BEHIND THE BRAND: WEIRDOJune 21, 2016
UO: Hi Nathan! Tell us a little about your story so far
I finished university with a Desmond (2.2) in Illustration in 2009. I worked in the UO store (Oxford Circus & Covey G), whilst simultaneously freelancing until I found a full-time graphic gig for a fashion supplier designing graphics in menswear across most high street retailers.
UO: How did Weirdo come about?
Weirdo started out as a hobby. I joined a screen-printing studio and started messing about with my earlier work (similar to FAILE/ dFace/ Obey). I then gravitated towards printing on tees, probably because it allowed me total freedom (unlike my job) not to follow trends and grew organically as I wasn’t constrained to deadlines. Slowly slowly catch a monkey. It happened by chance rather than something that was planned.
UO: What does a typical day at Weirdo look like?
It varies depending on what I’ve got to do or finish…If it’s a good studio day I go in, set up and print everything smoothly. Same as designing. But a bad studio day, I go in, set up several times because the positive hasn’t taken to the screen, damage the screen, the ink then dries in the screen….and I give up by that point! Everyone in the studio has an off day so it’s not uncommon. Maintaining a cool, calm mentality is a winner.
UO: How would describe the ethos of Weirdo?
Don’t take life too seriously.
UO: Is there a particular piece from the collection you’re really excited about?
I love the “Good Times” Weirdo tee – I’ve been wearing it the most from this drop.
UO: What or who inspires your designs?
Strange ornaments, bric-a-brac, call cards in London telephone boxes, old fanzines, terrible graffiti… But more than anything vintage/ DIY band tees. Printing in the 70s – 80s etc etc wasn’t as advanced so it has a naive quality and charm. The practice screen-printing tees from the 80s have inspired me the most.
UO: Can you talk us through the creative process, from initial idea to finished product?
It’s quite a sporadic process. I start so many designs then save them half completed. I might have some potential designs stashed away for a while before I finish them. I like to have a back catalogue of unfinished work as you can come back to it later when you’re in the right frame of mind.
If I have a design I’m really excited about, I’ll get the blank t-shirts ordered in ASAP and dropped off at the studio. That way I can power through it and get them online.
UO: What’s your favourite thing in your studio?
My stone skull from Broadway Market. It weighs a tonne. Could be a potential weapon.
UO: How do you piece together a collection?
If it looks good and sits with the other designs, it’s in. If not, I’ll save it for later. I try not to complicate things.
UO: How does Weirdo’s base in East London inspire your work?
My studio space is shared so it helps being surrounded by similar minds. In Stokey, you’re consistently inundated with graffiti, street art and murals. It’s hard for it not to rub off on you slightly or inspire you subconsciously.
UO: Best way to spend a weekend in London?
Escaping from it! I love having a few beers in the park (not London Fields) and dinner out with mates. Chilled weekends in London are the one. Cinema and galleries.
UO: What’s next for Weirdo?
Who knows? Weirdo isn’t even a year old yet and I never intentionally set out with the mentality of “I want to build a brand”. I wasn’t expecting the reaction from the site that it’s had. I hope it expands and people like my stuff and wear it. If I see anyone wearing it in the street, or at a festival, I’ll be super impressed.
See more from Weirdo on Instagram