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Fashion | Brand Focus: Keep Hush Merch Service

When the landscape shifted earlier this year amid the pandemic, brands were forced to look inward, and develop new and sustainable methods of keeping their movement alive. Keep Hush, which started life as a club night, blog, and YouTube channel over five years ago, is now also providing a lifeline for artists with their no-risk Merch Service

Keep Hush as we know it now, a pop-up event live streaming some of the best electronic talent from across the UK, began life in a Soho basement, after founders Fred and Freddy agreed to clean the office in return for the use of the space. “We shared a vision to create a space and community for music heads — similar to those stories you heard about record stores in the past,” Freddy says. “When we were in the office, suddenly we had this little space we could do what we wanted in, and we could build an online platform while starting to build a tiny real-life grassroots community.”

The first streams they held, Freddy says, had “like five people watching and five people there”, but before long, the events were too big for the Soho basement. After showcasing sets from the likes of Conducta, Cooly G, Fracture, Sherelle, and Sharda, they were taken in by South London venue, Rye Wax, and before the coronavirus struck, had launched a new run of events: Secret Location. “It was called that to take the piss out of ourselves for always advertising Keep Hush as secret locations, but at least half of them were just at Rye Wax,” Freddy laughs. The brand programmed a month of events entirely from proposals by their community, with at least one event taking place every single day for a month. “It was crazy, and made us truly realise the power of our community. We had to shut it down five days early due to the virus.”

“Our broadcasts weren’t always able to financially support artists unless we had a brand support or they were ticketed. Despite being proud of what we’d achieved to date, it was essential that we got creative, and looked to refocus our activity”

After shutting Secret Location, Freddy explains that the brand played around with some ideas for online content, but eventually looked inwards. “It was a time to really look at where we wanted Keep Hush to be in the future,” he says. “What kind of organisation we wanted to be. We’ve been riding a rollercoaster for years, and now we had an opportunity to step off for a bit, so we did.” Taking a break and a few weeks to reflect, the team decided to remodel in a way to support artists amid the uncertainty of 2020. “We all shared the same feelings — the music industry is actually pretty fucked, and artists keep getting shafted,” Freddy says. “Our broadcasts weren’t always able to financially support artists unless we had a brand support or they were ticketed. Despite being proud of what we’d achieved to date, it was essential that we got creative, and looked to refocus our activity.”

Keep Hush are now helping out artists with the Keep Hush Merch Service. Designed to support the community financially, Keep Hush offered their relationships with suppliers and knowledge of blank items to bring a merchandise service direct to artists — at no financial risk to the seller. “Merch Service is already about to level up,” Freddy says, “with its own website where you can design the merch, submit it, and we’ll do the rest. Once that’s in place, we can really focus on spreading the word and creating more materials for our sellers to succeed.”

Keep Hush has also received a portion of the government’s Arts Council funding, and — now they have a system in place to support artists — have plans to build a Keep Hush virtual space: “We can’t really say more than that, but it’ll be better than Zoom calls with your family.”

Check out the Merch Service here: merchservice.keephush.net

Want more? Check out our previous Brand Focus feature with Scottish streetwear label, Mara

Amy Fielding is DJ Mag's digital staff writer and fashion editor. You can follow her on Twitter here @amebbbb