The Quella Team were dead chuffed when we were approached by Matt Derrick, the founder of Brixton based brand Paloma Fixie, to be a stockist of this new clothing range with its roots in fixie-culture. After a great ride around South London, The Fix caught up with Matt for a tasty pint in the Taproom at the Brixton Brewery to talk about what inspired him to start a brand aimed at the fixie and single speed market.
The Fix: Hi Matt, great to see you again, can you explain to The Fix readers how Paloma came about?
MD: I have always ridden a fixie and the idea came to me when I was living on Paloma Avenue in Venice Beach, L.A. Everywhere you looked, there was brands aimed at skaters, surfers, mountain, and road bikers but nothing for the fixie rider. I talked through it with the guys that I was rolling with and everyone liked the idea so I started messing around with a few designs and running them past the crew.
The Fix: Is there a big fixie scene in L.A?
MD: Definitely, everyone pictures the LA traffic jams on the big 5-lane highways but it’s also got a big bike scene as it’s pretty flat. There is a never-ending boardwalk that runs along the coast for miles from Malibu to Redondo Beach through all the beach communities. Venice is pretty much in the middle so it’s a breeze to cruise in either direction for a beachside beer in Hermosa or Manhattan beach without leaving the seafront, it’s got such a great vibe. There are loads of cruiser bikes and regular roadies but the fixie scene is flourishing and if you turn up with a cool bike you will find yourself chatting to like-minded souls within a few minutes. I hung out with a bunch called the Lost Boys Fixie Crew who were a great gang of riders, they would congregate in Venice and explore LA on the back roads.
The Fix: So L.A. inspiration but born in Brixton?
MD: Yeah exactly. When I got home, I was living in Barrett House overlooking the skatepark and decided to develop the idea and name the brand after my old address in Venice. We still want our content to reflect the Venice Beach lifestyle, you’ll notice that a lot of our posts show Brixton with a hazy sun-kissed feel! The two places are weirdly similar with a bit of a counter-culture in their history, the big graffiti art pieces, a bohemian vibe, and an edgier side to their smarter, richer neighbours. I love that crossover and both places are a full of creative people who don’t want to conform completely with the city around them. Sitting and chatting with the locals on the edge of the skatepark in Brixton on a sunny day has much more in common with L.A than you would imagine, they just get better weather!
The Fix: Tell us about the range.
MD: I wanted good quality but lo-fi pieces that were great for riding. Something a little bit different with simple details but nothing too flash. We haven’t put bike imagery all over the kit and nothing is techy, street riding isn’t like that and we are about comfort and style that works on a bike rather than some technical clothing range. We use premium quality kit and all of our printing is done by hand by a great screen-printing business in Nottingham called October. I love going down there and meeting Paul who runs the place when our gear is coming off the line. It’s an old school operation and their quality is brilliant.
The Fix: How’s it going?
MD: Covid was bad for us, I couldn’t even get into the warehouse where our stock was stored for over 6 months so we pretty much put the whole business on ice and lost a lot of momentum and new stock was really hard to get. It was pretty depressing but we have kept a great band of loyal followers though and things are picking up again now that we are back up and running. It is great to work with a true single-speed brand like Quella and it was brilliant building up the Quella x Paloma bike for the competition. The fixie community is still backing us and it’s a real buzz seeing our stuff on socials being worn by fixie riders around the world like @fixieprincess in Estonia, @_scarbelly_ in Berlin, and @chris2active in L.A.
The Fix: And what’s next for Paloma Fixies?
MD: We’re always working on new stuff and have just extended the range to include some new stash. We’ve added some hats, trousers, casual shirts and a super comfy jacket –things seem to be back on track and I really hope we’ve seen the worst of Covid so we can keep Paloma moving.
The Fix: Thanks for chatting Matt, we’re really pleased to add Paloma to our range and hope that we can help you bounce back after a difficult time. It’s great to be in a bar again and this beer is tasty, shall we have another??
At this point, the interview went rapidly downhill, the chat flowed until far too late and many pints of Brixton Brewery’s excellent beer (www.brixtonbrewery.com) were consumed before a wobbly ride home. Check out Paloma’s range at www.palomafixies.com , or order from Quella for next day delivery.