feature: interview with heresy london
pam pam caught up with south-east London based streetwear brand, Heresy. Dominic and Jasper, both illustrators, started the brand following their love for exploring folklore narratives. Showing us their cosy studio in Peckham, the boys have developed a knack for standing out from the crowd with their unique designs. Check out the full interview below. Heresy SS18 is available at pam pam instore and online here What’s the story behind Heresy?
We're friends from school, we've known each other for about 16 years. Both of us ended up studying illustration and design at university, we made a lot of collaborative work while we were there. We were into screen printing and HERESY started off as another collaborative project after we finished studying, printing graphics we'd made onto clothing. Since then its kind of snowballed into putting out seasonal collections.
How did you both get into graphic design and illustration?
Both of us were in the same art class at school, our teachers were really nice but I don't think we did a lot of work. I used to mess around a lot with graphics programs on my PC when I was really young, Dom was a skateboard guy so you're exposed to a lot of amazing visual stuff through that. I studied photography for a bit and Dom was doing product design. When we were about 16 there was a lot of exciting stuff going on with what graffiti had morphed into, so we had fun running around putting up stickers we'd painted and spotting other peoples stuff. When it came time to pick a course I think a visual design thing seemed pretty natural for both of us.
Being from an illustration background, how did you form the decision to start your own clothing label?
After we finished studying we had both decided we wanted to be illustrators. We were really excited, but I think the reality of the freelance illustration thing in London set in pretty quick. Everyone wants you to make stuff for little money, or for free as you're a young-gun and it will be a good opportunity! You're at the mercy of others, waiting to get commissioned, and it can be quite an isolated practice, whereas we were always into doing collaborative projects. We started printing t-shirts just as a fun way to make some work together while we were living in different cities. When we started to see interesting, collaborative, and multi-faceted fashion was then taking that path seemed the right way to go.
Talk us through the process of creating illustrations for your t-shirts and sweatshirts. Do you have some favourites figures?
Our design process is always research based. Our focus is on folklore, so if we're designing a new collection we'll find an area, character or theme that we're interested in and start reading and collecting imagery. Its important to us that the whole collection has a narrative that ties everything together, the graphic stuff is an easier tool to project that with, but we make sure to use that approach with the cut and sew stuff too. Our favourite figures and icons change all the time, but at the moment we're into the 'Cerne Abbas' and ' The Longman of Wilmington' Hill giants. We collect folk objects and we're really into a new one we just got, this weird head carved out of a red house-brick.
We love the latest Lookbook created by creative design studio, Studio Creme. What innovative design practices are you excited to explore in the future?
That was definitely the most tech project we've worked on so far. The process was super interesting, you have a model stood in the middle of a circular rig of 90 cameras that all take a picture at once. We're experimenting with moulding at the moment, we're working on a book that will be a collaboration with some of our close friends, and we helped brew some beer with Villages Brewery which was super fun. Having fully branded cans of HERESY pilsner is kind of a dream come true for us!
Mysticism and folklore are two interesting areas of exploration within the streetwear market. Do you have stories of how these two subcultures inspired you both to the point of making it part of the Heresy design personality?
I think I've always been into folklore, when I was younger it was all Goblins and stuff. I made a lot of work in University to do with folklore too, the last project I did before I left with to do with the Norse text Prose Edda. We both like making work to do with narrative. Folklore is heavily involved with music as a form of that, which was a pull as well. I think once we decided to use folkloric influence for the brand we saw how vast a subject it was, basically this endless evolving pool to take inspiration from.
What are you guys listening to right now?
We've just made a new mix between the two of us that we wanted to kind of represent where the brand is at right now. It's all British artists, a lot of guitar music, mostly psychy stuff, Loop, Hey Colossus, Dead Meadow. But there's also some Neo-folk, some 'Weird New British' folk like Richard Dawson and some Folklore Tapes releases. Day to day we listen to a lot of radio, country, jazz, doom, psych. Dom listens to a lot of Soul, he's into Tyrone Davis at the moment, and I can't stop playing the new Hank Wood and the Hammerheads album.
What is your dream goal with Heresy, where would you like to take it?
We're having a lot of fun with it now, and this year we're putting out a couple of extra drops between the main seasons, which we've been wanting to do for a while. We're making more ambitious moves with the cut and sew stuff, so we'd like to keep driving that forward. We'd definitely like to collaborate with some other brands this year, we're really interested in that dynamic of seeing how other people work together, maybe something that we don't have much experience in like footwear or jewellery. We're in the process of making some new object projects too, we've made one-off ceramic pieces before but it would be nice to make an edition of something. Finding time to do more art shows would be great as well, and finally, put out a decent size publication!