A big part of who I am and what you see on Ponytail Journal today has to do with my relationship with this wonderful family called Incu and its creators Brian and Vincent Wu. I would hazard a guess to say that my love for W’Menswear, and source of inspiration for that wonderful back and forth between ‘his’ and ‘hers’ stemmed from it. So for those of you who don’t have a clue about what I’m going on about, let me introduce you to Incu, an incubator and purveyor of great brands, fun, and much goodness. They are a destination for great retail, not only because they’re so madly focused on creating great experiences for their most valuable people (some in the industry wouldn’t know the answer to this, but it’s ahem… their customers) while equally concerned with keeping their big working family thriving. This all-inclusiveness and enthusiasm for sharing great things in art, food, and culture made me believe in the idea of creating your own vehicle to get to your happy place. In Brian and Vini’s case, I’m pretty sure (and I’m sure they’d agree with me) that they arrived a while ago, and now look ahead to new things both port and starboard even if it gets a little foggy.
In my earlier days as a fresh little nugget out of art school, modelling, and starting to feel the hunger for exploring, Incu threw chance after chance my way like they were free frisbees that I could throw back a little later… like after an ice-cream break or something. My pal Nick and I made mushroom and pine tree inspired installations for their ‘Window Project‘, one of those frisbees they throw at artists to make giant cool stuff to show the world at their Mens store in Sydney’s The Galleries. I was the face of their online shebang for the longest while, which I was proud as a peacock to be, and even got to do wonderful projects like play in live music videos with my pal Dan for our band Kodachrome, dressed to the nines in their finest W’Menswear. (You can watch it at the conclusion of this piece).
Flash back to when this little nugget had bangs / Wearing Antipodium For Incu and Weathered on the right /
So to say the least, these guys Brian and Vini know what’s good. They know how to have fun, and they know how important it is to play. The fine line between work and play at Incu HQ can be summed up as creative seriousness, combined with opportunistic optimism. A kind of glass-half-full way of seeing life, only in their case, the glass is a jar and it’s filled with Kit-Kats. This is also why their office is full of push bikes hanging from walls, ceilings, and leaning on work benches, as well as in-house puppies for pats. It’s more evidence to me that a ‘funnest life possible’ policy is real important for making good things happen. Aussies do it pretty gosh darn well I think, balanced with some good hard work of course.
Brian and Vini on a chesterfield wearing jeans and sneakers. / Photo by Phu Tang for The Design Files /
As I’ve learnt, great things don’t appear out of nowhere, and I don’t believe in overnight success. Things take time and hard work, but it’s surely easier when you reaaally love what you do, the people you work (and hang) with, as well as how you live your life. Although these two didn’t run down the creative path from early on, Brian and Vini realised after finishing their MBAs and working in the corporate world that it wasn’t what floated their boat. So using their twin-brother-superpowers, combined forces and schemed their eject plan. And so, the first Incu store was born. A space that represents the polar opposite to that static and intimidating experience we call luxury shopping. It’s more like a space where you can just stand and take everything in, or go through their eyeball-melting wares (they’re melting from too much greatness) with a fine toothed comb – the floor staff might just even join in for the fun of it.
They stock some of my favourite labels like A.P.C (they’re why A.P.C has a flagship store in Melbourne), Norse Projects, Moscot Originals, The Hill-Side, Want Les Essentials, Vanishing Elephant, Hansel from Basel, Rag & Bone, and kudos to their sweet house label Weathered. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that they have all the best mags down like Gather Journal, Cherry Bomb, and Inventory amongst many others. You’ll find these guys jetting over to Paris and New York twice a year to do a little sneaky spying and a little sneaky buying, to bring Aussies their fix of the good stuff. They always manage to fit in some quality eating along the way (always) because they’re trailblazers for the eating + work combo deal. Good food and team Incu go hand in hand. They seize the opportunity at any chance, like stopovers in Hong Kong for some tasty chow en route to Paris, or collaborating with their favourite gelato shop, Messina, to make a special flavour for their 10th birthday. Like sniffing out vintage goodness is second nature to me, hunting for greatness in food, art, and design is a game these guys play well.
So I need not say more other than, Brian and Vini live their funnest life possible, they’ve sprouted much goodness and have been able to patiently watch everything take root around them. To achieve this for myself would be a total win in my books. Oh yeah, they also have super cool kids who bake cookies for Santa Clause, Vanishing Elephant for office neighbours, and a friendly monster who disguises himself as Steve Aoki living in their office, but that’s another story.
Vincent and Brian Wu.
Q/ Describe WHAT YOU DO as if you were talking to a five-year-old.
I sell pretty clothes to lots of people!
Q/ Tell us how you slipped into INCUBATING.
We got bored doing our day jobs so we did our dream jobs.
Q/ What did you have for BREAKFAST this morning / What do you wish you had for BREAKFAST this morning?
Coffee / Bacon & Egg Roll
Q/ What does the word GOODNESS mean to you?
Q/ Draw us a picture of INCU STYLE.
[They drew a Venn diagram with ‘Aspirational’ in the top circle, ‘Accessible’ in the right circle, ‘Functional’ on the left, and ‘Incu’ as the middle chunk where the three circles overlap]
Q/ What is a typical SUNDAY in your world?
Ideal – The beach.
Reality – Kids birthday parties.
Q/ What’s always in your POCKET?
Phone, car keys, wallet.
Q/ What was the last thing you GOOGLED?
Bali resorts… I need to go.
Q/ Who’s IG account distracts you MUCHLY?
All Blacks! We grew up in NZ.