“I was given my first skateboard in 1986, fell down over and over again but always got back up, this thing has actually saved my life. When I saw someone else with thrashed shoes back then, you knew you could make a friend, but now you wouldn’t dare. Growing up inside marginalised subcultures is a very othering existence even now, UNIV ERSE stands up for you, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.”
UNIV ERSE founder and creative director Brody Polinsky grew up in rural northern Canada. Their childhood was spent escaping into music, collecting albums, playing in bands, and obsessively skateboarding. Brody was next introduced to tattooing, its clear voice and fine art qualities, then was personally exposed to the process of permanency through ritual. Skateboarding, music and tattooing provided moments to feel present in the body in an environment that was unsafe to be a queer kid. Immersion in countercultures served as a way out of self-abuse and away from addictions. Committing to sobriety in 2002, Brody relocated to Vancouver in 2004 to avoid winter, skate every damn day, and seek an apprenticeship in tattooing.
“I set the intention for UNIV ERSE to reach beyond only marking the skin, to be accessible to anybody, anywhere, anytime. The singular ritual of the tattooing process is not everyone’s cup of tea. My creative practices aim to perpetuate radical post inclusivity. When all the people can come together, I will trust it’s starting to be ok.”
Brody chased tattooing around the world for many years, seeking endless creative impulses, accessing what has become the classic UNIV ERSE style. In 2013, Brody settled in Berlin, and in 2014 opened their private queer space UNIV ERSE Studio, ushering queer tattooing into a broader consciousness. Holding space at UNIV ERSE Studio first birthed the clothing, second a fine art practice, soon to be skateboards, and next heritage decor.
“UNIV ERSE was born of the somatic experience that energy connects every body, past and present, when we finally let go of controlling the mind. You can choose to wear UNIV ERSE like a suit of spiritual armour, banishing the need for – us against them mentality – while supporting your day to day offline communities.”
Brody’s distinct eye and approach to placement in harmony with the body, has become the UNIV ERSE mark on the world of non particular garment making. They actively chose to transition self informed aesthetics onto garments, as a mindful step forward. Like an ancient yet modern language, UNIV ERSE must look great from across the street, to always maintain their Libra balance.
“Berlin has helped me gravitate towards what I want in life, in love, in friendships, and in creativity. It is a sincere privilege to call this my work. There is a lot of freedom to be found on the inside, and I want to share that with as many people as possible.”
Brody lives outside of antiquated gender restrictions in a very binary world, transferring their personal values up front via UNIV ERSE. It’s up to the wearer to perceive their own presentation and feel embodied, to subvert antiquated ideas of society. Deconstructing beauty and measurement standards systematically, UNIV ERSE offers clothing for every body, you just have to be you.
“The P-01 logo was decidedly offered to the masses, not just one client anymore, as is mandatory for every tattooing ritual. The garments inherently hold that same energy, not to be thrown away, but worn into the ground. They are meant to last your life time, then be passed on in a dingy thrift store”