Saturday, April 14, 2012

Meet Your Maker: Das Monk

You may have seen our ever-awesome collection of Das Monk t-shirts here at Stockroom. Sourcing artwork from all over the globe, Brother and Sister team Marc and Brooke offer eclectic and funky designs created by independent artists. I recently had a chat with Marc about the inner workings of this Sydney based label. 

SR: First up, who are/is Das Monk?

DM: Das Monk is run by myself (from LA) and my sister Brooke (from Sydney), and we work with about 25 young artists from all over the world.

SR: Tell us a little bit about your background. How long have you been making t-shirts for? What path has led you to fashion design?

DM: It's been about 5 years now. My background is in architecture and Brooke's is in photography so we've both always had the design thing going on. I see our label as more focused on art than fashion, so it was our love of art that pushed us into what we do now.
SR: You collaborate with artists all over the world. How do you go about sourcing artists? Do you have a collective of artists and designers that you work with or are you always searching for something new?

DM: I source most of our artists online... through blogs, tumblrs, flickr. Though we have plenty of artists who approach us which makes it a little easier! We love having long term working relationships with some of our artists (guys like Tim Laing, Sam Chirnside and Mark Soetantyo) but I do love finding new artists to keep our art direction nice and fresh.

SR: Can you give us a little bit of insight to the day-to-day operation of your business? What does a typical day involve for you?

DM: Even though most of my friends think I just cruise the internet all day, there's actually quite a lot of proper work to be done! The fun stuff is working on our design collaborations with our artists and planning photo shoots, but there's also plenty of day to day mundane activities, as well as production management, selling, distributing etc etc which we do in house.

SR: Das Monk t-shirts are often quirky, wacky and always unique. What do you look for when picking designs?

DM: I don't actually know the answer to that question! There are so many artistic styles within our artist collective that there's no real common thread. But we definitely try to avoid mainstream subject matter and all of our artists are super cool guys/girls so they're always going to be creating unique and interesting new stuff.
SR: What are the future plans for Das Monk? When will we have Das Monk for chicks? (As far as I know, you guys don't do women's wear? Apologies if I'm right off the mark there, I will omit that last question if that's the case!)

DM: We're in the process of making a few more basic tee options (stripes and yardage prints), and we do have plans to make shorts and possibly even some button up shirts. Our emphasis will still be on art so expect to see lots of patterns and prints on other items of clothing. And no, we don't have any plans for girls yet but who knows? Would you like to see a Das Monk womens line?

SR: Hells yeah! A women's line would be great! What Das Monk tee are you wearing right now?

DM: It's a little chilly over in LA today so I'm wearing my Geisha sweatshirt, designed by Berlin based artist Alvvino.