"...I want people to know that if you truly love something you don’t need to have studied it to do it. I’m a big believer of - if you want to do it, go and do it!"
Recently I had the chance to sit down and chat with Peter from Alwaysloved Clothing Co, who brings a serious passion for designing tees to each and every one of his pieces. Peter has a background in photography but has recently switched it up to explore t-shirt design. He took the time to chat with me about why he made the switch from photos to tees, his love of puns, and why he thinks artists should always follow the paths they desire.
I notice you use “we” in the description of the Alwaysloved Clothing Co, could you tell me if it’s just you that designs your tees?
It is just me that designs the tees, yes. When I first started out I wanted to create a brand with Alwaysloved Clothing Co, so tended to write “we” rather than it sounding like it was just coming from an individual. I felt people would respond better if they thought it was a collection of designers, rather than just one. I’m not sure if it still applies as I don’t really use it so much now. I think as time has gone on my approach to it has changed slightly.
Could you tell us about your background in photography, your transition into designing for tees, and how you came to be making and creating what you are today?
Tough question! I’ve always been interested in photography, even from a young age. I originally joined Redbubble just for displaying my photographs, but then noticed that tees were on the menu too. I’d always wanted to create something to wear, so I thought I’d try my hand at it. After a few designs and a couple of sales, I just fell in love with it. My photography was also never quite to the standard I wanted it to be. I enjoyed it, but I wanted to get better at it. I decided to undertake the “A Photo a Day” challenge as my camera was just going to waste and collecting dust most of the time. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy it, but the photographs I was taking improved drastically. I guess the more you do something the better you get at it.
And could you tell us about your creative community? Did you go to art school? Do you have a studio? Are many of your friends artists? Who are your creative people?
I never actually went to art school or studied graphic design, I just taught myself and did what I liked doing. I did take art briefly in secondary school which I enjoyed, especially the pop art module. I never took it any further though. It’s a topic I like to discuss, but at the same time I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging about it. I don’t want to say “I’m completely self taught and I’ve never studied it,” but at the same time I want people to know that if you truly love something you don’t need to have studied it to do it. I’m a big believer of – if you want to do it, go and do it!
I don’t have a studio, although I would love one! At the moment I just work from a desk in the corner of a room. It’s a nice room though with lots of trees and green outside the window, so I can’t complain!
Funnily enough I don’t really have any friends that are artists… I’m the odd one out! I do have one friend who is also a photographer though and takes stunning photographs. He was one of the people that inspired me to get better. I could never understand how he was achieving those sort of shots!
As far as creative people go I can’t really pinpoint anyone in particular. I take note of things I see that I like, whether they are individual elements or whole pieces of work. I then store them in my head and let them inspire me. I’ve definitely been influenced by a wide collection of designers and artists in some shape or form.
I love the designs that humanise food – could you talk about how you choose what to design, and how you use human traits in characters you develop?
It’s interesting because I never set out to specifically do those sort of designs, I like the fact you’ve noticed it though! I’ve always enjoyed play on words and puns so they just seem to work well in designs I guess. Ideas just pop into my head and I think “that might make a good design”. I’ve actually got a little list that I add to whenever I have an idea, no matter how random it is. I love random! If anyone saw it though they might wonder what planet I’m from. Occasionally I do question whether people will get what I’m trying to put across, but then I remember it’s fine… if they don’t, they’re just not on my wavelength!
I’m not really sure why I use human traits either, I think it just makes inanimate objects more fun! People can relate to something more if it has a personality, especially if it’s a little kooky.
What has attracted you to designing for tees so much? What do you love about them? And do you have a favourite you’ve designed?
The thing I really love about tees is that if I’m lucky enough for someone to buy one of my designs, it means they like it enough to be seen walking around wearing it. For one that’s just about the biggest compliment I can receive as a designer. Secondly I love the idea that somewhere out there in that big wide world there’s the potential I could bump into someone wearing one. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m confident the universe will let it happen one day!
After you’ve been creative in different disciplines for so long could you tell us what you wish you knew at the start of your creative journey? What did you wish you knew about creative independent business out of selling your artwork and designs?
I’m not really sure how to answer this one! I think I’ve enjoyed the journey so much that I can’t really think of anything I wish I’d known at the very beginning. Joining Redbubble was probably the thing that kickstarted me though. When I first joined and had a purpose for creating it really inspired me to keep going. I’m also still learning and improving every day, so in some ways I still see myself at that start of my creative journey. I wish I’d known about Redbubble sooner though.
And how can emerging designers develop their own style? I love the style of your tees and am curious as to how you came across your style, if it was informed by hand drawing, and what tips you’d give to others trying to develop their style?
Keep doing what you love. If you enjoy it the rest is easy. It also takes time to really discover what you’re good and not good at, so don’t be afraid to try something new and explore ideas you have, no matter how random or silly they seem… sometimes the best ideas are the strangest ones! The list I make really helps me too. It’s almost impossible to pick an idea completely out of the blue when you need it, so I can go back to the list and find an idea I’ve had in the past when I want to do a new design. Don’t force it either, the best ideas are the organic ones that just come to you. Also, keep your eyes and ears open… there’s inspiration everywhere!
I don’t think I ever really came across my style, I just felt inspired to start designing tees. Most of my designs are done straight onto the screen, I draw the vectors and rarely work from sketches on paper. I’ve created plenty of designs that don’t work, but that doesn’t make them any less important. It sounds cliché, but every mistake truly is a lesson. At the same time don’t be afraid to see a design through to the very end. A lot of my design process consists of doubting how it looks mid way through, then being pleasantly surprised when it all comes together at the end!