If you’ve watched Quade Cooper’s career, the word flashy comes to mind. His athletic gifts and natural ability, alongside the occasional backflip try celebration, made him box office material. However, the rugby star walks with a zen-like aura today, calm yet focused. Perhaps it’s the new Japanese influence in his life or simply the wisdom that comes with age, but after my recent chat with the 35-year-old, there’s no doubting Cooper has tapped into a rare vibration. That unique frequency has translated from his footy to the world of fashion, with the Wallaby recently launching his label, SHOSAI.
Before we get to the what, when, where or how, the most critical part of any story is the why. Why was SHOSAI formed? The answer is somewhat simple yet complicated. Cooper grew up immersed in street culture yet would struggle to fit into products due to his unique rugby build. After years of altering ill-fitting clothing, he decided to embrace the idea of creating his own.
“I’d see something on the rack, and I’d be like, ‘I love that colour’, but the fit was never right. So straight away, I’d take it to an alteration shop. Whether it was getting pants shortened or the cuffs tightened, I’d constantly have to alter all the items that I owned. I figured, well, why am I doing this to other people’s clothing? This is their design. So why don’t I just make my own clothes?”
Anyone journeying into a creative endeavour will talk about the fear associated with putting oneself out there. Somewhat surprisingly, Cooper wasn’t any different. You’d think after years of media scrutiny in the sports world, the flyhalf would welcome the challenge, but fashion was a new arena. This was a different kind of judgement, a new level of vulnerability he couldn’t sidestep or fend off. Overcoming this hurdle, Cooper credits the brand’s launch to his work off the field, committing to a journey of profound self-discovery.
“I got to the point where I was confident enough in myself, who I was and what I represented that I could put myself in this position. When you design a clothing label, you’re putting it on show for everybody else to make judgement. And if you’re not strong enough or comfortable with who you are as a person, you might not be in a place to withstand that judgement.”
“So for me, the timing was perfect. I now feel I know who I am and what I stand for. Regardless of whether people think my fashion label is good or bad, it’s more so about me doing something that I love to do and being able to inspire others to go after something that they enjoy.”
Doubling down on his self believe, Cooper’s COLLECTION 001 sold out in hours. Whether that’s due to his fame and influence or the quality of his products, we’ll never know. However, his goal is for the brand to eventually stand on its own two feet, purchased for the design and materials alone.
“I want it to get to a place where you just see people wearing it, and they wear it because they love the clothes or they’ve heard about the clothes through other people, and they have no idea who I am or that I play rugby”.
Inspired by the effortlessly cool style of the Japanese while playing in Osaka, he utilises neutral tones with pops of colour in the collection. The clothes come emblazed with the slogan ‘the truth in the detail’, which tells you everything you need to know about his approach to life and style.
“I’m very hands-on in the design process. SHOSAI means detail. So the way I live my life every day is focused on attention to detail. So when I think about clothing, I want to fit an exact way.”
For those vibing the fresh fits, SHOSAI COLLECTION 001 has just been restocked, so cop the drop before it’s gone. Prices start from $20.00 for socks to $135.00 for hoodies and are available on the SHOSAI website.