Wesley Chiang never set out to make a clothing label. Coming from a design background, he started printing tees out of curiosity and the need to find a creative outlet. His friends dug his designs, so he started printing more.
He began thinking about a name for his new venture. Originally intended to be “pseudonym store,” Wes noticed people struggling with the spelling. He surfed the web for ideas. “Originally, I was just looking for a free URL [laughs]. But I was also looking for something that was spelt a little strange for Instagram handles and websites—something that I could really own.”
Friend and fellow designer Chris Loutfy jumped on board and the brand took shape. Pseushi (pronounced phonetically as sushi) recently released their fifth drop from a pop-up store in Chippendale. The new range features an eclectic mix of subject matter; there are ‘80s video game references, Man Ray, Monopoly, and the flawed Soviet reactor partly responsible for the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine.
“We’re both pretty curious individuals. We’ll often go off and read independently before coming together to discuss themes for the next show. The overarching idea for the fifth set was duality—yin and yang, life and death, good and evil. We don’t often think in terms of aesthetics but more in terms of concepts.”
The lack of a clearly-defined aesthetic also informs the choice of models used for the label. Less interested in gaunt models or male archetypes, Chris and Wesley instead try to focus on who people are not what they look like.
“We’re looking for people that fit the ethos of the brand,” says Wes. “Streetwear these days has a real correlation with high fashion and luxurious brands. It’s kind of lost its original meaning. We wanted to use real people you’d see on the streets, not on runways.”
The pair have strong aims and ideals for their brand. It’s one of the reasons they have held-off selling in bricks and mortar storefronts. They want the opportunity to construct their own narrative around Pseushi.
“You can really quickly end up in ten different stores with no idea what the brand stands for. We want a strong ethos for the label before committing to someone else.”
Like any good relationship the team from Pseushi want a mutual understanding, which is why they’ve chosen to team up with their first stockist Above the Clouds.
“It’s easy to get dictated by what the market wants, so it’s important to work with people who really understand what we’re trying to do with the brand.”
One of the pieces for sale in Pseushi’s new line runs a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson: “The most racking pangs succeeded: a grinding in the bones.” It’s a reference to the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, about the onset of transformation.
Chris and Wesley are picturing big things for their label in the future. They mention a women’s range, cut and sew pieces, and a growing interest from people willing to jump on board.
It’s something they are still trying to navigate—growing their business whilst still retaining the core philosophy of the brand. But for now, it seems like Pseushi’s transformation is occurring organically, and growing in a way far removed from the racking pangs or grinding bones of Doctor Jekyll.
Check out Pseushi’s new collection at pseushi.com
- Photography by: Chris Loutfy