Trials and Errors in Academic Streetwear

Kai Eriksson

Posted on March 30 2018

We love designs that make sense. That is, designs that are meaningful to the people who wear them. This is not a core concern for everyone.

There was one visitor to our Facebook page who gave us only one star and the comment ‘who cares?’ Of course, many of our opinions will face critique or even contempt; this comment, however, made us think. Essentially, why should one care?

Our point of departure is the wish to do something unprecedented. We view ourselves as pioneers in the casual wear and lifestyle sector because themes from theory, culture, and society are a starting point for design.

We offer quality combined with fresh designs and attractive prints. We strive to provide you with a new kind of colour schemes and visually interesting designs, accompanied by a wider social theme.

As you know, there are vendors selling inexpensive t-shirts with the faces of various philosophers and thinkers. And there are, of course, also market leaders who want to avoid taking a stand when it comes to philosophical ideologies.

It was our idea to combine quality and usability with intellectually meaningful themes. This is how we are different from our competitors.

However, on the course to the perfect execution of our designs, lie many pitfalls.

  

Our People

So, we did something unprecedented by choosing to cater to an audience who values theoretical, cultural, and social topics.

Despised by established fashion industry because of its small size, this socially concerned group is close to our hearts. It might appear that this audience needs to be substantially larger so that we can stay alive and thrive as a business – yet, we believe, it can be done.

We’ve never considered this group to be too small, but, admittedly, there are some challenges in reaching them – or, well, you!

While our customers might be a well-defined and recognizable group, geographically they are widely scattered. They are also found in different positions and occupations, and are quite unique, with their own habits and practices. 

Although we might seem like one small clique among umpteen others, we don’t promote any single hobby or interest.

We embrace transformative ideas and concepts, and anyone can, in principle, share this standpoint with us.

 

Designs

Our first designs are the outcome of balancing themes that are common – that is, themes familiar to everyone – to attract our audience, with ones that are more exclusive. 

While Foucault, Latour, and Piketty are surely well-known figures among academics, they still aren’t household names for a regular guy!

Now, so far so good, isn’t it? One problem, though, as one of our fans pointed out, is the fact that the group who have both an academic education AND a keen interest in the movers and shakers in their particular fields might be quite narrow.

Most educated persons, especially those who graduated years ago, can hardly remember the themes and concepts referred to in the prints, or so goes the allegation.

Well, there might be some truth in this! There are many ways to address our core group, and the choices we have made have perhaps not been the best ones. Perhaps we have been too restrictive in our design choices.

One could argue that this kind of business approach needs an abundance of different designs to cater to different academic interests. Or, by contrast, the designs themselves need to be general enough for most academics to be able to endorse them.

The first option would require a massive investment in inventory, whereas the latter option would risk our designs becoming meaningless. Or what do you think about slogans such as Philosophy Power or Anthropology Rocks?

Of course, there is no single correct answer.

We hope, however, that our first designs portray some of the key features that we’re seeking to bring to you – academic or social themes combined with fresh designs and comfortable garments.

This is also a reason why should anyone care about wearing meaningful designs. There are many important social issues today, and some of them may, allegedly, be even more critical than the ones referred to in our prints. 

Yet, we think that bringing technology as an integral part of social thought, for instance, is a marvelous achievement that deserves to be recognized.

It is also our hope that the themes selected for our prints and their realization will evoke a common respect for the various concepts that allow the world to be viewed differently, even if one is not keen on the works of Foucault, Latour, or Piketty in particular. 

Can Foucault, for instance, represent something more universal than the sum of his work? Absolutely. As the epitome of subversive thinking, he is one of the perfect embodiments of what we stand for: radical, nonconformist, and iconoclast thought.

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