Interview: YKTR Founder & Dragons Star Corey Norman
+ check out the latest YKTR range.
Fashion 5d

Interview by Abbey Steanes // Images provided

With the NRL season kicking off next month, crossover streetwear brand and local legends YKTR have dropped their latest collection.

Just a couple of years since the brand’s inception, you can barely leave the house in Sydney without bumping into a few people wearing the popular streetwear brand. Their success in such a short time can be attributed to a couple of key ingredients: The profile of the brand’s founders, Isaac John (Ice), James Segeyaro (Chicko) and Corey Norman; their branding exercises beyond advertising (think social media presence annd their highly entertaining podcast) which have not only shown their personalities as individuals, but instilled a strong connection to the brand’s ethos (they are after all a brand built on good times, friendships, cold beers and travel); and the obvious fact that they make considered, stylish and well made clothing.

To celebrate the launch of their latest collection, we caught up with YKTR founder and current Dragons star Corey Norman. Check out the interview below:

Hi Corey, thanks for taking some time to chat with us. What have you been up to in the off season?

Exploring! I Love to travel and experience different cultures, and ticked off a few places I’ve had on my bucket list. Egypt, Jordan and Turkey were cool. I also ventured over to Tokyo over the Christmas period for a white Christmas – what a place that was. Besides that, I’ve been back at training since mid November so have been really zoned in on that.

Are you pumped for this year, how do you think you’ll go?

Yeah 100! It’s my second year at the club and I feel a lot more settled with a full season and pre-season under my belt. So there’s no excuses really.

Do you use off-season time to focus your energies YKTR? How do you balance the two when the NRL season starts?

We’ve built up some pretty good systems within the company. Obviously with me playing footy and being paid for it that’s were my focus lies. But I’m also the type of person who doesn’t think about footy 24/7. I like to have passions outside of the game. I drop in on days off more so like to have my fingers on the pulse with what’s going on in terms of design. A helicopter point of view [laughs].

How did YKTR start and what is it all about?

Pretty randomly. There were three of us boys living in a house – Chicko, Ice and I – and ‘You Know The Rules’ was something we always said. We abbreviated it to YKTR and it was the name of our group chat. We kind of just got it printed on a tee and used to rock them and people started asking if they could buy them. For a bit of a laugh we printed 20 and flicked them off. Then we made 100 and sold through those and thought we might be onto something here. That’s basically it.

What is your main role in YKTR, how involved are you?

Mostly in the direction of design, colour, fits and collections. I like fashion and kicks so I just have my little input here and there on what I think would work and what won’t. Obviously footy is still my main priority but I try to pop in once a fortnight on days off and knock about the office.

But hopefully once she’s all said and done I would love to step into that side of things. Travelling for ideas and putting collections seems like fun way to live and combine multiple passions.

Where do you manufacture your pieces? Do you outsource or do everything in house?

Seek Inspo from LA, NYC + Seoul. Designing is all done in house and then we manufacture over in China. Ice, my business partner, deals with the day to day running of it and we have two staff members underneath him. We ship via 3PL so we do outsource that.

Who’s the most famous person who’s worn your brand?

Seen Patty Mills Rocking it pre NBA game which was cool. Guess on a global scale maybe SBW!

How did you find/ go about getting your brand name out there to start with?

About six months in we started Vlogging which was massive for us. Documenting the journey which again was for a bit of fun. But then our business started to grow and grow and three years later we’ve just moved into our second office. It’s all happened pretty quick.

What can we look forward to from YKTR this year and beyond?

Our company motto is “INSPIRE CHANGE THROUGH CLOTHING”. Through this vlogging series we’ve let everyone in behind the scenes on what it takes not only run a business but run a business with friends. A mix of entertainment and education. The start of this year we had a big meeting. Ice mentioned that we want be the brand that creates the most value through content in Australia which hopefully will then encourage people to support us. But also make some cool clothes to match the journey. It’s the philosophy we’ve built our business upon and it’s been fun.

You can follow the YKTR journey via instagram here. As mentioned earlier in the article, the boys have just dropped a killer new collection, so peep select pieces from the latest YKTR drop in the images below, and head to yktr.com.au to shop the full range.

Words by Declan Whelan February 14, 2020
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