We sat down with UK Streetwear brand Anyforty’s head honcho Al Wardle to hear what the brand has been working on.
UKSA: Anyforty have managed to commission some amazing street inspired artists for your ranges (Richt, Gorey, J3 Concepts, Zombiecorp) is the street art style something that heavily influences AnyForty?
AW: I wouldn’t say AnyForty is heavily influenced by street art, I’d say AnyForty was built from a love of illustration and showcasing the work of artists we love, be that guys who spent there day’s can in hand painting up walls or artists who sit hunched over a bit of paper with a pencil. If the artwork is sick, we don’t care if it’s painted on a wall, printed out on a A3 digital poster, covering a vinyl toy, or handrawn on the back of a cornflakes box. Good inspirational work is just that, whatever medium it’s on.
UKSA: Tell us about the T-world project?
AW: The T-world project is a interesting one, I’ve known Eddie Zammit of T-world for a few years now, i’m from a editorial design background and he produces the world’s only T-shirt journal so we clicked with a love of print design and tees.
I worked with him as a client a year ago when i left my previous job as Art Director of Computer Arts Projects Mag, I designed all the branding and display graphics for a event he was putting on in Sydney called Next, he opened my eyes to some incredible Australian artists and i was hooked by the scene, I had to get some of these guys involved in AnyForty. Originally I was going to include a few Aussie artists as part of the range of collaborative tees i drop called the Versus series alongside artists from the UK and overseas. But after thinking about it, i thought fuck it, let’s just do a full range together. We worked for about 5 months, getting a great line up of artists and planning the drop, a bulk of the time was spent producing the mini books that come with each tee. A 24 page mini book, showcasing personal work from the respective artists alongside a exclusive interview.
The range dropped a few weeks ago and is selling steadily, it’s our biggest drop yet and we produced twice as much stock as normal, the range launched with a New York launch party as part of a series of 10 events T-world we’re doing over stateside and we recently dropped a promo video produced by the incredible Broken Antler.
UKSA: What does being a UK company mean to you?
AW: Personally, being a UK company is a incredibly proud thing for me, I’ve always said first coming from Newcastle, i’m a Geordie first, British second, but as part of this streetwear/clothing game, whatever you want to call it, I’m proud to be one of only a handfull of companies doing there thing against the masses and masses of US brands our stores are full of. I’m proud of being from the UK, based in the UK and producing my tees in the UK, and being stocked in stores across the UK.
We still need UK customers to support some of there own though, kids these days would rather hand over £30 to buy a tee from OnlyNY or Obey (both brands I love by the way, not hating just observating!), that’s worn by thousands of kids worldwide rather than hunt out more niche independent brands like ourselves who are only printing much smaller numbers of stock and are producing stuff just as good as our US elders. But i don’t blame the kids, when i was a teenager i was spending loads of coin on brands like Champion, Stussy and Zoo York. We idolise the US as part of our culture and you can’t blame em.
Saying that, it’s up to more stores to take chances on brands like ourselves, if you don’t put us on the racks alongside the bigger brands, then it’s harder for people to find out about UK brands. That’s why i’ve so much respect for people like Dan from Urban Industry, Sibs from Focus and Mark from The Chimp Store, all store owners taking a chance on people like me, and seeing that we can sell alongside hype brands.
UKSA: What’s coming up for AnyForty?
AW: At the moment i’m still kinda deep in this current range, AnyForty is a one man brand, i don’t work on it full time, do freelance client work to keep that London rent paid, so done the hard work getting the product produced and out there, but i just need to keep focus on keeping the brand in front of people, these days people (me included) got short attention spans so i’m keeping on top of the social media, hunting out new wholesale accounts, basically doing the fucking lot!
But product wise, next for us, we’re planning out our follow up to last years crewneck collection, and we’ll be dropping 5 new crewnecks around Sept/Oct time, we’re continuing our foray into self publishing by releasing Teeology 2 in December, and we’ll also be dropping a few other cheeky accessories once we can afford it ; )
Check out the AnyForty site here.