BEHIND THE BRAND: PLAYDUDENovember 27, 2017
In the lead up to our Christmas Market event at the Urban Outfitters Marble Arch store in London on 9-10 December 2017, we’re speaking to some of the exciting vendors that will be at the market. Next up, Playdude…
Where did the idea to start Playdude come from?
I think it’s as simple as just wanting to start a brand that sold stuff that I was into. I’ve worked as an Art Editor for various magazines for the past seven years – finding and collaborating with illustrators and artists has always been a favourite part of the role and something I was keen to do more of outside of my day job. I’ve also been making shirts and other stuff on-and-off since I was a teenager and now seemed like the right time to develop this into something bigger.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I was keen for Playdude to not fall in to one particular aesthetic – there are so many different graphic styles that interest me so it was intentional to keep the project pretty loose. I’m a fan of lots of different artists and illustrators and I’m keen to use the brand as a platform to collaborate with others and make fun stuff together.
What are you inspired by?
My work space is full of my collection of toys and junk I’ve accumulated over the years, which are all a constant source of inspiration. Whenever I take a trip I always seek out local flea markets and antique malls as they’re an endless source of lost design and interesting items. Japan is my favourite place in the world due to its vast array of collectors malls. More specifically, Koenji in Tokyo is a goldmine for rare toys that span every decade. This first collection for Playdude is inspired by my collection of trinkets and books – from food mascots and Tiki souvenirs to tattoo flash and ancient alien conspiracies.
What’s your creative process like?
I’m not sure if I have a set process – to me it’s as simple as having an idea for something and then researching the best way to execute it. This project has it’s roots in collaborating so I’m always trying to keep up with what others are putting out – if I have an idea I’ll reach out to whoever I think will nail it and see they’re interested on working together.
Where do the comedic elements of the collection stem from?
It was a conscious decision to keep the brand light-hearted and not take itself too seriously. The use of cartoons and illustration is something that helps convey a tongue-in-cheek vibe. When I think of my favourite brands they all hit a sweet spot of great design mixed with a good sense of humour.
Do you have anything exciting coming up that you can tell us about?
I’m currently shortlisting a bunch of illustrators I’d love to work with for next year’s release. I’m also making some awesome motel-style keychains with Japanese brand The Skips which I’m real excited about. I just released my first limited edition toy this week and would be stoked to make more.