The words ‘original’ and ‘different’ don’t really do From the Hip justice. The accessories brand takes the absurd, adds a dash of colour, a few pop-culture references and turns it into something truly unique.
From the Hip began two years ago when founder and designer Daniel Purnell created a series of dog leads and key chains. Since then, he has experimented with a range of accessories and six months ago he began making lapel pins – so far his most successful product.
Purnell explains he hopes From the Hip will never be predictable or set in its ways; instead he wanted something playful, adaptable and constantly changing with the times. “The way I treat the brand is that it will evolve,” he says. “When you get locked into a certain niche, there’ll be problems when that niche is no longer relevant. So I just try to keep it really loose and just let it unfold.”
Though small in size, From the Hip’s accessories certainly make a statement. Purnell spends a lot of time on the internet, scrolling through social media to unearth people’s latest obsessions, which he then uses to create his humorous, ironic pieces. His semi-nude pin of Kim Kardashian (inspired by Paper magazine’s image that “broke the internet”) sold out in days.
Purnell describes his accessories as “bratty” and admits he’s making fun of society’s reactions to certain events. “I look at the tragic things people are focused on and take advantage of them,” he says. “I think a product is more palatable when people can have a laugh with it – I want people to find amusement in it.”
Though Purnell ships more pieces to New York and Los Angeles than within Australia, his Coffee Snob pin has proved hugely successful here, as well as the Eat Vegan pin designed for Brunswick’s Smith and Daughters. He puts From the Hip’s international success down to its gritty attitude and ability to make a statement.
“I don’t like brands to have a soft approach, and mine definitely stands for something. It says, ‘this is what I do and if you don’t like it, it’s not for you’.”