Anthony Stead of Sans PermiS: on living freely, with NO APPROVAL NEEDED
Having an idea, imagining it coming it to life, laying the first stones, feeling pushed by the enthusiasm of your loved ones, having your first pieces produced and having the guts to finally revealing that idea to the public. It takes a lot to disclose your core idea and your true self through something no one but you has imagined and nourished so deeply. And opening up to the scrutiny of others when exposing your baby might be the most vulnerable and courageous act that’ll also let you become a bigger and better version of yourself.
Anthony Stead is a grounded and talented entrepreneur, an adventurer and an amazing example of creative courage. The 24 year-old Australian of the newly launch streetwear brand Sans Permis (translated into “with no authorization” in French) has leaned against the wind to come up with a fresh perspective on the meaning of clothing in urban culture. We met him at the dawn of the launch of the brand to discuss his journey and dig more deeply into the meaning and inspirations that let him come up with this concept.
Tell us a bit about you Anthony!
I’m 24, I’m from Australia, and I’m one of four brothers. I love basketball and music, and having fun.
What led you to launch your own fashion brand?
It initially started as my best friend and I felt like there was a bit of a gap between super hypebeast-ey streetwear and more basic, quality menswear. We always wanted something that stood out a bit, but wasn’t way overboard. So we were like “let’s just make it ourselves”. Then he ended up having to focus on his main job so I basically kept working on it myself, and here we are!
What is the concept behind Sans Permis?
In the process of starting the brand, I had all these thoughts about what is a fashion brand and what is the purpose of a brand, etc. I feel like often brands are about ‘flexing’ - basically, “I’m better / richer/ cooler / whatever than you because I’m wearing this brand” - which I think is a bad thing for people and society in general. So I wanted to be sure that my brand had a positive impact on people.
Sans Permis is really just about living freely. I grew up pretty shy and so I sort of had to break through that shell to really enjoy life and be myself. I feel like as we become adults, the world is always telling us we have to act a certain way, speak a certain way... just constantly behave in a way that is seen as acceptable in any given setting. And I think that’s kinda sad, because we all have these limitless spirits that are knocking on the door saying let me out.
So yeah, Sans Permis is about encouraging us all to break through our inner/psychological barriers, but also the fake barriers that the world seems to place around us. Design-wise this comes to life through minimal design (representing the space needed for healthy self-reflection), premium detailing (representing the limitlessness that we can all feel if we live ‘sans permis’), and a genuinely quality product (representing authenticity).
How do you come with your creative ideas and where do you get your inspiration from?
In terms of my creative process I don’t know that I’ve really established one yet. I like to bounce ideas around other people and I think conversations always help me complete my thoughts. My mind can be a bit chaotic so it helps to sit down, think things through patiently, and make something real. Inspiration-wise, Aime Leon Dore and Saturdays NYC are a couple brands that I think have a similar focus on quality and an authentic brand story. I’d also have to reference J.Cole, Isaiah Rashad, Joey Badass, Kanye, A$AP Rocky, Kid Cudi, Mac Miller, Marlon Craft amongst many other musicians. I feel like the creative spirit and authenticity of some of those guys’ music has definitely influenced my work with Sans Permis.
What are your source of inspirations ?
KidSuper comes to mind because he’s another young ‘designer’ who’s just working hard and having fun. Rocky again because he’s just the coolest guy out and he’s so unapologetic about being himself. Mac Miller / Cudi / Marlon again because they kinda helped me come to terms with my personality a bit. They’re maybe more melancholic souls and sometimes I relate to that. But the way their music tells the story of them powering through and still being great and still showing love and having fun/living life. That definitely helps get me through the less rosey times.
The only two podcasts I listen to are Brilliant Idiots (shoutout Andrew Schultz) and the Wael Davis Experience (shoutout Wael). I’m also always listening to Gary Vee, Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson type stuff on YouTube. That’s more-so content about psychology and perspective/outlook on life which I think is important and can help foster productive energy.
Can you mention some of the people that inspired your journey?
I think the people who inspired my journey are those who were willing to speak when I reached out. I’m always looking for mentors and maybe 1 in 15 people I reach out to takes the time to genuinely help (which is fair and makes me appreciate the 1 so much more). For me it’s been Dan Churchill (a fellow Aussie who runs Charley St - great restaurant), Anh Pham (my graphic designer turned life coach/mentor/friend), and Eitan Braham (co-founder of Liberty Fairs). Also have to say my mum, she’s believed in me despite the randomness of the path so far and she’s always available to help resolve any roadblocks.
How do you pull yourself out of really low moments?
Very tough question...I think it’s just persisting and having faith that things will turn around. I’ve had some extremely dark moments with Sans Permis when I just felt totally isolated, hopeless, stupid, etc. I think it helps (if it’s really bad) to talk to someone, to take a step back, meditate / go to the gym / play basketball, and realize at the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world if things don’t turn out as planned.
Also life is long. So if it’s something I want to achieve, just committing to the marathon (RIP Nipsey) vs. thinking of things as a short-term sprint. It’s like, if I have faith in the vision, I can be patient and let things unfold. But to be honest I’m definitely still figuring this out - I’m not sure it is ever fully resolved and I think uncertainty is part of life. Like last weekend I texted several people that I was not O.K. and currently I feel so relaxed and content.
What is your personal motto?
I don’t really have one, but for right now: I just wanna be me (shoutout Dave East).
The best advice you’ve been given
Don’t do drugs and ‘life is pretty simple’.
How do you incorporate self-care into your life ?
Going to the gym has been a big creative ritual, it makes such a difference in general wellbeing. Playing basketball is also a huge one for me. I try to meditate but have been slacking recently. Mostly though I think it’s just committing to the grind/hustle. I’m always looking to build and grow both as a person and with the Sans Permis brand, so it’s basically become a part of me.
Can you share some of your go-to restaurants in NYC ?
And your favorite coffee shops ?
My second home: The Hideout Chai Bar (shoutout Chris).