For various reasons including our personal and musical connections Book Works is very much a Tomorrow Store favourite, so in line with the release of their Winter 19 collection we had a word with co founder and Jazz enthusiast Oskar Mann.
Hey man how are you?
Doing well, thank you Tom!
You're out in NY? Where abouts are you living?
So you started Book Works in 2017 with your partner Martin. What was the catalyst? What made you decide to start the brand?
At that time Martin and I were living on the same block in Fort Greene, Brooklyn - and we met as neighbours. We quickly learned we had shared interests and friends and Book Works came about really naturally.
Through the brand itself I've gotten to meet and work with some truly remarkable people. Take the 'r' out of brand, and you've got a band.
What does a normal day look like to you?
A little too much coffee and little too much time on my phone.
Book Works is obviously heavily influenced by Jazz music which is a big reason we're into it here. Has that always been the case and will it continue to be at the heart of the inspiration for future products?
I studied music, specifically jazz, from a young age - inherently it plays a large part in Book Works and how I approach things.
It's a small world man. Through Book Works and music connections we have a bunch of friends in common even with so much distance between us. What do you think these kind of links and relationships say about the brand and what does it mean to you that Book Works can have such solid and meaningful reach?
I think it is a testament to our friends! People make the world go around.
You just collaborated with Hardbody. Who are they? How did that come about?
Hardbody is run by a good friend Emilio. He was setting up an end of summer block party and the collaboration came about in relationship to that. The block party wound up being shut down by the police - but the tee and hoody survived.
Tell us about The Lot Radio. What's your involvement?
The Lot is an internet radio station broadcasting out of a shipping container in Brooklyn. I had co-hosted a show on East Village Radio for 8 years and when they shut down in 2016 The Lot filled what at the time felt like an irreplaceable void in the community. It has since grown and become a pillar of online radio in New York with a truly incredible roster. I feel really lucky to be involved and host a monthly 2 hour mix show.
What do you see Book Works becoming? Where do you see the brand in five years?
More importantly than the b(r)and - I hope the next 5 years brings an increase in political engagement on both a local and international level. Increase the peace.
What's your favourite Book Works piece so far? The "Note To Self" jacket was definitely a favourite over here.
Thank you, that was a fun one. Elijah (whose art work is featured on the back) - is the best. He also did the 'Sax Man' graphic and we worked on the 'Beat Cup' together too with Jack at Cafe Nyleta. That is certainly a favourite of mine too..I have a soft spot for the UCLA crew - my high school bandleader referred to Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers as UCLA, University on the Corner of Lennox Avenue - and I had it bouncing around in my head for 20 years.
What are your favourite brands right now and why?
Oh man, so many..C'H'C'M's in-house line, Paa, LQQK, Brain Dead, Hardbody..Each has their own sound which I really appreciate.
Shop the collection here.
Listen to Oskars latest show on The Lot Radio below.