I (Riley), recently sat down with designer Serge Bourgault to talk about his journey to becoming involved with 22Fresh. We spoke about growing up in small town Saskatchewan, life lessons in sport and the idea of where the brand is headed.
Did you play sports growing up?
SB: In the small town where I grew up, I played hockey starting at around age 4, and played a little bit of baseball as well. In my late teens, I started to take golf a little more seriously. Its a pretty small town, maybe 600 people. We didn't have many options. No football, and the baseball program was pretty small. Obviously in small town Saskatchewan hockey was a no brainer.
Thinking back, what did sport teach you? What lessons or principals have stuck with you?
SB: Playing Golf has actually taught me a lot. I feel it's really helped me in life and in design. Its a game of fundamentals, focus, confidence and positive visualization–willing things into reality in a sense. I have read a lot about sports psychology as well as creative thinking and I realized there are so many parallels. The idea of developing and understanding fundamentals is something I apply to design and to learning new skill-sets. The more you understand those fundamentals, exercise those muscles, the easier things come, and the more well-rounded you will be.
What was the first things you remember making?
SB: I started with Lego as most kids do, but that evolved pretty quickly. We had to be resourceful as kids and whatever we could get our hands on had the potential to be something else. My grandfather on my mother's side had a small wood working shop and my family also owned a manufacturing company–I learned a lot of different skills early. I think all of that has a lot to do with the way I approach things.
How did you start your journey into the design world?
SB: Well I was working for the family business since a teenager and around 21 was thinking of pursuing an engineering career. I remember thinking "Could I really stare at a computer like this all day?"–its funny thinking back because thats exactly what I'm doing most days now. The one thing I would say changed my path was attending my sisters graduation exhibition from her applied arts program. I just really enjoyed it..the work, the people I met. I could see myself in that world. So I decided to forgo the dream of engineering and enrol in the same course for the next year.
How does 22Fresh come into the picture?
SB: Once I had finished school, I eventually moved to Regina. I had done a few internships and worked at a local agency for a short period of time. Those were really great opportunities–they really showed me I had the skills and fortitude to dive further into design. That experience made me want to take it as far as I could. I was freelancing and working closely with a photographer friend of mine who knew Kip and had done work for 22Fresh. Kip would pop into the studio from time to time. This is about 4 or 5 years ago–it all happened in a pretty organic way really. It started with a little graphic work, some web design...one thing lead to another and here I am.
In your opinion, what is the goal or aesthetic for 22Fresh?
SB: We try to use "Made for Street and Sport" as a filter. It's one thing to have an eye-catching graphic but we are motivated to do more than that. How can we produce a product that feels good, fits well and performs...thats the real challenge. Having products that are more versatile. I can relate it back to the blue collar background I come from, we always wanted to get the most out of things we spend hard earned money on. Right now I think our focus is on making things perform and function in all facets of life.
Where do ideas start within the brand?
SB: Kip has done an amazing job of creating a voice for the brand. He is an idea machine, always firing stuff at me. Some stuff comes easy and sometimes it needs a little more work until we feel its right. Whether its a graphic or something more technical like Fresh Cotton, we're always banking ideas, consciously curating graphics and garments that fit together for each season. Its also important to stay true to ourselves, and not to chase what others are doing too much–you can't completely ignore it either. We are motivated to dream up ways to evolve and push the brand forward...all while keeping things uniquely 22fresh.
Where would you like see 22Fresh in 5 years?
SB: We have a goal to create a wide spectrum of products. I hope one day soon you'll be able to walk out of the house, or go to the gym in nothing but 22fresh...head to toe. It can go as far as we're willing to take it and I know with the people we have on board there is no limit.
After i finished chatting with Serge I began to wonder...If he were on the field what position would he play?
I see him as a catcher...framing pitches (ideas) that might be a touch outside the plate. Or simply just catching strikes (great ideas) and making sure they don't get past him.
Much like sports I recognize this brand is about the Team, Teammate and rarely about one person. Everyone does their job well, cares about the greater good and has one common goal...Strive for more, be hungry to get to the next level and never peak too long into the other lane. A coach I had always said, "The most important play, is the next play." I know I'm waiting with baited breath to see what the next play from 22Fresh will look like.
- Riley Sisco