Terence Eben of Never Fade Factory is London's Fashion Futurist
By Patrick Duffy
Social entrepreneur Terence Eben has a vision that focuses on marrying a social agenda and design philosophy through his SoHo, London-based creative space Never Fade Factory. As co-founder of a 'futurism concept space' and fashion brand, Eben is a pioneer of sustainable fashion in central London, who teaches the benefits of a social economy and implements the sharing of human resources which plays a pivotal role in Never Fade's innovation manifesto.
Going against the grain in one of London's most expensive and highly trafficked commercial spaces, Eben Incubates and accelerates emerging talent by providing them with free workspace and commercial opportunity, and institutes education that unlocks human potential with his unique set of performance tools.
Eben's motivation behind the creation of Never Fade is entrenched in a desire to have a positive impact locally by fostering creativity through bright young talents culminating in the streets of London.
How did Never Fade Factory come to be?
Never Fade Factory came into being with a seed thought about 20years ago. During my years learning how to build streetwear brands in the U.S. I was always determined to play a role in bridging culture. The early days of hip hop emergence and streetwear was based on culture and a desire to export the culture. Fashion brands were an expression of culture and consumer identification with the messages from the brands. So four years ago a close friend suggested we start a brand and felt it was the right opportunity to bring some elements from those early days of community building and social impact as a brand philosophy into practice. Never Fade Factory has seemed to confuse many because we are a fashion brand operating a space that can’t be defined by retail, infused by creative energy yet on one of the most expensive retail streets in the U.K.
Never Fade Factory wide-leg tailored trousers & lime linen vest
People of all nations hat Nike Undercover
Why SoHo, it's such an iconic location but what outshined other places like Dalston or East London where it's perhaps more trendy?
We chose Soho because of its brand affiliation. Brand Soho has always been infamous for arts and culture. It has a strong history dating significantly back to icons who impacted the creative and other industries.
I’m the modern context Soho is home to the headquarters of many arts, entertainment, and global fashion organizations. It is the Hollywood of the U.K. and a major entertainment destination for tourists and Londoners. The Never Fade Factory concept embodies freedom and a trendsetting vibration that best fits in SoHo’s history.
Never Fade Factory x Tom-O by Sarah Thompson
Upcycled patchwork hoodie- made from old trench coats, velour trousers & hunting jacket.
Inside the walls of Never Fade Factory, we operate an atelier, workshop space, art gallery, studio, showroom, retail, wellbeing, and events space. The combination of creative spaces and commercial activity is what sets us apart as a futurism space in SoHo. It’s rare to find the creative process presented on the shop floor for consumers to see and interact with the makers. We have four concession spaces for independent brands and the rest of the rails are filled with collaborative pieces between Never Fade Factory and selected emerging creatives.
We host skills transfer workshops to nurture our emerging creatives and encourage a mentality of partnerships between creatives in the space. Our space has served as a community hub for emerging creatives who enjoy hanging out in Soho and in particular attracted the underrepresented creatives who would otherwise find it difficult to have their work exhibited or retailed in Soho. What do you think the fashion industry is missing?
The Fashion industry is missing honesty. It’s not an honest industry in respect to cajoling consumers in order to sustain higher profits. It’s not been honest about its making process till recently. It’s missing genuine community which raises the issue of human performance and mental health as a part of the creative process. It’s missing honest integration of culture and creative diverse background of talent.
Architectural dress - Fioren Nasthasia for Never Fade Factory
How do you empower and support the designers and artists who create in your space?
We empower through collaborative projects. We identify projects which could lead to creatives working with each other to create pieces or test new ideas. During collaborative projects we find people learn new skills from one another and also develop supportive friendships. With my acupuncture and Chinese medicine background, I have always integrated mental wellbeing into general conversation and way of thinking within the space. Making myself available for those who want to consult for free and often hosting zoom, clubhouse, and arts for healing sessions within the space. The most effective form of empowering has been the inspiration of owning a space in prominent old Compton street. My own story as a minority and defying the systemic challenges has always inspired and empowered the underrepresented creatives of our community.
Never Fade Community Members
NFF X David Afrocentric lounge trousers - White R4 hemp hoodie
NFF tye dye trousers - Black r4 hemp hoodie
The next generation is full of incredible ideas, what are you seeing that is inspiring to you? The next generation has figured out how to adapt technology to their commercial potential. Their creative ability comes with a strong determination to have a voice no matter what. They have a sense of self believe a bit more evolved. They are determined to create with Sustainability as a part of their process whether using tech as a solution or resources. I pay attention to their taste and sensibilities about fashion since we have a high number of Gen Z customers.
You are investing in young people and in culture, why do you think this is important?
I am investing in this direction after a number of years running youth leadership programs in Togo and Ghana in West Africa. I’m my years in DC I also worked with youth community action. Now more than ever the youth meed orientation and culture influence a lot of youth behavior and learning process. As seen through hip hop culture could influence communities and the social fabric of a nation or the globe. As a brand, we know our power to influence conversations on any range of subjects.
What are the 3 biggest challenges you the next generation of fashion leaders has to deal with?
The next generation has limited entry points to mass media. Although social media might have democratized information sharing there is still a certain level of acceleration the fashion industry platforms give which are propels designers.
For a brand like Never Fade Factory which doesn’t seem to fit into the norms with look-books, seasons, or traditional models then the focus should be more on securing brand loyalty with consumers who resonate with the products and Philosophy. Focus more on collaborations with corporations and other brands who seek to impact social change through culture and are less concerned with the fashion industry. A future challenge depending on how rapidly the industry moves into digital fashion could be the gap in digital skills. With 3D and avatar fashion threatening time play a bigger role as a solution towards sustainability than designers who do not have the right digital skills or access to capital to afford the appropriate digital expertise could find growth challenging.
VIDEO: Never Fade Factory’s Terence Eben interview via GUAP magazine about the futurism concept space