I was meeting Clint many time on the phone and by emails before this interview about his own brandwww.guttergodsapparel.com ..soon i was feeling he was "the man". There're many Australian brands they're kicking ass at the moment, one of those is Gutter Gods from Perth Australia. I had the pleasure to place an interview to the mind behind this amazing brand, sure that you will see something together Reeson in the nearly future.
Hi Clint What's Up?
What brings you here to this short interview?
Basically I reached out to the good dudes of South Central Store//Reeson to work together, it's always great to learn about the man behind the mission before going into business.
Learn about ideas, styles, concepts, where they came from and what their future holds. To get my story out across a european market is also a big bonus.
When was Gutter Gods established? ...What is Perth like?
Gutter Gods started conceptually around 2007 when I was starting out in high school, I started thinking about what it would be like to have my own label and possible names for it. in 2010 the idea started to come about more seriously, I started actually narrowing down ideas for names, logos, t-shirt graphics and more. In 2012 I was designing for another label, my style didn't quite fit their audience, although everyone around me was a fan of the designs, they weren't getting approved by the owner. That's when I knew I could do this better, I took out a portion of my savings and took to my first collection of tees. From my point of view, Perth is pretty chilled but quite modern and fashion forward. There are a good people doing amazing things in their area of expertise, it's great to see people from such an isolated city excelling across the world. We have a strong culture of fashion, music, sneakers and sports, which all play a part in some of my influence.
Where did you come up with the name 'Gutter Gods' and what does it mean?
So I came up with the name quite young, it came from the idea of coming from a small background to make it big, sort of a 'Lords of the Underground' play on words/kind of feel to it.
Since using it, people have responded to it quite well, it's always good to have a unique name, and the letters work well when designing graphics using typography so it's a win - win!
I was doing some research about your label and noticed that you're a young designer right? How old are you? What's your background in this area?
I'm 22 and work professionally as a Graphic Designer. From a young age I knew my career path was leading to becoming a designer, before I even entered high school. Drawing was a huge part of my childhood, I used to draw my favourite characters from cartoons like Dragon Ball Z, and sell them in class in primary school. Throughout high school I had art selected as a subject every year, learning about the theory behind it, and digging deeper into inspirations and finding different styles. Painting, drawing, sculptures all helped me develop my creative thinking and problem solving. From there I studied at University and graduated with a major in Graphic Design & Creative Advertising. I spent about a month or two looking for a job and was picked up by a digital agency that created apps for iPhones/iPads/Android devices.
After a year I upgraded to a bigger agency and I'm now currently doing work for much larger entities and business' in the form of graphic design, apps and websites. I don't draw as much now, but every design I create for the label starts out as a sketch. I can pull inspiration from anywhere, sometimes ideas can just pop into my head, some ideas I research and morph concepts and sometimes I'll see something when I'm out doing errands and that can trigger another abstract idea. If I don't have paper to draw it on straight away, I'll put it down into my notes and try and describe it as best as I can. My job is to solve problems creatively, and working in that area, and running a label takes up most of my time, but I love it and I couldn't see myself doing anything else. Some say their label is a side project to their career, but most of the time I'm putting in more hours on my label than the hours I spend at work, I have a few other side projects I run aside from my job and my label but those are definitely equally important to me.
Is there anyone else behind the label or Gutter Gods or is it a One-man Band?
It's only me, I've had some offers for partnerships and even some offers from investors, but I think that way other people will have an influence on what is created. Not everyone thinks the same, some people create labels as a partnership or even a group, and they establish something amazing because they work well together, but some of my ideas are a bit left of field and concepts need to grow over time, and be created from an original place. I don't like to rush releases, I think it's important to take the time, and make sure what I'm putting out is my best work. At the end of the day people are going to make associations with your product and I always aim for the best quality and design I can. When I start thinking about what to create, quality is the first thing that comes to mind, I want these products to last. I think it's also a plus for me, I create one-off runs in limited numbers, it creates a certain exclusivity. I think it's more worthwhile always moving into new products rather than re-stocking older designs. Solo is the best option for me because I have a clear vision of what I want to achieve and what I think I can achieve. In 2016 though I'll be moving into the collaboration arena. I've been in contact with a few people I think match my label well and I'll be conceptualising with them and we will see what comes about, other than that I have some big ideas I need to narrow down into collections or mini releases.
I like your brand style, could you tell me what you follow/inspiration/style direction?
My gear is a mix between streetwear, lifestyle, sport and sometimes outdoor. I usually stick to a simple and minimal approach, but some design can be detailed. I like to add in product details where I can to make the item more interesting, like labels, small obscure prints, leather details on products, customising the fit, choosing the comfiest materials, adding in additional nice-to-have features like pockets, zips, and so much more. I try to keep my ideas original, obviously with the market being flooded with new brands, new concepts and new ideas all the time, it's pretty challenging to say your idea is 100% your own. There's a good chance someone in another country has done it before. But I try and pull inspiration from my own ideas, think about what I'd like to wear, what I see in a product that makes me want to buy it, and what other people respond to, and from there I can only hope to be original. When creating gear I always try and break away from what everyone else is doing. In my previous collections I've created custom headwear, the next step in a recent collection was to create other fully custom items. Our pants, jackets and beanies were all created 100% from scratch. I picked measurements, created my own size grading, chose zips, colours, materials, button styles, mesh inlines, material quality and strength, and so much more. In a market that has brands popping up all the time it's important for me to create a name that doesn't dissolve into the background. Anyone can get a tee, bang up a design and get it printed, it involves much more to go into the custom/cut and sew arena and I think that's when people start to notice you more. I've evolved quite a bit over the years, changing and adapting to new styles and concepts, always influenced by my surroundings and what others are doing that excel in the industry.
Who are the Gutter Gods supporters/shops....surfers, skaters, artists or who?
Because my gear is quite versatile it ranges from quite a few groups/niches. My products stay simple and true and I guess it can come down really to what the design is and what colour the print may be as to who would buy it. It started out just as mates buying gear, but it's evolved into mostly people I don't know all around the country making orders. Soon to be shipped world wide - I have a few things we need to sort out before making our product available to everyone around the world. I have two stores in other states that stock our gear, I've been with them from when they were relatively new, they're always happy to see new products coming through from me, it pushes me to give them the best I can to return the favour, and keep them happy.
What is your next collection looking like?
Recent drops have been mini releases, a few tee designs and soon to be some headwear and custom mesh shorts. Winter is a while away but it always creeps up quickly with back and forth to the manufacturers and making sure the product is tested, perfect and ready for the public eye. It can take a few months to bring a whole collection together. At the moment the winter drop is looking pretty large, the ideas I have need to be narrowed down into a smaller collection - or possibly drip feed a few products at a time. I've found It's better to have more product released over time then hit with a huge collection in one shot. Then whatever you post on social media gets a bit repetitive and people lose interest. It's still early stages so I don't want to release too much info incase some products don't come through/don't meet my standard and I decide not to release them.
Thanks for taking the time to give us an insight to your label
No problem! Looking forward to future work together, thanks for having me!