It’s been an unforgivably quiet here at FaKidOnFire for the past week. A few technical difficulties (and a rather hectic work schedule) have put a downer on our planned updates but we’re back on top and have a huge amount of content for your guys’ delectation.
Tonight sees another re-interview with one of our favourite brands from the FKOF back catalogue. Studio RUDO has made some big waves since the launch of the brand in September last year. After shocking the UK streetwear market with an international headwear collab on the brand’s second drop, Tony and the rest of the crew have been brewing some big plans. With the launch of the newest design, ‘La Rudo Muerte’ (seen below), we thought it was high time we caught up with bossman Tony to see what’s been going on…
It’s been eight months since the Studio RUDO x FKOF feature, what’s changed for the brand since then? First off, thanks for having me back! The last eight months have gone real quick. It feels like only yesterday we sat down for that initial chat and laid out the brand’s master plan.
Where to begin with what’s changed! We’re now not only available online, having been picked up by The Sneaker Lounge in Newcastle and Robot Bunny in London. I had the goal to be in three stores within the year, so we’re well on target for that. We’re also gearing up for the re-launch of www.studiorudo.com, which has had a complete overhaul. RUDO’s really started to pick up steam and I’ve started to notice repeat customers placing orders. Getting a sale from a new customer is great, but to see people coming back with each new drop to me says we’re doing something right. Which makes it all the more rewarding!
You’ve just dropped your latest print; the awesome ‘La Rudo Muerte’, on tees and a sweat. Are you still designing using the same influences as you were six months ago? I spent a lot of time looking at the roots of the brand’s namesake RUDO; and Mexican culture in general. With the ‘Muerte’ tee, the influence came from the Day of the Dead festival – which on the surface looks pretty harmless, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find La Santa Muerte (The saint of death). La Santa Muerte is the figurehead for a cult in Mexico that’s condemned by the Catholic church, who are also heavily linked within the criminal underworld.
Way back when, my tutor at Uni said that I would always find a way of incorporating violence into each of my projects. I didn’t know what she was talking about back then but I’ve finally come to accept and embrace it. I’m not violent by nature, but am fascinated by the reason it happens.
I love the darker video games, movies and TV shows and I think I’m quite transparent with my influences, as it comes through in all my work. I’ve been watching loads of South Korean revenge thrillers and playing a lot of the new Mortal Kombat, so you can expect some of that to surface in future RUDO drops haha!
Have you any plans to extend the RUDO line? Your second drop was snapbacks, any plans to do something like that again? It was a gamble shooting in with headwear for the second drop, but I really felt like I had to come out swinging at the start of 2011. It paid off and the reaction was great. It was a real breeze working with Quintin, and the level of quality was second to none. I will definitely be collaborating on further headwear with them. I’ve spoke to a few of my friends that still work at New Era and I’ve definitely ruffled a few feathers working with the competition haha!
With regards to expanding the range, I’ve recently took on someone to help me develop the cut & sew side of things, so that should start to surface in future collections. I’m also on the lookout to team up with other companies that have a field they specialize in. Many companies try their hand at a lot of different things, but there is definitely something to be said and respected in being a specialist. I’d love to work with people like that – so I can learn and bring some of that expertise to the RUDO fan base. I’m going to take my time and only release new product when I feel the demand is there, but at the same time I also want to keep things moving forward.
When can we expect more from RUDO – any exciting collabs or further designs to look out for in the near future? The current plan is to release several smaller drops throughout the summer. I want to grow the brand slowly; it’s very easy to fall into the trap of dropping a large collection and then fading into the background until the next season. I put a lot of time into each design and I feel it helps to showcase each one individually, which in turn keeps RUDO in peoples minds.
I’ve had a couple of conversations with some amazing brands and people about doing collaborations in the future, but for me it really needs to make sense. I also think ‘collab’ has become a bit of a dirty word in our business, with every brand doing it with every other brand. I can’t remember the last time I saw two brands going in, all guns blazing trying to out do each other. Where’s the spirit of competition? It’s all got a bit soft. FKOF it, I want to see two brands fight it out on a t-shirt because really, that’s what it all boils down to. One brand trying to win over the other’s followers, and vise versa. My boy Villainous Visard knows where I’m coming from, maybe him and I need to set the bar on this one. Watch this space.
Has your opinion of the streetwear scene in the UK changed? My opinion as a whole hasn’t really changed. We still have an amazing bunch of hungry brands, with the real leaders each bringing something to the table.
It’s only when you launch a collection, and start chatting to others doing the same, that you see how small the scene really is. Everyone knows everyone, and that’s really helping the things grow.
As a whole though, I still think that there is a glass ceiling in regards to people’s perception of UK streetwear, with most retail stores not really helping the situation by not taking a gamble on new designer-led brands. I can’t blame them as business is business, they need to stick with what’s worked in the past. But in the current climate, with the stores playing it safe, this leads the once creative brands to play it safe. You end up with a scene that takes little to no risks and doesn’t move forward.
You can draw a lot of parallels with the music industry, with the last few years seeing artist after artist regurgitating the same thing. Signed to 360 deals, with no one owning anything they create, and producing only what the radio’s and record labels dictate.
Then Odd Future come along and signs a contract that allows them to have complete creative control over every aspect of their ‘brand’, and owning all their master recordings. In essence changing how that industry does business.
Now I’m not trying to say I’m the Tyler, the Creator of streetwear, I’m just trying to say that the UK scenes as a whole has the talent to come in, shake things up and take control of where we’re going and where we need to be. If RUDO can be involved in that movement, then I’ll feel like I was part of something important. If not, well I guess you’ll start to see me do a whole heap of box logo tees, and how does RUDO NY sound?!
All jokes aside, whilst this might be a long way off, I feel the best option would be to open a RUDO store. Take out the middleman, create a shopping experience that no one has ever seen. That’s the dream, so I best get working on it.
Finally, I’d like to big up Wil at FKOF who’s always first whenever new RUDO product drops [thanks bro!].
Big shoutouts to Villianous Visard, DBD, Soap-Box, SGT, Enclave and any other brands that I chat to on a daily basis. We’ve also started to sponsor a few select music artist and groups that have reached out to RUDO. So make sure you look out for and support Thai Matic, Ed Sheeran and Tyler Mae.
And most importantly thanks all the customers that have believed in the RUDO name.
We’ve got big love for Studio RUDO. The latest drop sees the brand cementing it’s reputation as the UK’s Benny Gold (we’re still not quite sure where that started but we completely agree)! It’s great to see Tony and the rest of the crew going from strength to strength and we can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for the future! Until we have the lowdown on Studio RUDO’s next move, stay locked on the RUDO website, Twitter, Facebook and the all important webstore.