Tell us about your label Das Monk and what inspired you start.
Das Monk is a label that specialises in graphic tees and sweatshirts, although we’re currently working on a few other pieces at the moment. I started the label in 2007 because I love art, design, and fashion, and thought that graphic t-shirts were starting to become obnoxious and overbearing with lame slogans, so I began to create designs that were more unique and concentrated instead on the artwork itself.
Where did the name Das Monk come from?
They were just two words I liked that I thought looked and sounded good together. In the early days I made up this weird story about a German monk who was outcast from his monastery for being obsessed with t-shirts but I killed that story when all the press we got kept saying that I was a former monk from Strudelberg, Germany.
What is your background in design and how has your path lead to having your own label?
I have a background in architecture, and at university I was always way more into the art electives than anything to do with designing buildings. I also have an irrational fear of working in an office, so I figured that I needed to something more creative and be my own boss, which led to starting my own label. I now work from my home office which unfortunately leads to a very relaxed take on personal grooming and work attire.
What inspires your work?
There are a couple of clothing labels that always inspire me… PAM from Melbourne and Alakazam from Japan. Other than that, I find inspiration from all kinds of mediums – from art to film to music lyrics. So anything from MC Escher to David Lynch to The Pixies. I just make sure I keep a digital scrapbook going on my laptop so it’s always stored somewhere, because unfortunately my brain is not so reliable.
What has been the most suprising factor that you have learnt in running your label?
It’s been a bit of a process, but I’m starting to become quite an organised person, which is quite an accomplishment for someone who doesn’t own a matching pair of socks. You don’t have any other choice when you’re the boss and you want to run an efficient business.
What advice can you give to others on running their own creative business?
I guess the best advice is that if you want to be successful it’s 5% talent and 95% promotion. So even if you’re the next Picasso, you still need to be a good self-promoter, or nobody’s going to know about your business. Although the internet is making life a little bit easier in that regard, God bless it.