PINS is the young Go Getter focusing his creativity skills on trainers and Krispy Kremes, whilst gaining a celeb and cult like following in the process. Not your average designer, and sure to raise a few eyebrows in the industry, PINS has made his way to success unconventionally and without the support of tutors and mentors. Instead relying on his own ambition and cretaive mind to discover and develop his business and brand.
Harbouring his talents into the theme of Krispy Kremes and streetwear, “PINS uses donuts and trainers in his work to represent various ideas about desire, consumption, love, money and success”. Exploring different avenues within these themes, he has created a range of customized clothing as well as made to order customizations with are popular with the likes of Mariah Carey and Usher and resulted ‘Best Customiser of the Year’. He also uses his work to actively help the community, designing programmes that help young people to explore and develop their creativity. IDOL caught up with PINS to find out about his dislike of the education system, his like of doughnuts and further more, his love for design…
1. Tell us about how and why you got into fashion; was this an early career and education choice?
I started off by doing a foundation course at London College of Fashion as I had an interest in clothes and heard that there were loads of girls there, so thought why not. I didn’t really enjoy it, the girls weren’t even that hot, kind of just floated along doing work which I didn’t really enjoy and just knocked it out for the sake of it. Upon leaving the course, all the tutors were baffled as to what would become of such a ‘do-er’ with no ‘talent’, I literally had no clue as to what to do next, so I went back into fashion, again, and done my BA Hons Fashion with Business at University of Sussex where I knocked out 3 years, but still felt upon completion, dissatisfied, more cheated than anything, like “wow, is that it??” “What have I actually learned in all that time??”
2. So what made you progress into clothes and footwear?
Uni done, what was I to do? It is at this point you think to yourself “ok should I go get a full time job in the field of my Degree (the obvious choice), get a full time job in something totally different (ummmm no) or take a gap year (ummmm not right now)”. I evaluated my skills and what I could do but felt something was missing. Then one day, walking home after munching the phattest frankfurter deluxe with extra onions at Doughmasters (a local eatery which is very POW! indeed), I noticed a new shop which just opened. They stocked all the freshest New Era caps and I was like…Ohkayyyy!!!! So I took a waltz in, had a look around and instantly had a thought. These Caps are exclusive yes, but to make them even more exclusive why not customise some of them with characters or graffiti lettering. So I approached the manager with the idea, he liked the idea, we negotiated fees, and so my custom game started way back in 2005…since then I have more or less mastered every customisation technique such as airbrush, hand-painting, spray can art and Swarovski application on various surfaces. Previous clients have included Mariah Carey, Usher, Kelly Rowland, Chery Cole and rapper Sway to name but a few.
3. By completing a BA HONS Fashion with Business Degree, do you think this has helped you with the business in terms of marketing, etc, as well as creating the clothes?
Ummm not really, as the course itself touched on Marketing areas, but not too much, which was a shame, as I enjoyed that area the most! Most of my marketing skills comes from researching the current market myself and
finding out what works, what doesn’t and what areas need to be improved…and as for creating the clothes, its pretty much just print based at the moment, so this stems from experience gained after the course, once again by teaching myself how to use Graphic software packages and focusing on perfecting my illustration style…
4. Besides PINS, has menswear and fashion always been an important aspect in your life?
Yep, back in school days, it was more designer brands such as Armani, Iceberg, Versace, Moschino, etc etc, which would cost mad dough for just one shirt, or a pair of jeans, but as I’ve got older, and learnt how things are made and constructed, my buying approach to clothes is somewhat different. I actually think about my spending habits more now, and hardly wear anything designer brand related and opt for more streetwear brands such as Carhaart, Stussy, Mishka and Levis. For me, its all about experimenting with different looks, finding something that fits your style, and your comfortable wearing it!
5. Who is the market/audience you are directing your designs to?
The PINS customer is a brand-aware, label-conscious consumer . The vast majority of their money is spent on clothing, games, music, and technology. In the 15-24 age bracket and in full-time employment or studying, the PINS customer is a sociable, outgoing person. When not shopping for trainers, the latest t-shirt or the newest underground, indie or electro music, they can be found bruising their thumbs over next-gen computer games, or simply chillaxin with friends. Their time is split between the office/ lecture room and social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, RWDmag.com and blogs. PINS customers are early adopters of trends and consider themselves style tastemakers, yet are absolutely brand loyal. These fashion forward fiends want a brand they are proud to be seen with – with a bold, statement smashing style and conceptually challenged approach, PINS merchandise will no doubt make some serious noise.
6. With ongoing celebrity interest do you feel it’s important to do limited orders to keep a quiet storm rather than a quick hype?*
I like that ‘quiet storm’. I think having a limited run is a good thing as the main aim is not to saturate the market too quickly with designs as some ‘quick hype’ brands do, but then they are ‘quick hype’ brands so I guess that’s they’re main objective, doh-nuts!
7. With such detailed customizing on all your pieces do you like to do everything yourself to achieve perfection or do you now work with a team?
I do everything myself, it’s the only way to ensure quality control plus I’m a crazy mad perfectionist which can be very time consuming…when I get to the level of mass production, then no doubt you need help, but for now its a one man thing!
8. Your photo shoots and campaigns are fun and playful. Is it important to you to have a large input with the photography and direction to market your brand correctly?
Yep! You have to be hands on in every department concerning your brand! The best photoshoots/campaigns work when you are able to work with the photographer and bounce ideas back n forth until you get it just right. For example, I may have the concept all mapped out, you then run it by whoever is involved and they may introduce some fresh ideas which I always appreciate, as long as the core concept is being reflected, then all good!
9. Are there any future plans to open a shop; or expand the company?
There are actually a couple of things in the pipeline, and would love to share them with you, but would rather keep it hush hush, and unleash that creative goodness as n when for full impact! But yes, onwards and upwards no doubt!
10. What advice would you give to those wanting to get into pursuing a fashion design career?
Don’t do it, its full of pretentious people! On the other hand, if your pretentious yourself, then perfect! Just go with the flow, don’t think too much about making mistakes, you’ll make them, keep making them, just learn from them, keep it pushing in whatever you do, forget settling, keep pedalling, if you don’t believe in yourself or ability no one else will, a little dose of Simon Cowell ruthlessness goes a long way, and finally, love what you do, life is too short for a waste job!
Ps. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, who knows someone else!
11. Do you eat more or less doughnuts than when you started PINS and does Krispy Crème know about your appreciation for them yet?
Yep, I actually do eat way more doughnuts now than before I started the brand, but to be honest, I’ve calmed down a bit since having having toothache on numerous occasions since, not good! And yes, KKremes do know about my
‘donuttyness’ and provide me with doughnuts to give away at my events alongside my clothing, kinda makes sense!
12. Where do you see yourself this time next year?
At a Krispy Kremes restaurant with you, having a donut n coffee and reflecting on life, past events and discussing what I’m going to be doing the following year.
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR IDOL MAGAZINE
Pictures by Hana Bauman-Lyons