We interview Cheyne of Sinful Stars Clothing. Check out what he has to say about how he got into t-shirt designing and started his brand.
TM: When did you decide that t-shirts was your thing?
SS: For me it started with band tees, I wore them all the time. Any band I listened to I wanted their shirt. After a while the bands I really stuck with and liked had really detailed and artsy designs which I fell in love with. The more crazy and different the design was the more I liked it. Whether it was just a crazy big design or a design that was printed in an off location. I started to fall out of just wearing band tees when I discovered a great artist by the name of Derek Hess. I absolutely love his artwork, and his work fits so well on clothing with his clothing company. This is when I moved from wearing band tees to wearing tees from clothing companies I had never heard of or knew about. All of this was stirring in my mind one day while I was designing for a local band, I thought, why don’t I start something? I didn’t want to start something like everyone else did with huge designs that consisted mostly of the name of my company. I wanted to create art, and I wanted it to look good when worn. I’m not in the business of selling you my name, I’m here to sell art that I enjoy and hopefully find kids who feel the same.
TM: How long have you been in the t-shirt biz? And what have you learned?
SS: I’m about 2 and a half years into this, I’m still pretty new, but I’m still very much learning. I’ve learned that going to a screen printer isn’t the only way to get your message across. There’s so many more ways to make a great shirt, I was unaware of this until a year into this. For me it’s hard finding a screen printer that can understand your vision and how you want something printed. If you do find someone they are usually on the west coast, I like to work close with the printer to make sure they understand what I need. I work a lot by hand and with a person who run a direct garment printer. DTG, I feel, is so much better then screen print. Your designs last so much longer and they never crack or fade, there is also no minimums which helps me out a lot being as small as I am. I’ve learned there’s always a way to get something done.
TM: All your shirts are hand made and original. How’s this been working out for you and what’s the process of production?
SS: So far this has been going good for me. I am able to stay on top of orders, I don’t have a huge over head so I can stay more organized this way, as well as make my shirts more limited. I have a strong passion for this so making the same design one by one is great, each shirt is truly one of a kind this way. Right now most of the handmade stuff is either bleach work or metal and acrylic necklaces. I’ll usually make about 24 shirts of a design at a time to keep me going.
TM: Which of your shirts is your favorite?
SS: Well so far my favorite shirt was my fist limited edition gold foil diamond shirt. I loved this shirt because the shirt was bleached front and back and then I cut out every diamond and put it on the shirt. It’s so flashy it’s hard to not notice.
TM: Do your run your label alone or do you have a team?
SS: The label was created solely by me, I make most of everything myself, but my girlfriend plays a huge role with helping me sew in all of my custom labels and helping me when I’m stumped on a idea. She too was a factor for making me want to start a label. She sews a lot and makes custom garments for people, we’ve done some collab pieces in the past and who knows for the future. So I don’t have an official team but she’s definitely a huge influence for me, and I love her for that.
TM: Where do you get your inspiration from when it comes to designing t-shirts?
SS: I am influenced by everything around me, everything I see to everything I touch. For some reason most of it cycles in my head for a while, and comes out when I’m not even thinking of a design. Some of my first designs were sort of accidental designs. One day I had gotten up from designing and stretched, for some reason in my head this clicked and I thought, that would make a cool design. I grabbed the girlfriend and asked her to pose for me, after that she became one of my designs.
Another design happened one day after cleaning out a junk drawer. We found a pack with those little tiny thumb handcuffs, I saw these and wanted to use this for a zipper pull as well as design around the idea of this…so I did
TM: Your website design is pretty cool, could you tell us a little about it and why you chose to go for something out of the ordinary?
SS: Well for me it seems pretty ordinary, like with my designs and clothing I like things a bit different. This just seemed to fit what I like, although I am always thinking of new designs for it. I’m currently working on new designs for clothing and jewelry which might change the site design, who knows.
TM: What would you say is your target audience and what has been your best marketing vehicle in targeting that audience?
SS: I’d like to say my audience would be kids who skate, go to local shows, as well as kids like me who just enjoy cool shirts that aren’t about someones name. So far Myspace has been a big help, Myspace is great because you can interact with them more than just a typical site lets you. You can see what they look like, talk with them, they become more like friends than just another number buying your product.
TM: What’s in the works for the future of your label?
SS: Well currently I’m looking to put out some cut-and-sew garments. I’m working with someone as we speak, I’m really excited about this, I don’t really want to say too much other than I’m sure everyone will fall in love with it.
TM: What tips could you give to others trying to get into the t-shirt biz?
SS: The only thing I can say is never give up. When I first started I asked other bigger companies for some advice, I only had one response and it was “I could write a book on clothing companies…”. That obviously didn’t help me at all, but I didn’t give up. Everyone is different and everyone has a way of doing things, find what works and go with it. No matter how much you think you know, you can always learn something new so never close yourself off from any advice or help.
FOR MORE ON SINFUL STARS CLOTHING CHECK OUT: SINFULSTARSCLOTHING.COM