Terratag x FatKidOnFire - Interview #25

Terratag x FatKidOnFire

Interview #25

A1 Bassline has long been a hero of mine. Back before I fell down the deep and dark rabbit hole that is the dubstep genre, it was the Djs like Christian that kept my head bopping along to their sick beats. Now this isn’t a complete non sequitur because here Christian is, repping the next brand who are gracing the front page of FatKidOnFire…

Find out more after the jump

London-based Terratag caught my eye a long while back. Whilst the intense colours and Japanese-influenced graphics are most definitely not for the faint hearted, Terratag aim to combine Eastern and Western culture using the art from the Orient and, in my opinion, pull it off rather well. I sat down with Paul, the creative mind behind the brand, to find out more…

Who/ what is Terratag? Terratag is, first and foremost, a graphic based brand. With a direct Japanese influence, Terratag takes elements from Eastern and Western culture to create a hybrid of manga, pop-art, J-pop, sci-fi and street art. This hybrid is as much about Shoreditch as it is Shinjuku.

Your tee designs are strong and striking – do you have an underlying, concurrent theme or do you consider those designs to be your main image? Is it flexible? The underlying theme is modernity and Japanese visual culture – comics, magazines, films, art, etc. I guess everybody has their thing and mine is Japan. From an early age I have loved imagery and concepts of the future – Japan (more than anywhere else) epitomises that love of futurism. The way I work is to take Japanese themes and mix it up with European (especially London)-based styles. At the moment, the main inspirations are robots and graffiti. Terratag graphics are big, bold and brash. The colours are retina-burningly bright. No subtlety. Just in your face. 

Is it flexible? I would say it is. Running a brand, you have to be aware of creating a recognisable look, but must reinvent yourself constantly to keep it fresh. With each release I aim to improve on what went before.

What does/ will make your brand stand out and distinguish itself from the rest of the UK streetwear pack? You offer more than just tees – crews, fitted hats, artwork etc – will that continue or are you going to exclusive to one of those? Terratag is design-lead. Rather than going down the path of becoming a fashion brand (offering a full range of clothing), I want to concentrate on the artwork. Keep the tees rolling; making them better, but look at other ways of selling the art – especially in the digital domain.

Who/ what influences you in your work? Over the years I have drawn inspiration from many areas. It all ends up in the mix. If you take design in its broadest sense, influences go right back to childhood. Things that excited me then, inspire me now. That is plain to see in my work. I don’t want to belong to any one clique. I am not comfortable belonging to a niche, so like taking a little bit of this and a little bit of that, the end result being a unique hybrid. Let the viewer come to their own conclusions. In doing so, connections arise that were unintentional or subconscious. I like it when that happens.

“Come Play With Me” – digital print

What’s your take on the whole UK streetwear scene at the moment? When Terratag launched in 2002 the internet was nowhere – as far as sales were concerned. Getting your wares out there was about doing trade shows and taking orders from boutiques. This would happen twice a year, with your designs and production geared toward the shops. With the internet, we have been able to work in a completely different way, constantly making changes and additions to the range and, of course, dealing directly with our fan base. This keeps things fresh. 
This direct route to market has also allowed everyone from the bedroom designer to major labels to get their product out there. The ability to sell through websites allows labels to operate on a much small scale than they could have 10 to 15 years ago. This has created massive diversification and specialised niche branding in direct competition with high street brands.

It is an exciting time for designers, but a very competitive one.

Where do you see you and Terratag being in 5 years time? Everywhere!

Where can people expect to catch your work, any stockists to watch? The Terratag website. Keeping it nice and simple.

Top 5 favourite albums? In no particular order and no doubt, ask me next week and this list will be different. The list below is more of a sit back and enjoy selection.

  1. Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92
  2. Brian Eno – Apollo
  3. Add N to (X) – Add Insult to Injury
  4. Plaid – Tekikon Kinkreet
  5. Mirwais – Production

Shoutouts To all the Terratag faithful who keep me in the job I love.

Paul and the rest of the Terratag crew have been rocking the Japenese/ London look since 2002 and thankfully show no signs of abating their robotic assault! Terratag have a huge 50% sale over on their website so if you’ve liked what you’ve read and seen head over to the Terratag website and cop to support this cool brand. Sort yourselves out with some dope tees while the sun lasts. You can also find Terratag on Twitter and Facebook so get following and get liking!