January 2, 2009
We interview Anthony Roe, founder of Awaken Design Company.
TM: What’s the idea behind Awaken Design Company?
AR: Awaken Design Company started off as a branch from my clothing company. Awaken Clothing (in short) started out as an idea that I wanted to act upon, in which I would break away from the normal clothing styles, and start with something new and fresh. While at the same time, getting people aware that they should should “Awaken” and take a look at themselves closely, so they can improve on whatever may need to be improved upon, so they can become better people. Now Awaken Design Company has been a major role in my career path, and it is what has identified me in this huge world of design.
TM: How long have you been in the t-shirt business? What have you learned?
AR: I’ve been in the tee shirt business for almost a year and a half now! Wow, I have learned so much! If I had to narrow it down to a few things I would have to say:
-Getting the right contacts is a VITAL part of anything in this business. And you have to treat every contact you get with great care, because it could make you or break you in the long run.
-I have learned that the tee shirt business is a very brutal environment, and you have to have thick skin to survive and flourish in it.
-I won’t keep going and going, but here is one last thing that I’ve learned recently and it’s help my clothing line to grow:
Design and release what you are personally happy with! I went out on a limb with my last Awaken Clothing design, and I didn’t know if anyone would like it. But I loved it, and released it anyways. It turned out to be the best seller I’ve ever had! So I think doing what you love it a very important thing!
TM: How do you get inspiration for your t-shirt designs?
As weird as this sounds it’s the truth: I normally get inspiration for my designs when I go outside at night, and look up at a star filled sky. I just get caught up in how beautiful and captivating it is. And it seems to just take me away to a place that I can clearly think of new ideas. Then of course I’ll sometimes be sketching around and an idea will pop in my head that I need to do. But the outdoors, and things like that are my major inspirations.
TM: Have you done work for any well known bands?
In late ’08 one of my designs for Metro Station got put in Hot Topic.
That was my first major design job, and I was beyond stoked for it! After that I’ve done some work for Sumerian Records, and they’re a pretty established label for bands. But Metro Station is about the biggest/most well know one that I’ve had the honor of working with.
TM: Out of all of the t-shirts you designed, which one is your favorite?
AR: I would probably have to say the “Beauty At Its Best” design that I released for Awaken Clothing. Although, I do have a lot of new concepts that I’m working on that I feel are going to take the top spot for me!
TM: What are your future plans for Awaken Design Company?
AR: I’m just going to keep designing as long as there is a demand. Eventually I would love to be able to do more corporate style design work for bigger businesses. I would love to design more print material like books, magazines, and of course I still want to do a lot of tee shirts. But I am planning on expanding my portfolio to more than just the indie clothing/music scene.
TM: What are some helpful tips you can give to others trying to get into the t-shirt industry?
AR: Just don’t rush into it really quickly, and do it because you love it, NOT because it’s, for whatever reason, become “the cool thing to do”. When you have got into it, and are posting your designs out to the public, have super thick skin. You’re going to get a lot of critiques on your work, and a lot of them you are probably not going to like at first. You will not excel if you don’t identify the areas that need worked on, and strengthen them. Also, my last tip is stay professional about everything. I’ve seen countless people ruining their careers in designing by simply being jerks.
For more info on Awaken Design Company, check out the site.