Grab a coffee, dust the sleep out your eye, it’s Monday and another week has begun. This week we have an ‘ugly’ treat for you. I know that doesn’t sound all too appealing, but one emerging lifestyle brand has made ugly seem attractive one design at a time.
Meet FreekUgly, a character based tee shirt line and lifestyle brand from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Taking seemingly unattractive graphic images and morphing them into fashion perfection is what this line does and does well. The line has extended its brand from t-shirts to several things like bandanas, skateboard decks and canvas. Although “freek ugly” might not be how you want to describe your mate, this line has made that phrase into an awesomely alluring fashion statement.
Check out the interview and see how Freekugly does their thang.
1.) Where are you from? What do you do for a living?
I’m from Philadelphia, and I’m a graphic designer by profession.
2.) What kind of product do you produce?
A character based t-shirt line that has recently branched out into becoming a lifestyle brand using different media, such as bandanas, skateboard decks, and canvas.
3.) FreekUgly is an interesting name, how did you come up with it?
When I looked at the characters, first thing I though was “they are freakin’ ugly!” That stuck with me. I loved the name but I also loved the possibility of playing on the word ugly. I liked being able to use the word ugly as a term that didn’t refer to something unattractive. Instead it would refer to something different, out of the norm and therefore appealing to the consumer.
4.) What motivated you to base the line on characters? Do you start with a character first or do you begin with idea and then tie it to a character?
I first started out drawing the characters. As I looked at them, I felt that it was something that would translate well on tees, so I did it. Being mainly into the urban wear and semi-luxury brands such as LRG, Rocawear, Triple Five Soul, and Morphine Generation. I thought that it would be something fresh and new on the scene. When I create the tees I sometimes start with the character then I design around it, but often I create a theme and tie it to an existing character or I create a new one.
No Icecream tee - In the midst of having fun creating my characters, I also tend to be a little mischievous. I created a run of designs for Freekugly called “Unofficially Undisputed”, which consists of tees that target established popular brands that I’ve come in contact with. Icecream is one of those brands that I wanted to get at. The intent of the shirt and the other designs isn’t to diss another label, it’s to poke some friendly fun at brands that I respect and admire.
Thrillin’ tee – This is one example of my character design. This was somewhat of a tribute t-shirt to Michael Jackson. Of course there have been hundreds of tribute tees mad. However, our Freekugly tribute tee had to be different. I decided to use Thriller. There was such a great response to the tee. That I decided to keep it on deck for this season’s line up.
This is one of my canvas works called “Love Hater”. One of my intentions for the brand it to make it multifaceted, starting with canvas. The Love Hater is based off of a character that I created a few years back, a bruised heart named Ned. The canvas is 24×36 and done in oil pastel.
6.) What are your ultimate goals for your line?
My ultimate goals for Freekugly, is to have it become a staple in streetwear apparel and to be iconic through creative branding. I look to venture into such things as designer vinyl, plush characters, and animation to name a few.
7.)What are your opinions of the new Karmaswap? How do you see this affecting streetwear culture?
Karmaswap is great vehicle for consumers from around the world to access up and coming streetwear brands. It will be effective in getting those brands to the select group of tastemakers and trendsetters that wouldn’t have seen them otherwise, ultimately adding something valuable to the streetwear culture.