I meet Alex Ambert’s work through a friend who was wearing a pair of pants that I had never seen before. I asked him where he had bought that peculiarly styled pants and he told me from a brand of his friend called «UniAllDay» but then changed his name to Room4. Once I had the guilty of the crime I just followed the paths to ended invited to Alex’s house where we had a very interesting conversation about handmade clothes in his workshop room.
Hi Alex! We all know that skateboarding is closely related to fashion. Have you always been interested in fashion or only because you started to skate?
That’s true many luxury brands get their inspiration from the skate culture.
I wouldn’t say that I’m into fashion really, even though I’m getting more and more into it by the collabs big luxury brands do nowadays, you can’t avoid them. I’ve always been into clothes. I was more inspired by the US hip hop to be honest. The G shit ahah. Specially all the heavy weight denim, T-shirt and all of that. That is maybe why I’m making mostly baggy and oversized jackets!
We are some kind of fashion heads anyway but I feel like it is fashion who gets its inspiration from skate and street culture by copying baggy cuts and more… and not the other way around.
The type of pants have defined the skater during the time; skater punk–skinny jeans, hiphop skater–cargo shorts… Where do you think this influence comes from?
Skate culture is so interesting in ways outside people can’t really understand, what I mean is that in skate culture you can find every type of people from G skaters to nerds to rockers, hippies and so on… but at the end of the day we all love the same thing, skateboarding all together. I just believe that all these influences come from what we deeply love and what we think looks good. Ahahah well look at lil Wayne, he’s wearing skinny jeans and still rap and skate. It all depends what you do with your clothes I guess!
Nowadays, Pontus Alv made the hit with the surf pants from his brand Polar Skate Co, then with his whole collection “Big Boy Pants”. Why do you think this boom happened?
To be completely honest, I just believe he followed his instinct and also because even tho you look shit on a board you always look better with a baggy or oversized pants, take me as an example ahahahah. I remember seeing Marca Barbier insta clip in Répu, long ago, wearing an oversized surf pants, of course the guy looks good on the board but it adds an extra flow to it… and it looks comfy as fuck too!
«We (skaters) are some kind of fashion heads anyway but I feel like it is fashion who gets its inspiration from skate and street culture»
What do you think about the price of the Big Boy Pants? (around 125€)
Why not?! When you know your product is good and you the first one making it why not taking advantage of it?
To answer your question, I think we are far from broke ass skaters who use to skate oversized pants because they were cheaper with discount at the store. But of course like many others It could be an expensive price to just get it dirty and torn up but it’s also a form of art when you skate, so you have to wear the right pants.
Maybe for a massive pants production it is maybe expensive but for me 125 is correct, my pants have the same average price…but custom and on measurements. I remember an ad of, I think was Ryan Gallant, who said it had to wear the right pants to get his trick done…we are pants and clothes freaks! Ahah.
Talking about your work, When did you think about starting to work on this?
Four years ago actually, when I was a bit over my way of living in Barcelona, with the classic call center job who drives you crazy after few months… I needed to travel a bit so I decided to pack my stuff, went to my dad’s for few weeks just for me to have time to organize my trip and take off.
So I was at my dad’s and my step mother used to be a seamstress and has plenty of sewing machines at home (industrial ones), I first start to ask her to make me a pair of shorts then I was watching her do it and I was thinking, maybe you can teach me how to make my garments so I don’t have to ask you all the time. She said yes right away and taught me all the basics: way of fabrics, making patterns, sewing…
Did you start with small customizations or did you directly go to make big things?
I went straight into what I wanted to do, pants!
So I started with very simple pants, I might still have the very first one, made with some fabric found at my grandma’s. Actually quite luxurious because the belt was made with a goldish silk. It was so hard to sew for a first one but when I have something in mind… I can be a bit stubborn.
We have seen that you make different types of pants with customized patterns, which one do you like the most? (baggy pants, shorts…)
I love them all but if I have to choose I will go for the ones who took me more time, such as the off-white corduroy from Italy with some camo and screen printing details or some of the other cargos, like the denim ones with reinforcement on the butt or the black ones with desert Sand camo. I also really enjoy some of the shorts with characters embroidered on the back pockets. At the moment I’m making one pair of black velvet pants with satin black on black roses pattern fabric and some pieces of fake fur that I’m really looking forward to finish…for a music clip!
«When you know your product is good and you the first one making it why not taking advantage of it?»
Do you make a living from this? If is not the case, would you like it?
Not yet but some day I hope! I have a part time job that I took to afford all the rent and charges that I have so I don’t put too much pressure on the amount of pants I have to do each month while still keeping enough time to develop my business. Plus, you never know how the economy is going so I play the safe card for now.
I’m doing this because I love it and for fun, I would really love to keep it that way, even though I know that I some point I’ll need to step the game up a notch if I want to live off this. I’m hyped because few stuff are coming soon (I hope): website, edits and even collabs… It is a lot of work to do just on my own, but luckily I have good friends and family who help me with some things, even though for me it is hard to delegate work, I will have to, because I don’t know everything and can run everything on my own.
You said you have help, do you have someone who help you with the sewing part?
For now, not directly help, but I taught one of my very good homie how to sew not long ago and he is already making little creations like underwears (like the good old large underwear to match the big baggy pants!) , and he is also customizing clothes.
My girlfriend also started to learn how to sew with me, and she is super into it which will be good help in the future.
Rémy as you are here too, would you like to tell us more about all of this?
Rémy Monier; I met Alex 2 years ago, something like this, and we became friend really quickly.The first day we met, he told me that he was making pants and I was curious about that, the process, the fabric, the final result, pretty much everything. One day, we went to his place to chill, so he took the opportunity to show me all the pants that he has, the machines, the fabric, the whole workshop actually. And this day, Alex was really hyped about showing me everything, I felt like he landed a sw 360 flip down stairs, he got the same energy. Since this day, I wanted to know more about sewing, but also I was looking to do it with him! He spent so much time, teaching me how to sew, how to choose a fabric, how to make a patern, everything.
He watched my evolution from my first underwear to the ones I do now, and he got the same hype about seeing me getting better everyday. That’s just the most important thing to me, creating thing with a homie and pushing each other to be better and creative.
What a hype! So Alex, do people contact you for classes or advices?
Yes! But it is a bit delicate for me to give classes about it. First of all I have no diploma about this and I’m still learning everyday. It is also hard to find time for anything else, but yeah from time to time Simon Isaksson comes to talk pants for advice as he makes his own baggys. Also Emil Andersson who is a homie, makes underwear and beanies so I help him with patterns and sewing tips.
«I’m doing this because I love it and for fun, I would really love to keep it that way, even though I know that I some point I’ll need to step the game up a notch if I want to live off this.»
You also said collabs are on the way, can we know more about this?
I would love to tell you more about it but nothing is done yet so I’d rather not talk about it, but I’m super excited because it will be a brand new type of work and a skate brand that I really admire. If you follow my work on the gram you might be able to catch some teasing stories about it.
And I recently start working on jackets! And I’m super stocked about it, it is good to mix things up and do something different than just pants, there is also a lot to explore here. When I feel like it, I make few goodies such as beanies, bucket hats, tot bags… anything that I feel like creating.
Hall of Fame that got their asses into your handmade pants?
They are all stars and the same to my eyes and can’t be grateful enough for their support and purchases but If you want names, here are few:
Diego Xifré who is pro in Uruguay but lives in Australia, Oliver O’Hanlon an Arc de Triomf local, Julien Merour French/Barcelona legend, Emil Andersson from Sour Solution, Luidgi Gaydu from Converse/ACE in Paris, Lex Van Der Does from the Netherlands…
Nice team! Do you choose the materials always from the same spot?
I have different spots in BCN and of course some favorites but also order online if I can’t find what I want or need. I work as much as possible with dead stock fabric suppliers because I believe we have enough already made fabrics for everyone. I recently start reworking some existing garments.
Where do you make your handmade creations?
At home, in the Eixample, Barcelona. I have a big room in a sunny flat for my workshop which is actually perfect. I recently started doing some handmade screen printing to complete the customization of garments and also got a computorized embroidery machine to really offer a full customization option. So basically now you can come with your logo to get it embroidered onto pants, shorts, t-shirts, caps… even started embroidering locally for brands and skateshops, I’m super hyped about this machine.
Can you give us 4 essential tips for anyone who wants to start from scratch to create their own pants?
Patience, perseverance, commitment and inspiration. A good dose of love to glue all of these together.
So inspiring! Is your brand called “uni all day” because you are a local of this place?
The brand is officially Room4 now! But yes I use to skate all the time there but not anymore. When I first arrived in Barcelona in 2014, I was hanging out a lot with some other uni locals that were thinking of making a bootleg version of Helas but for uni. I found this plaza more welcoming to every level skaters than some other here in barna and this was reflecting the mentality of what I wanted to create.
«I work as much as possible with dead stock fabric suppliers because I believe we have enough already made fabrics for everyone.»
How is the process If I am interested in buy you some fuckin fresh pants?
Basically the same as if you go to a tailor.
If you are in Barcelona, you can come to the workshop. If you are not, all the following steps are by text messages:
Check what fabrics I have available, if nothing hypes you up, I go on fabric hunting to find the correct one.
You choose the cut and measurements: big baggy, tapered legs, straight legs, narrow waist, high or low waist, whatever works best for you.
Tell me what details you want, if you have no idea I can guide you through to create the pants you want.
You can choose a lot of options such as the color of stitching, embroideries, pocket type, pattern or patchwork for the most trendy skaters, useful detail like velcro or zip pockets, lining, secret pocket for some hidden green… only limit is your imagination.
Then I take your measurements and you can try some pants that I have to check some different cuts and sizes. Make alterations if needed.
Once all the above are set, I usually ask a deposit and the rest once the custom is done.
Only thing that I keep on all the pants is the elastic waist which I found mandatory to have comfy pants!
Are you gonna keep it that way or will you pre-make some of the pieces at some point?
I want to keep my product accessible for as many people as possible, of course making on measurements pants is taking quiet some times, so the price is reflecting on that (even though I think my range of price, usually between 95 up to 175, is pretty low for a tailoring service).
With the embroidery machine, I can now have some goodies like t-shirts, caps, hoodies, easily pre-made for whoever doesn’t have the budget to get pants or just want to support my work their own way. I already started making a capsule collection with SOUR Solution to create one of one pieces based on upcycling and a rework of pre-existing garments. So to give you an example it can be a pair of shorts made out of a jacket. In the future, I would like to keep this rework stuff going on.
In the future, I would like to have a stock of unique pieces with standard sizes, so less time spend on pattern and measurements to get slightly lower prices and people will still get unique pieces of pants and jackets.
Thank you very much for your time, we hope to continue watching your pieces of art around all the worldwide underground street skate spots!
Thanks you for this opportunity and your kind word, hope to see the mag grow as much as it deserves it!