LORD OF THE FRUITS!
17 August 2015 by Sancho Murphy
"Love, Respect, Creativity - Love what you do, Respect yourself, your talents and the people around you, never be afraid to get Creative, as creativity is what pushes the boundaries and brings the future to the present".
We're bulk keen to announce that Sydney based label, Kingfruit Apparel is one of the new resident brands we'll be carrying here at Sancho's Dirty Laundry! We've been doing the Instagram lurk and eyeballing these guys for some time now :) If you're into gnarly surf & skate inspired graphics, particularly of the skull & tropical variety, then these illustrative based tees are the peas to your carrots.
We slung a few questions over to Curtis Dart, the illustrator / designer behind Kingfruit Apparel and Dart Designs.
What / Who is Kingfruit Apparel?
Kingfruit Apparel is a label created by me (Curtis Dart), as a way to showcase my design and illustration works - and basically wear clothes that I want to wear.
When did you come up with the idea for Kingfruit Apparel? What was the inspiration & motivation? How has the line developed since you first launched?
The idea of Kingfruit Apparel, or the idea of a clothing label has always been in the back of my mind. I would always look at clothing in the stores and say “I could do that, with my designs”. The motivation for actually starting up a label came about when I was between jobs, and family members put forward the idea that I actually apply some of my designs onto tees and see how they go…. and here we are.
When I first launched the brand I only had a few designs on white tees, and basically wanted to feel it out, and see how people reacted to my designs. I was super stoked to find that people were loving the threads, which gave me the confidence to build the range to where it is now. Since then, the label has grown from those first designs into a solid range across an assortment of garments and mediums.
What are the biggest lessons you’re learned along the way when it comes to starting a new brand?
Straight off the bat, starting a clothing brand is no ‘get rich quick’ scheme. You have to be patient, and put the work in – it's a marathon, not a sprint, so you have to be in it for the long haul.
The next biggest lesson is planning. As you develop the brand from a hobby to a business, the importance of planning becomes more and more prevalent. You need to make sure ranges are ready to go to production on time, your stock levels allow for growth whilst not putting you under, and your correctly predicting style trends for up coming seasons. Without proper planning, opportunities can be missed and sales lost. Money isn't everything, but in order to continue creating ranges and having fun, you need to be on top of it all.
Which labels and creatives do you appreciate and are influenced by?
I tend to be influenced by, and look towards brands that have a reputation and appeal that extends far beyond their clothing range. Brands including Stussy, Obey, Deus, and TCSS may not have the same style as Kingfruit Apparel, but all have an appeal that extends beyond clothing into the social fabric of groups of people, and communities. I look to these brands to see how they approach situations, including manufacturing, marketing, and point of sale, to see how people react and why the brands are so popular.
Let’s talk about process, I love getting a glimpse into everyone's own way of doing things. Can you describe the process from idea to production to finished tee using one of the garments you’ve designed?
Ideas for new designs, or products usually happen for me over a cup of coffee at the local cafe. I spend large amounts of time drawing / doodling, most which doesn't see the light of day, but every now and then I strike gold (well what i think is gold).
From that idea, I might do one sketch, then maybe a revised version, but never more than two attempts. I do all my designs free hand, then scan and tweak on the computer. I use to be all about that vector, that vector, no pencils, but then went back to my roots and fell in love with free hand illustration again.
Once I have tweaked the design on the computer and I feel its good to go, it will usually sit on my computer for a couple months, and eventually I’ll forget about it. Then one day I’ll be going through my files, find that lost design, get super excited (like I just found $20 in my jeans after putting them on), then finally put that design in my next range.
You guys have a presence at the Glebe Markets and sell mainly online, what are people loving about the latest Kingfruit Apparel range? What for you really defines Kingfruit as a brand and why do you feel the customer opts to buy the tees that you make?
Put simply, people are really liking the designs. My style of illustration and design is unique, but still really accessible, and appeals to a wide range of people. The cut of a shirt doesn't vary much form brand to brand, but people look to the prints to express their personality and style, and this is why I believe they opt to buy my garments.
Are there any exciting developments in store for 2016 you can give us a teaser of?
New threads and new designs. In 2016 we are looking forward to expanding the range across a large selection of products, but still holding strong to the original mission of supplying tees with unique and desirable designs.
I like to finish all interviews with a novelty question, just for lols. Where would you go in a time machine? And why?
To see the dinosaurs, because what kid doesn't love dinosaurs!
That's a wrap! You can purchase select Kingfruit Apparel tees from the Sancho's Dirty Laundry web-store. Full range will be available when we finally swing our doors open this Spring.
Click here for KINGFRUIT APPAREL's Facebook // Instagram // Dart Designs