In 2007, UK based clothing brand Dirtyface was founded and became the home to a range of the strangest imaginary creatures. Dirtyface combines originality and creativity, through the collaboration of the world’s most unique and talented underground artists and designers. We got the chance to interview Alan from Dirtyface to learn about the origins of the brand and upcoming projects.
TM: What inspired you to start your brand?
Alan: The desire to produce t-shirts that were different and stood out from the crowd. Also the prospect of being able to work with some amazing and very talented artists was a massive pull to start the collaborative nature of our brand. We’re very proud of our close affiliation with our artists.
TM: Why did you decide to name your brand Dirtyface?
Alan: Dirtyface came from my friend, Lucy. We were just sitting around one day discussing possible names that would work and she bleated out “call it dirtyface”. It just stuck and that was that. Thanks Luce!
TM: How do you decide which artist you want working with your brand?
Alan: The artists we collaborate with are all selected by me. I just choose who I like and admire. There is no rigid selection process, it’s just who catches the eye with original work. It doesn’t matter if they’re super famous or an unknown but more that I like the art and that it will sit well with our brand image.
TM: What do you hope people feel or notice when they see someone wearing one of your shirts?
Alan: There’s a feeling I used to get when I bought a new pair of trainers as a kid. I’d wear them around the house because I was so chuffed that I had these spanking new air max. I guess I kind of want our customers to feel the same when they crack out a Dirtyface for the first time.
TM: How do you come up with these crazy designs for Dirtyface?
Alan: Crazy designs are what we specialize in. When I discuss the plan for the shirt with the artist I pretty much say “go nuts, it’s your shirt”. I only select artists that I like and that produce weird and magical pieces so I guess it stands to reason that the shirts turn out the way they do. We try and not set a brief and that way it allows the project to flow from the artist, without constraints. I think the artists enjoy working with us because of the free nature to the project.
TM: What qualities does an artist need in order to work with Dirtyface?
Alan: Qualities we are looking for are a really professional approach to their work. We’re not really fussed about how they approach it but as long as the finished article shows a high detail of craft then we’re happy. We want originality to the design and so you must have your own style and be able to express that in the shirt. It should also sit well with our brand image.
TM: What’s the creative process for making a t-shirt design?
Alan: Creative process for me is to not specifically work on a design for a shirt. I can’t speak for the other artists but I don’t set out to make a design for a shirt but generally make artwork. Things then evolve and you realize that the piece would sit well on a shirt. Again I think that’s a better way than having a brief to work to as it allows a more organic development to the overall design. You have to be good at working with a limited colour palette, which I’ve always found difficult. Theory One is amazing at working with a small range of colours but still allowing a great depth to his designs. You also have to be good at matching the fabric colour to the pantone refs or the whole shirt will look wrong. That can be a tricky part of the process.
TM: How do you promote your brand and what are your most effective marketing methods?
Alan: We do a lot of online promotion through social media and the like. We also attend trade shows, festivals, art events etc. In fact we’re working on our own gallery event coming up next month. It’s called Dirtyface Ten/Ten and will feature artists from our previous ranges such as: Mr Gauky, Drew Millward, Mr Penfold and DXTR. It will also include new artists to the label such as: The Low Bros, Matt Sewell, Tom Newell and a few more…
TM: What are your 3 favorite clothing brands, besides your own?
Alan: Three favourite brands, tough one! I’d have to say Upper Playground first, simply because they set the way for us smaller brands and Jeremy Fish is simply unbelievable. Addict were also a big inspiration to us and I love the quality of what they produce. Finally, I’ve always quite liked imaginaryfoundation’s stuff. It’s metalness personified but they have a really nice style to their garments.
TM: Are there any other brands or artists that you would like to work with in the future?
Alan: As I mentioned before we’d love to collaborate with Jeremy Fish but I can’t see him being peeled away from Upper Playground to be honest, shame. We’ve always wanted to work with French artist ILK and I think he’ll be part of our next collection if we can afford him!! We’d also like to work with some of the new guys taking part in our exhibition, The Low Bros for example are amazing artists are we really dig their style. They’re getting bigger by the day.
We might have a brand collab in the pipe with a really well established brand but I can’t really tell you about that until it’s developed a bit more.
TM: What are your plans for next year?
Alan: Next year is to go bigger and bolder. Keep pumping out new designs and expand the range. We’ve had a lot of requests for a female friendly collection so that’s a work in progress. We also want to work more on the gallery events like Ten/Ten. It’s a great way to celebrate the brand by bringing all our talent together under one project and allowing them to do something away from clothing design. Oh and a DVD is going to be released of the event so more work of that nature would be really nice.
TM: Any final thoughts for all of your old and new fans?
Alan: Keep an eye on our blog for new projects and lines and thanks for all your support, it’s much appreciated. Feel free to come and say hello at our gallery event during August. Keep it dirtyface…
For more on Dirtyface, check out their website at Dirtyface.co.uk