How The Land Rover Defender Inspired PYRA Elements, One Of The Year's Best New Clothing Lines.
The time difference is massive. It’s the one thing I forget when corresponding with our subject. You’d think after a couple years of friendship, I’d remember. But I don’t. I never do. I text him like an idiot because New York City is the center of the world and the city that never sleeps, so I assume no one does anywhere.
Australia is quite asleep.
It’s already the future in Australia. For 24 hours, we’re a year apart. That same Manhattan world view I typically have takes a backseat when I remember all of this. Sure, tech and transportation, specifically the union of the two, has allowed us to be more connected than ever before in recent years, but it's still vast.
And there’s no place more vast than Australia.
Save the American West, Siberia, and the portions of North Africa that the French, Spanish, and Berbers battled over, there’s nothing on this dirt-laden spinning sphere that can out-vast Australia. Besides the eastern and western coasts where the major cities are located, it's boldly stark. Iconic dystopian action film Mad Max, for all the money spent on blowing up trucks, didn’t need to spend a goddamn dime on set building. You couldn’t produce any of the Maxes anywhere else and still have it be the same film. Not even close.
There’s a feeling down under that doesn’t exist anywhere else due to that panoramic vastness. Australia is the perfect pallet to paint adventure on. Its soft earth tones and brutal, jutting greens that dash the sprawling horizon like barbed wire fences. Endless in its wonder and powerful in its possibility, you can almost define the word adventure by pointing at the lower right corner of the map. I’m not sure what the actual tourism slogan is, but it should, for every reason applicable, prominently feature the word adventure.
It was an adventure right from the start. What began as the Queen’s prison colony sure came up, and they did it their way. Influenced by, but never beholden to, the Windsor Empire, everything there’s a little different. It's got a little more verve, a little more balls-con-swagger, a little more snakebite. The prisoners done cowboy-ed up and that same audacious exhilaration pumps through the veins. It's not so much that they don’t know of another way; it’s that they don’t care. Full stop.
Australia has commoditized and commercialized adventure like no other nation has. From Paul Hogan’s knife wielding cowboy in the iconic Crocodile Dundee franchise, to both Gibson and Hardy’s take on Mad Max, to the iconic late outdoor daredevil Steve Irwin, this place produces a certain something and they know it.
It’s consciously in the exhilarating narration in those shitty Outback ads that sold the Yanks a bag of lies to go with your Foster’s (which is not a synonym for beer anywhere). It’s woven in the fabric of their DNA. Baz Luhrmann’s over the top soul could not come from anywhere else. Hell, even their successful businessmen are maniacs, just listen to Richard Branson say anything aloud. That dude could be talking about a spot of tea and I’d run through a brick wall like the Kool-Aid Man.
Add another Aussie to the renegade export roster. His name is Sam Moore.
Moore was born just across the way in New Zealand’s North Island, but he’s been an Aussie for longer than he hasn’t. He’s a creative renegade whose journey began as an excellent surfer and skier, totally on brand for the swashbuckling lifestyle the conti-nation has made a career off exploiting.
Off the waves and slopes, he was an avid creator from a young age filling his school books with concept sketches of clothing he imagined would befit his outdoorsman lifestyle. Fast forward some time and Moore outdid his younger self handily.
In 2014, Moore ventured to Japan and was struck with a noir bolt he grew to name DEAD Studios. DEAD was just kind of Moore’s cool moniker to sell t-shirts. The industrial retro-futurism aesthetic grew from just tops, drawing on inspiration from Moore’s youth in 90’s alt-culture, his new found love of asian streetwear, and his roots of extreme sport lifestyles that emerged from skating, punk, and hip hop. It resonated with the internet’s convergence culture, and its monochrome-only pallet became distinct in all the right circles. Minimalist and aggressive, nostalgic and futura, DEAD emerged as one of the defining brands in Iteration 2 of street luxe fashion.
Then Kylie Jenner was snapped wearing DEAD yoga pants by LA paparazzi and Moore’s life changed. His company, founded in earnest in elementary school with notebook sketches by a kid who just wanted to make cool shit to wear himself, was now one of the hottest lines in any hemisphere.
Moore’s DEAD Studios held on for life riding on the adderall fueled rocket that pop culture engages, For several years, the knuckles stayed white. It thrived until it just couldn’t anymore. Eventually stars fall under the weight of the great equalizer that is gravity.
Moore needed to get back to his roots. After an off roading weekend in a friend’s mid 80’s Land Rover Defender in the outback, he reconnected with who he was, and more importantly, who he was meant to be. That Land Rover tripped saved his life. It reignited the passion that pop culture’s fiery jaunt beats right the fuck out of us. The Phoenix never rose from a penthouse on Madison Ave.
After a hiatus and restoration, where Moore’s relationship with nature was repurposed in holistic ways and a new creation was born.
Meet Pyra Elements.
Pyra was designed to unite the journey between man and nature with razor sharp focus on function and form. Moore consciously blurred the lines between alpine function and edgy-yet-technical streetwear. Gone are the flavor of the week exaggerations of the fly by night hypebeast, replaced by sophisticated, sartorial outdoor gear that marries the world of Patagonia and Arc’teryx with the world of High Snobiety.
Moore aimed higher on the details and the materials, sourcing 100% organic cottons and layered techwear that combined aggression with elegance and held function in the highest regard.
We sat down with Moore to discuss his love for Defenders, the outdoors, and how the amalgamation formed a wearable narrative that embraces and gives a uniform to a lifestyle.
7 Questions with PYRA's Sam Moore
AX: Great to talk to you, brother. Been too long. Glad you’ve connected with your purpose in a whole new way man. Where did this come from? Like truly, where was Pyra born?
Growing up in NZ, I was always exposed to the elements, whether that was Surfing in Summer or skiing in Winter. After living in the busy city for the past 11 years in Sydney, I want to develop a brand that was able to be a reflection of my true lifestyle. I wanted to design a product with a purpose and product that lasts beyond the season: technical streetwear that's designed for life and built for the elements, with marketing to inspire you to get back outside into the elements.
AX: Has Pyra changed your relationship with nature, with the outback, with ski and surf culture? How therapeutic has that been?
Getting out there outdoors has always been a great stress release for me. It can be hard living in the city; everything is so fast paced, man. When you are out in the elements, it gives you time to unwind and have true reflection. I have always loved this, whether it's at the top of the mountain skiing, or out the back of the waves surfing. Nature has an eerie calmness to it, a link, a connection, which has zero to do with wifi. But now I suppose I have more excuses to get into the outdoors product testing, which is a bonus.
AX: I caught the Land Rover shot on Pyra’s Instagram. Has the Defender always been iconic to you for personal reasons, and what does it represent to you?
Absolutely! I have always been a massive fan of the Defender. I love the hard edges and the boxy shape. The form follows function industrial design philosophy behind it. It's built for the elements. It's tough, and it's the ultimate vehicle to pack up and take on surf or skiing trips. A Defender is adventure personified.
AX: If you could customize a Defender for Pyra, as a collab with us at Blackbridge, what would that feature?
I have always been a fan of blacked out trucks. They have certain stealth feel to them. I would black it out, and then wrap it in one of our seasonal graphics of an alpine topographic map in black and white. I would give this hard monochrome look to it.
AX: We’ve been friends for two years now. I remember the first time we chopped it up. Time flies. We connected when my former company Wanderset and DEAD Studios teamed up and did some pretty rad stuff together. DEAD was probably our best seller, even next to brands like Kappa, Mr. Completely, Amiri, Nike, and even the super hot boutique exclusive Paris/Milan luxury collections. DEAD was special. But what's the biggest thing you’ve learned post-DEAD Studios?
It sure does! At Dead studios we really chased the trends and also set them. That brand turned into something that I personally lost touch with. It was just pop culture beast feeding. It didn't really represent my style or my narrative. For example, our best selling style was women's activewear leggings! For PYRA, this is true to what I want to wear and what suits my lifestyle. It was made for other off-the-grid dragon chasers.
AX: How is Pyra different?
We have a very clear idea of what the brand represents and who our customer is.
Fusing streetwear expression through a sophisticated manner that embraces the now, PYRA is grounded in the elements, bringing you a completely purposeful wardrobe of technical fabrics, organic cottons, graphic jersey, and aggressively elegant accessories that reinforce your season-to-season wear. We want to inspire our generation to get back outdoors. So far, we have.
AX: If you could take one of our Defenders anywhere, legit anywhere in the world, where would it be? Go nuts.
I would take it back skiing to Queenstown in New Zealand. The roads up the mountains in NZ are brutal, they are all dirt and mud, and weave their way up these crazy steep roads to the ski fields. The Defender would be the ultimate off-road vehicle of choice for sure!