Gamers don’t exactly have a reputation for being leaders in the field of fashion. No, we have the stereotype of being ill-kept and badly dressed beings who are barely more evolved than chimps.
Thankfully I’m evolved just enough to play games.
Two people are on a mission to make gamers look good though, and so it was with great pleasure that I got a chance to sit down and chat to Jon and Dan, the founders of InsertCoinClothing, a huge range of gaming related T-shirts and hoodies, and see exactly what makes them tick.
And if you haven’t already I suggest you head over to InsertCoinClothing and see if anything catches your fancy. I have my eye on the Torgue tee.
Anyway, without further babbling here’s the interview, along with a few hints on what their next designs may be….
WolfsGamingBlog: As you yourselves say, you site was spawned in 2010. In that short time you guys have become quite a big name in the gaming community. How has this sudden rise to fame and power felt for you?
J: Are we a big name? I guess we’re heading that way – but it’s all thanks to the people who like what we do!
D: It’s been a bit overwhelming at times. We only launched in July last year, and it’s just gone nuts from there. We’ve built up a huge, loyal following and we absolutely love those guys for how they’ve taken us to their hearts – they’re awesome. It goes without saying that we couldn’t do it without them, but the community spirit we’ve encountered has been spectacular – so supportive. They’ve helped to make us the ‘favourite brand’ of gaming tees and that’s meant so much to us.
WolfsGamingBlog: So how did it all start? Did you just wake up one morning and think “Gaming tees, that’s the ticket?”
D: Well, we’ve both always loved games and tees, so I guess it was always going to happen one day!
J: I think it just clicked when we started talking about decent videogame tees and we just simply couldn’t find any. The ones we did find were pretty underwhelming. Some didn’t look very inspiring, some were just dreadful quality. I bought a couple online and they fell apart after one wash. Then, talking to Dan, we decided to right the wrongs and make gaming tees that people would really want to wear – and that had great designs and top notch quality. That’s why all our tees are made only for us They’re made to our spec so we know they’re not going to fall apart – they’re built to last.
WolfsGamingBlog: It’s wierd to think that gaming has gone from being a hobby you hide to something you proudly display on a t-shirt. Do you think it’s just gamers buying your tees or are plenty of non-gamers getting into the action as well?
J: I’d like to think that it’s a good mix. Mostly gamers, but also those with an eye for good design.
D: The premise for every tee is to make a piece of clothing that stands up on its own merits. It doesn’t need to be associated with ‘Game X’ to succeed, the design alone is cool enough to make people want it. The game link is an added bonus that helps all us gamers and geeks represent something we love.
J: That said, it is obviously an overwhelming game-centric market. The best thing is how many people from within the industry have started wearing our stuff – from Xbox to Sega, Blizzard to Lucasarts, we get orders from practically every corner of gaming. That’s very cool.
WolfsGamingBlog: So what’s the design process for a new t-shirt? Do you just play a few games and think “damn, that looks good” or do we have to picture you sitting around a table shouting at each other and pointing at an obscure and confusing diagram?
D: Ha, if only it were that simple. There’s a lot of thought goes into it… but a lot of luck too. Sometimes we’ll just be chatting about a game and an idea will pop into our head. Our Zakhaev tee was like that, for example. Other times, we’ll play through an old game and suddenly something will catch our eye.
J: And that’s just the first step. It’s all too easy for someone to just go round nabbing all the logos and slapping them on a tee, we like to have a think about making it a bit more special. We’ll look into design styles, typefaces – every aspect of the design to make something that just works. We’re working on something at the moment that has meant we’ve spent a long time looking at continental film posters… and another design was based on gentlemen’s clubs… it goes beyond just that first idea and into something completely new.
WolfsGamingBlog: Have you ever actually been walking down the street and seen a person wearing one of your tees? That has to feel wierd.
J: It is weird, but also very cool.
D: You never get used to it. We went to Eurogamer Expo last year and saw a fair number of our tees out there and said hello to a few of the people who were wearing them. That was very cool. We’ve had people reporting in to us that they’ve seen our tees in this place or that place. It’s always fun.
J: And we had quite a fair bit of coverage with loads of gaming celebs wearing our tees – Dan Maher, Mark Walton, Guy Cocker, Mike Channell, Dan Kilby. And then we had the mighty Phill Jupitus wearing our Calber’s tee on the BBC. That was pretty epic…
WolfsGamingBlog: Now for the important question: do you guys actually
wear InsertCoinClothing tees? Or would you not be seen dead in your own brand of fashion? 😀
D: YES! 100% yes… everything we make so that we would at least wear it. That is the reason why we started and it’s the reason we’re still going – we just want more cool gaming tees!
J: We love our designs… and we do wear them all the time. We each prefer some more than others, but we love them all. And wear them… all the time!
WolfsGamingBlog: What’s the plans for the brand in the future? Any chance of seeing some InsertCoinClothing on our Xbox 360’s Avatars anytime soon?
D: That would be awesome wouldn’t it? Never say never – maybe we could do something Gamers’ Voice or Special Effect related? Who knows!
J: We’ve got so much lined up for this year. We’ll have at least twice as many designs by the end of the year and we’ve got loads of things in the pipeline, with plenty of new lines as well. It’s exciting – 2011 is going to be big.
D: Definitely watch this space – more designs, more competitions, more products… just MORE!
WolfsGamingBlog: You seem to greatly encourage the community to get involved by sending in pic’s of them wearing your stuff, or sending in ideas for new designs. How important is this aspect to you?
J: It is all about the community we’ve built up – and that’s still growing. We have grown to nearly 1,500 members in little over six months. Those guys are passionate and hungry for cool gaming tees.
D: And they’ve got some great ideas too! The best thing is when someone suggests something that we’ve already thought of and everyone says ‘yeah, great idea’. That way we know we’re on to a winning concept and feel more confident in the finished product. A great example of that is something inspired by a certain MASSive space RPG that’s had a huge EFFECT on people. We had the idea ages ago, but then someone mentioned it, it got backed by loads of people and now that is going to launch as the leading design in our next range. Our followers know gaming, they know tees and they’ve tuned in to our way of thinking… it’s a great partnership!
WolfsGamingBlog: It’s the question that has to be asked: Whats your favorite game and why?
D: Without a doubt, it’s Gunstar Heroes. I will bore anyone and everyone to tears about that game. It is just perfect. Fast, fun and just amazing. If I had to choose something else, I’d probably go for Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, Half Life 2 and Uncharted 2…
J: I love Mario 64 and the original Metal Gear Solid on PSOne. Ocarina of Time has a special place in my heart too, which is why I’m very excited about some of the designs we’ve got coming out!
WolfsGamingBlog: Pirates, ninjas or zombies?
J: Ninjas definitely!
D: I’d have to say zombies. People will see why when our next tees come out. It’s very exciting!
WolfsGamingBlog: it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you.
D: And to you…
J: Thanks so much – and for the great questions!
So there you have it. Without a doubt Jon and Dan have been a complete joy to chat with, and I’ll be keeping an eye on their latest designs.