One of my favorite parts about running this site is seeing brands improve and evolve over time. To me watching this evolution is almost like watching a child grow up. You get a chance to see their potential and then down the road you get to see what they start to become. This year there were a few clothing lines that really blew me away with the improvements and strides that they have taken for their brand.
Each one of these brands has made huge strides and improvements over the year and I just wanted to take a second to recognize them for their improvement! I truly cant wait to see what happens with these brands in the future!
1. Seventh Ink
Seventh.Ink is a company that approached me back in August and to be honest I checked over their site and wasn’t blown away with what they had to offer. The designs seemed pretty standard, mostly consisting of standard vector art and really nothing that tied the designs together to form a recognizable brand or identity for the brand. Since August this has completely changed. For me the change took place in October with the release of their “Night of the Living Bread” shirt. The concept behind the design was hilarious and the execution of the design was spot on. We even featured it in our top 13 tees for Halloween article At this point I was intrigued with what Seventh Ink had to offer and from that point they have released two more tees that have been knockout tees in my opinion. Seventh.Ink is really starting to form an identity and style for themselves with these last releases. If you can recognize a brand from the style of their shirts or designs you really know that the brand is headed in the right direction.
2. RANDR Tees
RANDR or Rise and Resist has continually improved their brand identity and the quality of their line throughout 09. While their original designs and releases were solid they really didn’t have anything that stood out and demanded attention. Well since their Fall 09 release these guys have really kicked their brand into overdrive. Everything about RANDR comes off completely professional. Their product photos, website design and most importantly Tee designs are all spectacular. I really see the Fall 09 release as marking the start to the new RANDR tees and the company establishing themselves as a true brand and identity in the tee world!
3. 410 BC
410 BC has been around now since the end of 2007, but for me this is the year that this brand has really started to take flight. With the introduction of cut and sew pieces and an extremely firm and established look to their line these guys have all the makings of the next company to go big time. When 410BC started they had a completely different look and image to their brand and it’s not that it was bad its just amazing to see them find their niche and flourish. This year along with cut and sew jackets, dress shirts and even skateboards, 410BC really upped the ante on their packaging introducing custom boxes complete with wax stamps, custom tissue paper and awesome extras in every package they send out. 410BC is a great example of a brand evolving to fit and build a niche, just take a look at their old designs compared to their new designs. It’s not that the old designs were bad at all, just a way different look than what they have become now. If your looking for a indie brand that truly has their act together look no further than these guys. I feel that 2010 is going to be a HUGE year for 410BC.
Arkaik Clotihng is a brand that almost did it make it out of its infancy. Early on when owner Jordan Abidor started the line, it was actually financially backed by his girlfriend, but when he and his girlfriend split up she pulled the plug leaving Jordan in a tough spot. It was at this point that Jordan had to decide to keep venturing further on his own or pull the plug on Arkaik. Fortunately Jordan decided to stay the course with Arkaik and in turn has really done a fantastic job re-branding and establishing his company as a player in the indie tee market. Even more recently Arkaik joined forces with Of Rome to form a new division called Arkaik : Empire which from the looks of what I have seen is going to be very solid. The only complaint that I have with Arkaik at this point is the brand has come out with a lot of really great designs but they are risking creating a confusing brand identity with the extreme difference in styles that they are offering. It’s great to have diversity in your line up but only when that diversity can be recognized as apart of your brand’s overall identity.
5. Miles to Go
Miles to Go is a brand that I immediately latched on to from the start. I loved the more mature and muted looked of the line as well as the amount of thought behind each design. Greg Kerr, the owner of MTG, has a vision for his line and has done a great job evolving and creating his brand. As I stated earlier I loved Miles to Go right out of the gate, but I really feel that over the course of 2009 they have done a great job expanding and evolving the line. With the addition of hoodies, yoga pants and even toddler clothes over the year Miles to Go is really pushing past the line of being just a t-shirt line and moving into being a full-fledged clothing line.
Each one of these brands showed a lot of growth over 2009, whether it was defining their “style”, improving their packaging, creating better brand identity or expanding their brand beyond just tees, they all showed a different example of what it takes to run a successful brand. This list was one of the hardest lists I had to put together, because their are a ton of brands that have evolved over the year, but I really felt that each one of these brands showed a different side of what an indie clothing brand can improve upon to be successful. I hope you enjoyed the article, and make sure to check out all 5 of these brands now and in the upcoming new year!
Stay tuned for the next article: The Brands that are going to take off in 2010!