets of the UK in 2005.
When it came to 1988, when all the other kids were begging their mothers for some brand new Nike Air Max, Paul Sid was the one snapping up all the dead stock Adidas Trimm Trab and Converse Dr J boots for mere pennies, only to auction them off five years later to new-school cool kids at twenty times the price. So it’s safe to say that Paul was always ahead of the game-and that prescience has been communicated through his home-grown passion project Retreat.
Drawing inspiration from graffiti, graphic design, photography and of course, music, and influenced by all of creation and everyday life, Retreat is Bruce Lee and Chevy Chase starring in Animal House on your mum’s old TV. With Sid’s skateboarding and b-boy background, it is no wonder that hip hop pioneers like Kool Herc, Public Enemy, Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys are Retreat’s style icons. British inspirational bands like Joy Division and The Stone Roses have also stirred with Sid’s designs.
What sets Retreat apart is its attention to detail so if your printed tees feel like a blob of rubber stuck on your chest, then Retreat is not what you’re wearing. Unlike other brands that would rather produce 5000 poorly executed designs using plastisol ink, through hand-printing, Retreat applies mainly discharged and waterbased inks.
Generating a distinctive clientele through his philosophy, Paul Sid has recently worked with the legendary Vaughn Bode estate with exclusive permission by Mark Bode to adapt one of Vaughn’s classic designs. Producing a run of only 30 pieces, the X-Bode tee put Retreat alongside brands such as A Bathing Ape and Puma, leaving them in high demand to a very select few. Although Sid is responsible for most of Retreat’s designs, he has also collaborated with Jonny Sabbagh from Dark Vast, famed for his work with South, the Mo’ Wax label and Lily Allen.