AnyForty x FatKidOnFire - Interview #36

AnyForty x FatKidOnFire

Interview #36

It’s been a fair long while since we had any serious update action here at FatKidOnFire HQ but the post-FatKidOnFire Party #1 (which was a huge success) hangovers have rescinded sufficiently enough to allow staring at a screen. That means two new features (and a new mixtape either tonight or tomorrow) for your perusal. The first feature is with a brand who are a personal favourite of mine…

Find out more after the jump

Bristol-based AnyForty is a another one man brand. Graphic designer Alan started AnyForty two years ago and the brand has been going from strength to strength since. I first caught wind of Alan and AnyForty ages ago through the MBUK mag (a favourite read of mine) and I’ve had tabs on the brand and its collaborative tees ever since. There’s not a good enough way to introduce what Alan’s doing so I’ll let the feature and his answers do the talking. Read on to find out more…

Who/ what is AnyForty? AnyForty is a streetwear brand, born in Newcastle Upon Tyne [in the NE40 Gateshead postcode – hence the name!] but now calling Bristol/Bath home. At this current moment in time we specialize in making sh!t hot artist collaboration illustrated tees that form our Versus range!

Your tee designs are strong and striking – do they have an underlying theme or do you consider these designs to be your main brand image? Or is it flexible? You also seem to be collaborating with UK artists for the S/S ‘10 designs; is this something you’re looking to continue? The artist collaborations are definitely our brand image. The fact that each and every tee is done by someone different helps to keep the brand fresh and helps to showcase new illustrative talent. I love brands like Rebel8 and how Mike Giant blesses them with sick artwork but the fact we use so many amazing artists with so many different styles keeps us fresh to death. Theme wise, there’s not really a theme to them – we just come up with ideas for stuff we’d wear ourselves on a tee and make them happen. We try to stay away from cliches or trends!

In our 2 years we’ve worked with artists from the UK, France, Russia, Japan, Spain and the US. We’re a UK brand with a lot of UK connections but thanks to the t’internet the world is a small place. With our current range, 5 out of the 6 artists were (unintentionally) from the UK. I commission the ranges based on artists styles and tees I think will sit well alongside each other. It doesn’t matter if you’re from Scunthorpe or Scandinavia if your sh!t is tight we’ll work with you!

What does/ will make your brand stand out and distinguish itself from the rest of the UK streetwear pack? Again, at the moment I think it’s our strong link to the illustration game. We’re not like a lot of other brands who when they use illustrators they’ll go to street art fellas; we don’t follow trends, just try and showcase styles and techniques no one else is doing. It sounds cocky but no one else running a UK brand can FKOF with my illustration knowledge and my contact book is bursting at the seams! If we had the money and the backing I could drop 60 sick-in-the-mouth tees in a months time, each one done by a different artist, each one different in style to the last. Tees that’d get us in stores all over the world!

Who/ what influences you in your work? Skill wise, all the kids out there trying to innovate not imitate with there illustration styles keep me buzzing, and brand wise seeing how fellow one man brands like Jonny Cupcakes and Benny Gold have blown up give me hope for a successful future.

What’s your take on the UK streetwear scene at the moment? To be honest I’m more inspired by the US scene – brands like Rebel8, The Hundreds and Mishka inspire me massively. UK wise, there’s no one who I wake up and think FKOF me I want to be like them. When I was younger I used to admire the likes of Addict and Fenchurch but haven’t seen anyone come through who’s blown my socks off since. Addict were definately the last people from these shores to inspire me, their collaborations with Mr. Jago and Swifty had me reaching for the credit card! I guess nowadays King Apparel and Second Son seem to be at the top of the tree, but nationwide success I don’t know… I don’t often see their stuff in many stores to be honest. One thing that impresses me is there’s a lot of hungry fellas putting in the hours and grinding with their brands. Fellas like Dirrrtee, Death Before Dishonor, AndWot and the My Yard boys are all dropping nice stuff. But UK wise no ones come through and blown up to the level that has kids collecting each and everything they drop. Kids who’d piss their pants when new releases are announced, we don’t seem to get that over here. Then again I do understand the US scene is a whole different ball game, seeing as their country is a million times bigger than ours!

You know what, I think the problem is the UK needs to support its independent brands more. And I’m looking at you – the majority of independant stores, instead of filling your rails with nothing but US brands you should try and help brands from our own shores grow. I’ve been lucky, got a lot of stores who’ve shown faith and supported AnyForty from the jump. I’m eternally gratefull to Dan from Urban Industy who was the first store to take a chance on us. Getting in stores is hard. That’s what’s probably holding the scene back from blowing up. There’s not enough stores like Urban Industry who’ll take a punt on homegrown brands. Also I do think people like The Daily Street have a good grasp on the UK scene, and i can see them helping it to grow in the near future. Big up those fellas especially Suffocake! Keep doing what you’re doing, FKOF a Hypebeast!

Where do you see you and AnyForty being in 5 years time? I’m pretty realistic and know at the moment unfortunately I’ll never earn a living from selling tees alone (luckily I have a day job to help me grow the brand), but like Martin I can dream. My ideal situation would be for the brand to get stocked in loads of stores nationwide, get picked up by distributors overseas and get me the financial situation going on where I can expand and experiment with really creative cut and sew. Then after that launch a flagship store with glass walled design studio so punters can see us working on the next range and a screen print area so we can print up new releases and limited edition tees at the drop of a hat in the store. Print ‘em up in the morning, put ‘em on the shelves in the afternoon! That’s the sh!t I dream off! Keep the punters on their toes and keep them popping in the shop.

Where can people expect to catch your work, any UK stockists to watch? People can buy us from our online store or if you want to check out the garms in the flesh we’re currently stocked in Urban Industry in Eastbourne, Focus Skate in Edinburgh and Glasgow, Forty Five in Plymouth, Switch on the Isle of Wight and soon we’ll be in Montana in Nottingham. Hopefully a handful more stores will be on board before the year’s out too!

Top 5 favourite albums? Ahh, this is a tricky one, apart from the design/ illustration thing, music is my main love. This list changes day to day, but today gotta be…

  1. Skitz – Countryman
  2. Nas – Illmatic
  3. Evidence – The Weatherman LP
  4. Klashnekoff – The Sagas Of…
  5. Jeru The Damaja – Wrath Of The Math

Shoutouts Basically I couldn’t have done any of this or got it to the level without the help of a handful of extremely talented and good mates; mates with mad pencil skills, website building tekkers, printing skills and photography expertise. Big up all your collective chesticles, you all know who you are and you all know i appreciate your help, AnyForty famalama for life!

Alan and AnyForty are yet another example of a TEAMUK brand doing things right. Collaborating with underground and more mainstream artists to produce sick designs and even sicker tees is definitely a good way of making big noise and establishing yourself as one of the best British streetwear brands. If you’re feeling what Alan has to say or want to support the brand hit up the AnyForty webstore, blog, Facebook group or the Twitter account. Big up AnyForty and the rest of TEAMUK!

If you have any thoughts on what AnyForty has had to say, or thoughts on anything else you’ve read let us know either via the comments section below or through one of the other forms of contact (emailTwitter and Facebook).