When I met Francis Mayer a few years ago in Florence, he arrived in a blue suit – a clean look. He was far from edgy and introduced himself as a tailor from Canada. Two years later and his mindset has changed. Mayer now dons face tattoos, pink hair and Yeezys on his feet. An oversized hoodie has replaced the blue suit and he is just about to launch new streetwear label, Spektrom.
Spektrom is about colours, expression, nature, texture, vibrations. According to the creative it is centred around the relationship we have with nature and clothes, colours, texture and how it makes us as individuals feel.
Designed and made in Montreal, “It’s not a street wear brand, not a high fashion brand; it’s a colourful project, that promotes colours and nature.”
ICON: I met you at Pitti Uomo a few years ago, fully suited up with no face tattoos. A few years later and you are now fully committed to high-end streetwear. What happened? How did your taste change?
Francis Mayer: “I live with the philosophy that the only constant in life is change. Change is good; we are the creator of our own reality. Being in constant evolution, everyday, learning, processing new information.
I started my career in fashion selling custom suits for a store. I worked for four years and learned a lot about menswear and the industry in general. When I started my own brand and my own project, I was on survival mode, so I wasn’t letting my creativity flow as much as I wanted to. After a few years working on my personal brand, I went on a depression and felt that I wasn’t following my heart. Last year was a year of rebirth for me.
“Last year was a year of rebirth for me.”
Discovery about myself, about what’s important. What I really enjoyed in fashion. Why I wanted to stay in fashion. I had a lot of frustration about not being able to express the message I wanted with my brand. It was the discovery to learn about myself and about what people need with clothes … It was important for me to build a product that empower people…
I really want to make clothes and build a huge business … but most importantly, I want people to understand the message, feel the message, feel the vibrations, [be] empowered by colours and how they make us feel.”
ICON: You are very spiritual about your vision and the hustle to achieve. Talk to us about it.
FM: “I come from a very small town, in Canada, called Quebec City. I had no family members [or] entourage working in fashion, not even fashion lovers. [It was] only my mum doing a bit of sewing at home, but nothing more. Maybe it comes from that. But I was about sports, music and fashion at a young age. Always the kid who would dress weird, listen to lots of music and good at sports. I didn’t know I could make a living working in fashion. Long story short, when I was in university, I started to work at a suit store, that’s how my belief that I could make a living in fashion came about. And now to make a real impact.”
ICON: Is there anything you don’t agree with or dislike within the industry?
FM: “I think there’s already too much product. We need to educate people more about how to consume product. Personally, I love clothes but I don’t own a lot of them. Clothes that I own, I wear them a lot for a small period of time, then I give it to someone in need, who would appreciate it. It’s all about the feeling you get when you wear the piece. It’s a psychological state of mind. To respect clothes and the whole process behind it, everyone involved. To buy the cheapest outfit to impress people that don’t care about you is probably the worst thing someone can do.”
ICON: That’s what Spektrom Project is about?
FM: “Spektrom was born with the concept of a light penetrating through a prism or a glass and separating into all colours. It’s a concept that I got introduced to about a year ago. It just made me realise how our relationship with life and the way we see things is aligned with this concept.
There’s seven basic colours total, but when we mix them together, there’s an infinite amount of possibilities… It made me realise there’s an infinite amount of possibilities about how we live our life… With this new era, especially this Instagram era, it gives a lots of power and attention to visual artists and creators. I wanted a brand that gives a voice to those artists and creators. Make it fun for customers and clients to wear those clothes. A super colourful, vibrant brand – though I prefer calling it a project – that has the philosophy of bringing people together through our love of colours. Which is real love…”
ICON: You mentioned a program to help creative minds to start their own labels?
FM: “I was getting so many messages about how to sell clothes, how to design clothes, how to start your own brand. I decided to turn it into a business opportunity by creating a program, where people get in, follow the steps, and start their own brand. I believe that there’s so many talented individuals out there, that just don’t know they can monetise their attention and their skills by selling clothes. So in Montreal, we have a fully equipped studio where we assist people. From the creation of the brand, the idea, the DNA, to the full inventory, website ready, event done, ready to sell. We have about five people involved in this program for now… With more people and brands that grow, we will expand [internationally] for sure. We want to create a school of creatives; the new generation.”
ICON: You seem to work on different projects at the same time from fashion to DJing. What is your ultimate goal in the future?
“I want to create. Create for people, help others create, create clothes, create music, create feelings…”
FM: “I want to create. Create for people, help others create, create clothes, create music, create feelings. I want to be recognised as a creator of quality products, quality events, quality music, quality moments. Because at the end, all that matters is the memories we get from this journey.”