Shaka Clothing x FatKidOnFire - Interview #91

Shaka Clothing x FatKidOnFire

Interview #91

As you’ll see in the ‘FatKidOnFire 2011 Recap #2’ (when I get around to writing it), brand features, although they went well, have taken a bit of a back seat over the past 12 months. I’m not quite sure how that happened but I seem to have drifted away from being as connected to the streetwear game as I once was.

So, what with the new year and all that, I’m going to try my best to have an equal balance of MakeItGood x FKOF features and brand features. It might happen; it might not. Time will tell! So here goes, the first streetwear brand feature for 2012…

The internet’s a pretty amazing thing when you think about what it’s enabled us to do. From a selfish point of view; it’s allowed me to run FatKidOnFire – from anywhere in the world with a wifi link, the web’s the reason I have a job and can pay the bills, but most importantly it’s helped people with an idea or a passion for something to gain support from others on a similar tip.

The two 16 year olds behind Nottingham’s Shaka Clothing are using the web to spread the word about their ideas – and got in touch with me to see if I was prepared to do my bit in helping spread the word a bit further. I had a quick snoop around their Tumblr and Facebook pages and liked what I saw…

Who and what is Shaka Clothing? Heinz : Shaka Clothing is Adam Black and I. We’re two 16 year olds from Nottingham trying to make shirts we think look sweet and show our chilled/ adventure lifestyle; pretty much good times on a t-shirt.

I’ve noticed that there are more than a few pretty impressive brands being run by one or two people. How have you found running Shaka on your own? What lead you to starting out on your own? Heinz: We’d both been toying with the idea of making some t-shirts for a year or two and then one day this summer I decide that it needed to happen. So I messaged Adam and got him on board and then within a week or so we had our first design. We were only going to print about five, but a lot of people wanted them so we printed off a whole batch and sold them pretty quickly. Shaka also gives me an excuse to get my camera out and take some photos, which can’t be a bad thing.

Adam: It’s not actually as hard as I thought, because we both have a deep passion for what we do. I draw the designs by hand and Heinz edits the designs on illustrator and then sends them off to be printed. Yeah – and I think we just wanted to start up a company to show people what we can really do and we thought it would be an easy way to make a bit of cash on the side.

You’ve not been around for too long but seem to be progressing well. Can you tell us a bit about how you go about designing each t-shirt – I understand all your designs are hand rendered? What are your plans for the future; are you going to be producing more than just t-shirts? Heinz: Adam and I have a couple of potnoodles and a cup of tea and usually out of the other end comes an idea for a tshirt. Adam then works his magic with a pen and I play about with it on Photoshop and/ or Illustrator haha!

Adam: I think in the near future we may be moving on to designing some hoodies or jumpers. Then hopefully by next year we will have a whole load of interesting stuff out. I think at the moment we are going for a very common feel by just producing t-shirts and then hopefully hoodies or jumpers. However, when we are a more established brand and have a bit more dough in our pockets I would really like to bring out some of our own inventions that have never been seen before and will hopefully blow minds!

What does or will distinguish Shaka from the rest of the UK streetwear being dropped these days? Heinz: There’s a lot of super sweet streetwear coming out of the UK at the moment, but I think what sets us apart is that we’re not taking this too seriously… At the end of the day they’re just t-shirts and we’re all just out there to have a good time and when you look good while doing so, life doesn’t get any better. I also know that I would be doing the exact same thing even if there wasn’t any money involved.

Adam: Yeah and I think the fact that we’ve hopefully got a pretty strong brand image helps.

Who or what influences you in your work? Heinz: We’re both originally from South Africa and I guess that has a super big impact on what we think looks cool – so I guess that is our main influence, other than that… Art, Photography, BMX, skate and good times.

Adam: Also I’d say the whole underground scene in general. The feeling of wanting to be different from society you know?

What’s your take on the independent clothing scene in the UK at the moment? How do we compare to the rest of the world – can UK brands compete on an international stage? Adam: I definitely think the UK independent clothing scene is making movements! At the moment I’d say it is actually very underrated, because if you looks at the bigger American brands such as Supreme or Only NY; a lot of independent brands are actually meeting, or in some cases, exceeding those standards!

Where do you see you and Shaka being in 5 years time? Heinz: I’m going to be in a log cabin somewhere, and Shaka is going to be having more good times than ever.

Where can people expect to catch your product, is Shaka in any physical stores? We’ve got our first t-shirt in Mimm, just opposite Broadway cinema in Nottingham, but other than that our website is your best bet.

If you could say something to your fans, what would it be? Likewise to your haters? Heinz: Cheers for supporting the groove!

Adam: Fans – What you are doing by supporting an independent clothing brand is not in vain; if there was no such thing such as independence, art and creativity we would all struggle to exist – because everything would just be mass produced sh!t!

Top 5 favourite albums?

  1. Saint Raymond
  2. Kappa Gamma
  3. Bon Iver
  4. Koudlam
  5. N.W.A

Shoutouts Tom Bracewell (Rise Worldwide), Mimm, Yellowdog, Soda Exclusive.

I’ve got a lot of love for what Adam and Heinz are doing. Yeah, there may be a limited number of designs to see, but I’m definitely enjoying where they’re coming from. A sense of humour and a yearning for a bit of adventure are all you really need – and if you’re passionate enough with what you’re doing, you’re guaranteed to get somewhere. I’ll be following Shaka’s movements over the coming year with great interest.

If you like what you see, head over to Shaka Clothing’s website to see more from Adam and Heinz and be sure to follow their work on Tumblr and on Facebook.

If you have any thoughts on what the boys from Shaka Clothing has had to say, or want to recommend us a new brand you’ve discovered or just want a chat about something you’ve seen on FatKidOnFire, fire us a comment below or get in touch via emailTwitterFacebook or the FKOF TakesQuestions page.