Nancy is an independent brand from the mind of London based skateboarder, Sam Hughes. Nancy’s debut collection is inspired by the 80s punk DIY tradition, horror B Movies and the random things Sam collects. We asked Sam’s longtime friend and Isle Skateboards pro Casper Brooker to find out more behind the routes of the brand. - read on for inside jokes, piss-taking and insight into what makes Nancy so rad.
Sam is one of my oldest and best friends. I’ve known him for nearly twelve years and I am very lucky to call him my friend. You may have seen him over the years trying switch inward heels whilst on the shop floor at Slam City Skates ignoring customers, or down at Southbank screaming at a wall because he’s managed to break another board on flat. Now still breaking boards on flat, he is the tattoo covered, pink haired assistant manager at Supreme London and is also running his new brand Nancy. He’s come a long way from having a street poo on Kingsland Road at 2am and I can’t express how proud I am of this kind hearted nutter.
Heeeeeellllo Sam! For people who don’t know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and finally confess that you’re from Watford?
Helllloooo Casper! Oh my God, haha already. No, I’m not, I’m from Edgware, NORTH London. And I’m Sam, I have a nice dog, hi.
Can you let us know how you came to start Nancy and what got you motivated to do it? You’ve been sober for over a year now, I’m super super proud of you for that. Was that a big driving force in getting started and helping you with that journey?
I’ve forever wanted to do something but was always “busy” at night. Now I have A LOT of time to fill. I was drawing loads and thought I’d try tattooing, but your legs show that probably wasn’t a great idea. That dagger tattoo I did on your leg, the anxiety! I thought you would have to get it amputated and never be able to skate again. Then I’d have to financially support you for ruining your life. That was real for about two weeks so making clothing was a better move.
I imagine working full time can be a hurdle while trying to put stuff into Nancy?
At the moment, not really, as it grows it could get a bit harder, but I’m up for the challenge. Probably have to stop hand-stitching patches on at some point.
It wasn’t originally called Nancy was it? What was it called and what’s the story with switching up the name?
No, it was Pansy, but I stupidly didn’t do my research and it was already taken, so I couldn’t sell any of the stuff. It’s cool though, me and Grant Dawson made a sic video and had loads of fun!
Wicked sick, I prefer Nancy anyway it’s got a pretty unique aesthetic. I know that you’re a little grunger but for those who wouldn’t know, where does your inspiration and references come from? Seems heavily influenced by music.
It’s mostly influenced by that 80s do-it-yourself, bootleg punk style. It seemed so sick then, bubbles of crews and kids doing fan-zines, tees etc and obviously that was super tied in with skateboarders at the time.
Where would you say your biggest influences come from or are they just a selection of stuff that you’re hyped on?
There’s a ton of things that inspire me, the stuff I collect, music zines, 80s horror mags, vintage band tees and clothing, movie and music toys, cowboy stuff, things I find on the floor, 50s/60s pin badges, ELVIS, weird porno mags, Stan’s dad Randy (South Park), BUTTHOLE SURFERS! Repo Man, Badlands, Castle Freak, Society, Toxic Avenger, Sexy Nuns, Las Vegas, Chinese Crested dogs and Lucifer.
Wow, list! Can you also talk about the graphics themselves? One that sticks out to me the most is the AC tribute t-shirt. You and I used to session An*l C*nt and Brujeria loads when we were much younger, and still do to this day. Have you got any heat for some of the imagery?
I always want to have that bootleg feel, if I get caught fuck it, was all in love. That was the main band I was thinking about for that graphic, blowing your brains out of your ear, ooh yah. Then the white Feelings tee is just ripped off Lack of Interest (sorry), no ones even figured that one out. Then the pram thing looks like some CKY/Jackass type thing, which is where I first heard Anal Cunt, in CKY2K.
I’ve known you for a long time and have grown up with you, like anyone you’ve gone through different phases. There was a time you were given the nickname ‘Samtamont’ due to your love for the brand Altamont. There was a pretty big Time Lord stage too. Is there any of that you are really embarrassed about now? I’m not trying to call you out, you’ve seen the state of my old jeans.
SAMTAMONT HA! I’ve had so many phases it’s insane. I’ve taken cool shit from each phase, mostly being music or some weird clothes and tied them all together to make who I am today :). Don’t worry about those jeans, I was emo before you met me.
Are there any looks you would like to bring back with Nancy? My personal favourite of yours was the Wade Desarmo stage, Nancy ghetto gowns could be a banger.
HAHAHA how did I go from emo to that? It was the first route I chose in skateboarding.
Since I first met you, even through all of your stages, you’ve always been really, really into music. Always very well rounded, but am I right in saying it all started with heavier stuff? Did you used to go and see shows when you were younger? Did that have an impact on you? Seeing all the different people in different sub cultures?
I was in a band in school and used to play guitar. First song I asked my guitar teacher to teach me was Sabbath Bloody Sabbath haha. But… first show we went to was Blink 182, I still love it, don’t care. Yeh music is the ultimate way of finding like minded people you might not think exist outside of your shitty school! Same appeal as skateboarding I guess
Now I’m going to ask you some neeky skate questions… How long have you been skating for, who’s your favourite skater, what ABEC is your griptape and is the rumour that you switch front heel’d London Bridge ten first go true?
Yup that rumour is 99% true, in boxers too right? I started a bit late sadly, at 15 so 13 years… Ebec 9 grip, MOB bearings are dope. TOY MACHINE. WELCOME TO HELL. DONNY BARLEY, that’s all I have to say.
You used to skate at Watford and Harrow a lot when you were younger. At a time when skating wasn’t as openly accepted as it is now! Can you tell us some crazy stuff that used to happen at those places or in those areas at that time, I remember it always being intimidating visiting those zones for a posh little Surrey boy.
Skating was not cool at all. I could tell a million stories, think I had to skate away from getting robbed most days but one that sticks out is when me and Robin Lambert (my second favourite skateboarder) came out of Edgware Station, turn right, from window to window spreading across the “high street” were gnarly dudes with bats smashing windows, they saw me and Robin, pointed and shouted ‘SKATEBOARDERS’ and started charging at us, never skated so fast without looking back in my life. Think I pooped my pants
Who were your favourites growing up? Did they change with each style change ?
At first it was like P-Rod and Wade, because it was whatever Jonah Reha (Watford local) told me to watch. Then I watched fully flared and I was like woah Bad Brains and King Diamond, Alex Olson, ANTHONY PAPPALARDO and then that was it. Andrew Allen and all the good stuff! That was a real eye opener though, like woah fuck skateboarding is such an amazing world that you can lose yourself in and find the coolest stuff which suits you. So WATCH SKATE VIDEOS!!! Not just whatever is on your Instagram.
Can you tell the story where you had to go to the hospital because you hooked up on a curb?
Pretty sure it was at least 3 foot that ledge, mate. I pissed blood for a month, it was gnarly, my 18th was crap, I was in hospital.
Who’s affiliated with Nancy? What was the approach for last video, it came out super sick. Did anyone help you out with it?
Everyone I think is rad! Julian Kimura, Jake Church, Grant Dawson, Hedgie, Gabzilla, Rauiri Jones, Sam Sitayeb and the little dudes Shaun and Ciaran from Southbank, they rule. Grant helps me out with tech stuff and did so much rad shit for the first video! I just wanna make really fun videos, some weird scene that makes you feel uncomfortable and then skating with gnarly music.
Who’s that little kid at Southbank you give stuff too he’s sick! His brothers also good at skating right?
Yes, Shaun and Ciaran, they are stoking me out so much right now, little skate punks! I haven’t heard Ciaran speak yet, which is also sic. They go bomb hills together in Highgate, love it.
Correct me if I’m wrong but was the last video banned from YouTube? Why was that? Is it because there was a blatant dong right in the fish eye?
Sexually inappropriate apparently, Hedgie’s big old dick was too much for YouTube, I thought it was hot.
Can you tell us what’s coming up next for Nancy? More videos? More clothes?
More videos! London and full time job is hard work, but it’ll happen. And yes, looking to grow into something much more than a few tees, but gradually, you’ll see!
At the moment it’s in Supreme, Slam City Skates and on Parade. Lots of people would kill for that when they’ve started a company, are you planning on making it move to more platforms in the future ?
I quite like keeping it small to be honest, but who knows, be cool to be in little shops in other countries if people like my stuff.
Thanks Sam, guess we are both pretty bored of each other now. Anything else you would like to add
Think that’s it, remember when you got beaten up by three girls at London Bridge ten, the hundredth time you went back there to hardflip it for City Missions? That was cool, Bi.
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