Tony Craig, founder of addict group, about fashion, music and home.
We meet at La Molienda to grab a fresh cappuccino on our way over to Tony’s shop La Principal in Carrer Pareires, his regular workplace. He has just arrived from Frankfurt the other night, one of the many cities where he had spent a couple of days just to play music. On Mallorca, Tony has been well-known for elegantly rocking the turntables at hot spots like the Garito, Puro Hotel, or the Pacha’s Funky Room for many years. Actually, his passion for fashion as well as music are among the things I was curious about.
Tony, what’s the story of addict group? How did you start, and what does it mean to you today?
It’s quite a long story, actually, and it started with my friendship with Suso. I was living in Madrid at that time and had been working in the fashion business for more than fifteen years, when Suso came up to me one day in 2006 and suggested, „It’s time for our own business, now, come to Palma with me!“
The two of us have rather opposite working and life styles, but together they make a very intelligent job sharing. And, at that point, I was urgently looking for a change and wanted to make a step ahead. So the two of us made this step – which, initially, proved to be rather a step back. We gave up all our material security, but had a very clear idea about our future business, the selection of clothes, the taste of the people. And the market was virtually empty, just waiting there for us. We started with a few Nudie jeans, Veja shoes, not much, really. But step by step, the scenario changed, we renovated the shop, and addict grew.
And then you opened the second addict store?
Exactly. We wanted more high profile for addict and opened the second, smaller addict store in 2008, where we also introduced some smarter looks. A few years later, we started La Principal as our third project, again with a different and more elaborated style – and yet a bigger store front. Next to the shops, we started projecting our own brand Mews in 2010, giving us the chance to sell decent basics at reasonable prices in a very good quality, which are the core products of a shop. And Mews quality is really amazing! Right now, we are investigating new ways to distribute our brand to four or five other shops, and who knows? Our brand is made to do a good job everywhere else.
Now, I know you love what you are doing in your shops and with your own brand. What about your love for music? Is one thing connected to the other in some way?
No, these are two very different things. I listen to music here in the shop, and have done a few nice selections, focusing on recent soul, jazz and black mellow rhythm. And I also did a set with some artists I know. They come from universities and conservatories from all over the world, Berkeley, New England, DC, New York, you name it. All of them multi instrumentalists, some with beautiful voices. My latest discoveries are Diggs Duke and James Tillman – it sounds like this (plays James Tillman on iTunes). But I have an endless roster – from José James, Zo!, Gregory Porter, Jordan Rakei, to Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, or Gary Bartz, to mention just a few of the well-known. Very intense, melancholic music, the kind of music I love to play on my weekly radio show on BN Mallorca for Balneario Illetas.
That’s quite amazing – I didn’t know you have your own radio-show.
Balneario Illetas is my homeland, in terms of music. When I came back from Madrid, I took over their music selection and through the years, shaped the club’s style, digging in the past, present, and future of music, registering a bunch of different genres always with a black mellow music background.
My radio show is called „Aftersun project – Arena hasta en los zapatos“. It means „Sand in your shoes“ – and that’s exactly what you feel after a day on the beach, when you go for a drink before heading home, with sandy feet, still hot from the day, but completely relaxed.
You were born and raised in Palma, but spent your adolescent years in Madrid, before returning to Mallorca in 2006. What does Palma mean to you?
To me, Palma is like a perfect bird’s nest: you feel totally safe and comfortable on each return. Everything I need is within reach, and I can go everywhere by bicycle. Our shops are close to each other, and my home is, too, I can buy organic vegetables just around the corner at el Badulake, or at the Mercat Olivar, and carry everything in my backpack. And if I go to see my family, meet with my friends, take my daily bath in the sea, or go for a cold beer, it’s just a ten minute ride.
At the same time, I have an urgent need to escape cosy Palma, every once in a while – get some fresh air, meet new people and new friends, and look for inspiration and new projects, for both our business and for my own life, too. And if it is just to prevent yourself from getting too lazy from all this much comfort. I have Google Earth in my cell, and there are so many places in the world I want to see. But still, I couldn’t live anywhere else in Spain, Palma is my favorite city in the world to live.