I was fortunate enough to sit and chat (in Internet speak, that means we conversed via multiple emails) with Andy Bowness of the popular hoodie and tee blog, Hide Your Arms! It’s a pretty long and comprehensive interview, but I think that I provide good insight into my life in and out of just this blog. I also provide some advice on how you can get more eyeballs looking at your blog. My suggestion: grab a cup of coffee or tea and get ready for a good read. You can check out the interview here at Hide Your Arms.
Can you believe it? This is the 1000th post on CotyGonzales.com! That’s a lot of posts. And it sure did come during an amazing week! In the past week, CotyGonzales.com has been featured on some of the most popular LOST fan sites, including the elusive DARKUFO. And yesterday, we were given lots of love for the 101 LOST T-Shirts for the Ultimate Lost Fanatic post by Entertainment Weekly, they called the post “Wowza”, and Carlton Cuse, one of the writers and producers of LOST who called the post “Cool.” We even made it to one of the top Hungarian Movie/TV blogs (think of it as the Hungarian Slashfilm – how about that, LOL). Needless to say, the LOST list has been spreading over Twitter (over 200+ RT’s) and Tumblr (over 700+ reblogs). Yep, this was a pretty big week. And by the way, the bacon list is still getting mucho love.
Also, the Co-Tee TV Facebook Fan Page has just received its 250th fan! I’m stoked and can’t wait to meet even more of you through Facebook. Click the image below and let’s connect!
This might be the 1000th post, but, don’t worry, I plan to be around for 1000 more and beyond! I appreciate all of the love you guys have been giving this blog in the past year and half. It’s been amazingly fun and 1000% worth it.
I had the opportunity to chat with the Threadless 2009 Bestees award winner for Design of the Year. Emmy Cicierega’s It’s Toile About You earned her the coveted award and $20,000 cash. I had the fortunate opportunity to chat with Emmy about her win.
Coty: So in the video with Charlie Festa letting you know that you won the Design of the Year Award, you seemed truly surprised. What was going through your head when he said you had won the $20,000?
I was so surprised! I had such amazing competition and I already felt like it was a fluke I had made bestee of the month to begin with, so I was pretty sure winning this wasn’t in my future. I’m so glad I was wrong.
It didn’t feel real when Charlie told me, and it didn’t for a few days even. It certainly feels real now!
Coty: What was the inspiration behind It’s Toile About You?
I’ve always loved vintage repeating patterns. I use a lot of them in my artwork, and I always try to hand draw unique patterns myself instead of using premade ones, so I had been meaning to try my hand at Toile for a while now.
When a friend told me that Threadless had belt printing capabilities, I was so excited! All-over printing is something that not a lot of shirt printing companies can do, so I knew I had to give it a go with Toile.
Coty: It’s Toile About You is, to date, your only design submission at Threadless. And it earned you Bestee Design of the Year. Do you have plans to submit more pieces of art to Threadless?
This amazes and kind of bothers me! I didn’t expect to have such great success my first time around, but wow! It will be very hard to work up the gumption to submit again (so many high expectations!), but rest assured that I definitely will.
I don’t like submitting things that I don’t really really want, so I’m gonna have to sit down and really think about a design that I truly want. I am definitely not done with experimenting with belt printing, it is my favorite!
Coty: Threadless certainly has an amazing community of awesome artists and out-of-the-box thinkers. How did you first stumble upon Threadless?
I am friends with many artists, and we all hit up threadless for great artsy tees at some point or another. It’s just what the cool kids do! I didn’t really hear about threadless from anyone in particular, it is just a cultural staple among artists. And rightly so!
Coty: And I’m sure the question that most people are interested in: $20,000 is a huge chunk of money and you mention in the video that you would like to buy a new tablet and take some life drawing classes – anything else planned for the rest of the loot?
I am FINALLY going to go for driving lessons and get my license! This has been on my to-do list for ages, and now I am rather out of excuses!
I am going to put a lot of the money away as a nest egg and try my best to be as responsible as possible with it. Not the funnest answer, I know, but I’m gonna give myself a fun-budget too and make this the best summer of my life! This might include me buying new headphones, cowboy boots, many sundresses, sushi for friends, and of course donating to some of my favorite charities!
Post in the comments section andÂ tell me what you like to do for fun (hint: it can be anything!) and I will randomly select one (1) winner to receive aÂ $25 Threadless Gift Certificate that you can use to pick upÂ It’s Toile About You or any other tee you choose!
For an extra entry,Â be my fan of Co-Tee TV on Facebook and post a comment on my wall telling me what what you do when do for fun. (1 winner will be randomly chosen from the pool of people that leave a comment here and on my Facebook fanpage, leave a comment in both places and get two entries). Good luck and congratulations Emmy!
Contest ends on Monday, March 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm Hawaii time. The winner will be announced later that week!
Here’s another opportunity to win some T-Shirt goodness! I had the chance to interview Aaron Hogg, this weeks Threadless Loves Less Is More winner! Post in the comments section and tell me what Less Is More means to you and I will randomly select one (1) winner to receive a $25 Threadless Gift Certificate that you can use to pick up Natural Selection by Aaron Hogg or any other tee you choose!
For an extra entry, be my fan of Co-Tee TV on Facebook and post a comment on my wall telling me what Less Is More means to you. (1 winner will be randomly chosen from the pool of people that leave a comment here and on my Facebook fanpage, leave a comment in both places and get two entries). Good luck and congratulations Aaron!Â
Contest ends on Monday, July 13, 2009 at 11:59 pm Hawaii time. The winner will be announced the following day!
Coty: What was the most difficult part about being restricted to the 2006 submission guidelines?
Â Aaron:Â I guess just making the image work with 4 inks. I actually really like working under restrictions, particularly in shirt design, it helps me focus. I went for a kinda faux 50s execution because a lot of the stuff from that era was done with limited colour palettes so it seemed to fit the brief.
Coty:Â As the Threadless Loves Less Is More Winner, you will be receiving, aside from the $2500 from Threadless, an amazing amount of community donated prizes. Which of the community prizes are you most excited about?
Â Aaron:Â They all excite me in one way or another. But if I had to hone it down, I’d say the art prints & original artworks & the coffee, I am a coffee junkie so that sounds mighty fine. I just feel sorry for Threadless having to ship them all the way to NZ. Thats gonna cost an arm & a leg. I only just moved back here from Vancouver too.
Â Coty:Â You’ve been a member at Threadless even before 2006. What’s your all time favorite Threadless design?
Â Aaron: Oh man, thats such a hard question. The answer has changed probably 50 times during my time there. At the moment my favorite design is Untitled by Dan Sheffield (Tesco), I love everything he does. I even have a Tesco tattoo, which I guess officially makes me ‘gay for him’.
Coty:Â What does “Less Is More” mean to you? Are you a “Less Is More” kind of guy?
Â I guess less is more means that as a golden rule if you can communicate the concept behind your design simply & with less clutter it is more effective than doing it in a complicated way. I am trying to be a less is more kinda guy but as you can tell from the majority of my work I am failing. I enjoy creating & get a fair number of jobs from my over-the-top complex stuff but funnily enough most of the designers I rank the highest are minimalist in their aesthetic. As I develop & learn I think I will head this way myself.
It was my pleasure to interview Dale Edwin Murray for this weeks Indie Tee Spotlight. He has definitely made a name for himself in the crazy world of T-Shirt design and has been very successful in submitting designs and winning at some of the top T-Shirt contest sites around, like, Threadless, A Better Tomorrow and Shirt.Woot. Dale shares a little bit about how he got his start, what you can do to improve your chances of submitting a winning design and why he doesn’t wear his own shirts!
Coty: How did you get started in the T-Shirt design business?
Dale: I help start an online t-shirt store about 5 years ago. I was initially involved in content management and marketing and somehow ended up designing all of their own brand tees. I went freelance about 3 years ago and have been doing t-shirt design ever since.
Coty: What was your first experience in submitting to a T-Shirt design contest? What did you learn from that initial experience?
Dale: My first experience of a t-shirt contest was subbing something to threadless. It was a long time ago and looking back on it the design was pretty awful. It scored pretty badly and got hardly any love from the crowd over there. I learned a number of things from that experience – firstly that t-shirt design is not as easy as it might first appear. There is definitely an art to it and just because you are a good designer doesn’t necessarily mean that you can do commercially appealing tees. It also became apparent just how much competition there is out there. Subbing to threadless was definitely a useful way to get unbiased feedback on those initial designs. It told me that I needed to go back to the drawing board and come up with something better and better each time.
Coty: You’ve submitted to and won at Threadless with the designs Squeeze Me and Music Business Remastered. With Threadless receiving over 2000 submissions a week, how difficult is it to get noticed and printed at Threadless? What tips do you have for those trying to get printed by Threadless?
Dale: There is a lot of competition at threadless. There are a plenty of very talented designers over there and they get a ton of submissions. So yeah it’s tough to get printed. I thought it was never going to happen! And I’m finding it just as tough to get printed for a third time! I guess the advice I would give would be to take your time with getting your design just right before you submit it. Try and get something perfect and resist the urge to get it subbed quickly. I think it is also important to try and get involved in the community over there, to participate in the blogs and critique/score/comment on other people’s designs. Try and get yourself known and as silly as it sounds, get a good, easily recognisable avatar.
Coty: Which of your designs is your favorite to date? Why?
Dale: I guess it would have to be Music Business Remastered. It is my highest scored design on threadless and went down pretty well there in terms of sales as well. I guess that’s what I’m always striving for, a design that looks great but also sells well. Funnily enough on my way to the gym the afternoon I actually saw a guy wearing the hoodie version – that made my work-out much easier!
Coty: Aside from submitting to contest sites I am sure that you do freelance work outside of T-Shirt design. What, if any, type of graphic design work do you do outside of designing awesome T-Shirt designs?
Dale: I’m lucky enough to have enough t-shirt design work to not have to diversify at the moment. I say luckily because I really love doing tee design. But in the future I would also love to move into other areas – editorial illustrations, album and book covers – that kind of stuff would be cool. But at the moment I am all about tees!
Coty: Digit Duel is the “sequel” to your first Threadless design, Squeeze Me. I’ve got to ask, what’s the story behind these squeeze characters? How’d you come up with the concept of colorful beans on oversized hands? And secondly, are those the hands of Dale Edwin Murray!
Dale: I have absolutely no idea how that idea popped into my mind! I was just doodling these little bean characters and wanted a way of making them look really small in relation to something else. I thought it would be cool if they were interacting with something rendered in a photo-realistic kind of way – a mixture of fantasy and reality if you like. So it sprang from there I guess. So I took a photo of my own hand squeezing a grape to get the perfect pose. Yep, those are my hands – complete with freckles!
Coty: With a growing collection of Dale Edwin Murray designed tees circling the Internet, I wonder, does Dale wear his own tees?
Dale: I have to admit that I don’t wear graphic tees at all – my own or anyone else’s. I only wear plain tees. I used to wear a ton and still have them all in my wardrobe but I don’t feel right wearing them anymore. That’s what happens when you hit 30!!!!
Thanks to Dale Edwin Murray for taking the time out from creating wonderful tees to chat with me! Be sure to stay up-to-date with Dale’s latest designs by visiting his online portfolio.
Very cool interview by the guys over at LAist.com with Threadless Chief Creative Officer Jeffrey Kalmikoff. Those lucky LAists got to chat it up with Jeffrey at the Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco last week. Jeffrey talks a good deal about how Threadless was able to build it’s company by developing a strong community.
This week’s Indie Tee Spotlight is a treat! I had the opportunity to chat with the ladies (and fellas as I learned) that run 410 BC. It’s such an awesome milestone since this marks the first time I’ve actually got to interview women for Indie Tee Spotlight and actually get the female perspective on the t-shirt business. Mike from 410 BC also gets to add in his two cents here and there!
If you’re not familiar with 410 BC then you should be. This indie brand based out of New York is a clothing brand that is truly an artist collective, having collaborated with many talented artists and sponsored some amazing musicians.
Interestingly, the 410 BC brand name refers to monumental date in which Democracy was restored in Athens. 410 BC strives to stray from the norm and produce quality garments with ethical consumerism in mind. For more information on 410 BC, be sure to check out this video review I did of Skate Wolf, a tee from one of 410 BC’s older lines.Â
Coty: What’s the story behind 410 BC, when and how did you ladies hook up? What prompted you to start your own clothing brand?
Nicole: We started 410 BC in our first year of college, but initially we were just designing and screen printing shirts by hand. It was something we did completely for fun, just to make unique clothes for our friends and ourselves. A lot of people loved what we were doing and that’s when the business really took root.
Victoria: What prompted me to get involved with the brand was that I really loved the fact that 410 BC is an artist collective. I saw right away what a unique opportunity it was. I think that 410 BC is very different from a lot of what is out there and that’s why it couldn’t just stay a hobby.
Coty: 410 BC seems to be a dominating force in the primarily male driven indie clothing industry. What were some of the earlier challenges that you all encountered during the early days of 410BC?
Nicole: The biggest challenge we faced was definitely being in college full time and running a business. When 410 BC started to grow and a lot of people showed an interest in what we were doing, it got really tough balancing everything. I’d have a 30-page paper due and Rachel would be studying for some crazy econ exam and then we’d get all these orders. Luckily we had other people to help out, people who are an integral part of 410 BC today.
Rachel: Just what Nicole said, that was definitely the hardest obstacle we faced in the beginning. Without the help from our friend Jillian, Victoria, Nicole’s brother Mike, my sister, and all our friends who helped 410 BC grow and make it what it is, I don’t know where we’d be. But that’s one of my favorite things, is that we are a group. There’s nothing better than working with your family and friends. I do want to add though that in a lot of ways being in college helped 410 BC more than anything, especially in terms of networking. In terms of being a brand that was started by women, that has only helped us as well. Women have a great deal of influence in the economy as consumers, especially in retail. We have a large female customer base that appreciates the fact that 410 BC isn’t completely run by men. I think we’re very balanced because we work with an equal amount of men and women and we’re not just catering to one gender.
Coty: You’ve just released the new 410 BC Spring 2009 Collection. What is it about this new collection that has got you excited?
Mike: I like this collection because it’s very cohesive and I just dig all the designs in general.
Nicole: I like how these designs are more simple and classic. We kind of went back to our roots with this. Also having more color options!
Coty: What’s your favorite piece from the new collection?
Nicole: Either the Loose Lips Sink Ships tee or the mythical beast Unicorn tee.
Mike: Save Me From Technology and all the script logo tees.
Rachel: I really like everything, but I’m mostly excited for the “Polis” line that’s coming out on April 10th.
This week, I’ll be featuring two different clothing brands in two different Indie Tee Spotlights – to make up for missing last weeks post. First up this week is a brand that I featured in Glorious Nonsensities Episode 6: Crazy Bananas, Endgame Clothing and Chess.
I was lucky enough to chat with John OBrien, the founder of Endgame Clothing. He discusses why the game of chess is so important to him and what prompted him to start a clothing company that is focused on the chess playing community. Despite having such a defined demographic, John has made his niche in the clothing industry and hopes that the opening of his new online store will take his brand to the next level. For John, it’s all about bringing exposure to the game he loves and is so passionate about. Also, Endgame Clothing is the newest addition to our Attack of the Coupon Codes promotion so you can now save 20% off of your entire order with the coupon code “COTY”.Â
Coty: How long have you been playing chess? Do you compete professionally?
John: My father first taught be to play chess when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I was a casual player for many years before becoming more serious with the game. I play in tournaments and online, but I’m nowhere close to a professional player.
Coty: What is it about chess that inspired you to create your own clothing line around it? How would you describe the typical attire of the average chess player?
John: Because I was a chess player, I wanted some chess clothes. But the only chess shirts I could find were totally lame. And I’m not talking about nerdy chic, I’m talking straight up lame – the kind of lame that gets your ass kicked! So in 2001, while writing a screenplay with a buddy of mine, I had this funny idea for “Hardcore Chess Apparel.” It was really just a joke. But when I came across a friend of a friend of a friend who silkscreened shirts in his garage, I asked him if he would make a shirt for me – this was the start of Endgame Clothing. It’s been Bishops and Bentleys ever since!
The typical chess player’s attire is pretty typical to anyone else: jeans and t-shirts.
Coty: You opened up your online shop last month, after 6 months of planning and preparing for the launch. What was that 6 month period leading to the launch like? What were the most important lessons you learned about starting an apparel company?
John: The 6 months of preparation before the launch of the online store and the new designs was quite an education! I was starting from scratch. I had one crappy handdrawn shirt that was printed on and off in some dude’s garage for several years, but I didn’t know anything about design or suppliers or e-commerce. I basically wandered around in circles for a few months until I found a little website called Emptees. This changed everything! Suddenly I had instant 24/7 access to the most talented people in the industry. I still had a crazy time putting everything together, but there is no way I would be where I am today without the Emptees crowd – thanks, guys!
There are many lessons I learned along the way, but I will give you one specific example. Since my launch, I have been very happy with the sales of all of my shirts except for one, the one I call Trophy. I basically wanted this design to be “light on the chess elements.” My rationale was that I wanted to offer a shirt for people who might not be comfortable with a whole lot of chess on their chest. I came up with the concept and the artist did an amazing job with it. I love the shirt, but it’s my worst seller!
After asking some of my best customers why they never chose the Trophy shirt, I found the reason. The reason is that if people are going to sack up and buy a chess t-shirt, they want chess on it!! So the moral of the story is to stick with your branding!!
Coty: Have you gotten feedback from other chess players? What has their response been like to your brand and your designs?
John: The response so far from other chess players has been great! I even have a few fans that have gone out of their way to help promote Endgame. So it’s really the players and fans that make everything worth the hassle. There have been many times when I have thought to myself, “Chess t-shirts? Chess t-shirts? What the hell am I thinking?” But then getting a really nice email or picture from a fan makes it all worth it!
I had the opportunity to chat a bit with Kneil Melicano, who this week won the Threadless Bestees Award for Design of the Year. Of course, he was quite excited about his win and I was very excited to get to chat with him.Â
Coty: What was it like waiting to see if your design would make the top 20 for the Design of the Year category? Were you confident that you would win Design of the Year once you saw that RED made the top 20?
Kneil: It was amazing. I’m still floored. I was not that confident looking at all the finalists, seeing most that made it are some of the best concepts for a t-shirt printed out there. The amount of talent Threadless produces and prints is absurd. From Frank Barbara, Aled Lewis, AJ Dimarucot + Jimiyo, Oliver Moss, Enkel Dika, Joshua Kemble, etc etc, you can’t help but feel intimidated by these heavyweights. I did an uppercut-hadouken combo after I refreshed the page and saw my name in the top 20.
Coty: You’ve mentioned that you’re friends with AJ Dimarucot, aka CollisionTheory, who also had a design that made the top 20. What was it like to go up against a friend whose design, When Pandas Attack, was much talked about this year and very popular? Would you like to maybe collaborate with AJ in the future?
Kneil: Haha! AJ is a scary scary person to go against with. I had the opportunity of meeting him when he had his victory party from his win over at DBH. And that dude knows how to throw [a party] on a side note.
He’s a very talented person for someone who admits he can’t draw. That Panda shirt is one of my favorite designs from the site. Battling it out with Pandas Attack made for the most stressful week of my life looking at how well it was received over at other sites like Emptees. But I think RED had a following of it’s own. You tend to look at it in a different perspective. Sometimes what works as standard for a great score at a printable range over at Threadless doesn’t necessarily work at other sites specifically like DBH (famed for huge prints). I think if RED made it over at DBH for a head-to-head with the Panda, it would suffer a heavy concussion with a blurred vision. I like the idea that the crowd chose a more traditional basic print. Not to pertain or target the Panda’s huge all-over placement because I think it’s very appropriate for the subject matter, but I think it separates these two sites Â in terms of their crowd following. And the contrast of these two designs and some others nominated (e.g. “Fail” by Budi Kwan, “Snow Angel” by Ian Leon, “Foam Monster” by Aled Lewis) making it over to the Top 20 makes Threadless a more diverse site catering to different crowds.
We do have some projects in the works at the moment together with other Pinoys in the field like Dexter Fernandez (Krayolaeater) and Loy Valera. Hopefully, it should materialize sooner than expected.
Coty: Design of the Year was selected by the Threadless community. Did you do anything special to publicize Red, or did you just cross your fingers and hope that you got the most votes?
Kneil: Like some others, I whored away. That’s it. It’s funny because throughout the whole week of voting, sometimes we would accidentally send each other our pimp emails and myspace promotions and realize we just sent it to the competition. I got some from the other top finalists.
Coty: What is next for Kneil Melicano? How do you follow up something like Red? Do you have ideas for future Threadless designs brewing in your head?
Kneil: There’s no pressure following up RED with a hit. In fact, I think this is the moment where I can experiment more and not play safe with the standards of printability playing in my head every time I try and churn a design. I got other designs in the works but I think there is no better opportunity to focus more on my personal illustrations than right now. I got stuff that I’m dying to finish.
Coty: And of course, the big question is, how do you plan to spend your big $20,000 winnings?
Kneil: Travel! Hit up the best beaches that 20 grand could afford.
Welcome to this weeks Indie Tee Spotlight! This week I highlight Found Item Clothing, a brand that specializes in taking fictional tees from your favorite movies and turning them into actual t-shirts that you can wear too. If this all sounds too familiar then that means you read this blog often and know that I featured Found Item Clothing in this weeks tee review video!
I had the opportunity to talk to Travis Greenwood, marketing manager over at Found Item Clothing, about the brand and the nuances that go into creating tees from existing, albeit fictional, shirts. He also hints at some new things happening at Found Item Clothing in 2009!
Coty: You started Found Item Clothing because during a viewing of Real Genius – you decided you wanted an I Love Toxic Waste tee. To your disappointment, you could not find an online seller so you decided to print your own. How did you go from wanting a one off tee to deciding to start your own niche brand?
Travis: 1. It was an organic process that evolved over time. The initial goal was simply to keep a few tees for ourselves, friends and family and recoup our investment from the trial batch of 25. In time, we came to understand that other movie fans wanted these shirts as well. It was pretty quiet for the first six months, but we sold enough shirts to make our money back and fund the next round of designs. And then people started requesting shirts from other movies, and we started watching films with the expressed goal of finding new shirts to reproduce. The rest, as they say, is history…
Coty: Many of your tees focus on films from the 80′s and early 90′s. What about this time period has intrigued you and will you be doing tees based on more recent films? If so, which films do you have in mind?
Travis: That’s a good question. There’s no real formula or specific criteria here, but generally each shirt should be something that (a) we think is inventive, humorous or unique (and hence, won’t lose its appeal over time) and (b) something that we ourselves would wear out in public.
I will say that these are the films that we grew up on, bonded over and have watched throughout our lives, especially fine flicks like Spinal Tap, Caddyshack, Real Genius and The Big Lebowski. Our shirts reflect, in some small way, the strong connection people have with moving pictures, the lengths they will go to get a little slice of that movie magic for themselves. If you examine our roster of shirts closely, you’ll see that most of them come from funny comedies and/or cult films that may have failed at the box office (or enjoyed modest success), but have since acquired devoted, even nerdish, followings.
I should add that 2009 will mark a FIC first: new, original designs are in the works. They should be available for sale sometime in the next few months.
Coty: Explain a bit about how you go about reproducing these tees that are sometimes on the screen for just a few seconds. What has been the most difficult tee to replicate?
Travis: I can’t really speak to this process because it’s not my area of expertise, but in general, when we’ve decided to green-light a design, we do numerous and detailed screen captures for the movie, and also try to find any other source material for the design that might be out there, and from there we let our talented designers have at it with illustrating software. There’s also usually a lot of back and forth about the particulars of the design, and what is truest to the original. We strive to reproduce the smallest aspects – font, color, placement, shirt style – as best we can and this can be a time-consuming process. It sounds easy, but I assure you, it’s not always so. Off the top of my head, some of the more difficult tees to replicate have included Summer Games, Karou BettoÂ and the Green Skeleton, because the images on front (and occasionally, back) are somewhat complicated and finely-detailed.
Coty: The Caduceus tee from Ferris Bueler’s Day Off is my favorite tee from your collection. I would predict that I Love Toxic Waste is your favorite tee. Which tee thus far has been your best seller?
Coty: I bet you get many requests from your customers to print tees from particular movies. What are some of the tees that people have requested? Have you ever had a request that you later did print?
Travis: Sure, we get a fair amount of suggestions and always welcome more. A lot of the times the requests are pretty obscure, but there have been few designs that were made as a result of customer requests. The Karoru Betto and Gun’s Don’t Kill People shirts were both customer requests. If we do make shirts from a request, we’ll send that person a couple shirts of their choice, so if anyone’s got any shirts, they’d like to see made, please send along those requests!
Thanks again to Travis of Found Item Clothing for chatting with me! In case you missed it, watch a video tee review that I did of Found Item Clothing’s Caduceus tee from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
In this weeks Indie Tee Spotlight I highlight an indie brand, Prestigious Clothing, from West Springfield, Massachusetts. I had the opportunity to chat a little with William Matte, Jr., the founder of Prestigious Clothing. William has been running his own line for some time now and has built up an impressive catalog of tees within the past year. He has definitely focused on branding and has made his brands name a focal point of many of his tees.Â
Prestigious Clothing is gearing up to release a brand new fall line of tees which William has been promoting heavily and which has got the tee community excited. William talks a little about his upcoming line, some of his thoughts behind the Prestigious brand, as well as how music has influenced his design style!
“The identity, personality and collective attributes of my brand are nothing short of what time, frugality, devotion and hard work can produce. Prestigious means the world to me.” William Matte, Jr.Â
Coty: The name Prestigious Clothing sounds pretty grand – how did youÂ come up with it and what does Prestigious mean to you? How would youÂ describe the identity of Prestigious Clothing?
William: Prestigious is more of a description than a name. The primary reason for the choice was the overall timing of my brand’s inception coupled with the limitless path it produced ahead of me. The opportunity for me to start a line of my own was almost like a dream come true. So many amazing artists and the brands they own/design for inspired feelings of hope and willingness to start something of my own. I was busy as it was- school, my old job, my relationships and related commitments- “Prestigious” was an escape and an outlet. It’s become such a huge part of my life, and I devote every resource I can possibly tap into this project. It’s such an amazing and beautiful thing to be at the helm of a boundless and opportunistic endeavor. The identity, personality and collective attributes of my brand are nothing short of what time, frugality, devotion and hard work can produce. Prestigious means the world to me.
2. How would you define the target audience of Prestigious Clothing?
William: The target audience of my brand is something that I recently discovered, as typical as that sounds from a company owner’s point of view; it takes some time to figure out who you want to market to and why on earth they’d want to spend money your product. My target audience is not one that can be pigeon holed or summed up in a nutshell, but overall my customers are members of what one could simply call an “indie” culture- I promote my Vegan ethics openly and my customers appreciate that. The integration of my growth as the owner of a young brand along with the happenings of my brand’s development substantiate the reality that fans, followers and otherwise potential customers like an involved and personable owner; a face to go with a name. This year, Prestigious will take on more of an activist feel in terms of charitable contribution and communal involvement, setting the stage for what will come.
Coty: The indie T-Shirt scene is increasingly becoming a crowded space. What are you doing to make sure Prestigious stands out amongst the crowd? What things have you done differently?
William: It is far too easy to fall into the anonymous void of a crowed or oversaturated market. The most important aspect of staying afloat is maintaining and preaching the mission of your brand. Customer service, unique and gracious offerings with every packed order, a personable experience that will last longer than the shirt material itself; these are a few things that brands should strive for. In terms of product identity, it’s been said time and time again- offer something that can’t be found anywhere else. This is one of the hardest things to do- offering new products that aren’t like any other line requires discovering who you’re marketing your product to in the first place; once you’ve done this, start planning on ways of supplying the demand that is out there.
Coty: You’re preparing to release a new line of tees. What about the new line has got you excited? Did you collaborate with any artists on any of the designs? When should we expect to see the new line and why are they not available for presale?
William: Ah yes, the long awaited early February release! This has got me extremely excited and anxious at the same time. This will be a three-design release, and it is largely significant because it marks the first “line” ever released by Prestigious- prior to now, new designs would come out one at a time, sporadically and without notice. This has been promoted and has the community excited and wanting to see what’s coming- but only a handful of people very close to me have seen it- myself and the designer/printer included. Jimmy Heartcore, of Heartcore Clothing and printmytees.com fame, designed this line and will be performing the printing of each piece. This line will be for sale in bundle and individual design form (the bundle, or course, will provide substantial savings). By the 10th of February, this design will be unveiled in full form, all for sale and ready to ship. I decided against a preorder for a number of reasons, one of which was that I did not want to sneak peak the line publicly until the day of the release- it is somewhat of an experiment since I’ve done preorders in the past. I want to see how this line takes to everyone since after ordering; each customer will actually have his or her merchandise within 3 business days in hand. Preorders are not history for Prestigious, but this line will not be available for preorder sale whatsoever.