Design team The Black Axe have grown to be one of the most well known and respected group of artists and designers in the game. They have worked with some of the big names in indie clothing such as 410BC, Rockett, Pyknic and Dead, Serious as well as working with bands such as Cobra Starship, The Academy Is, Four Year Strong, and Paramore to name a few. Aside from that they have also launched some incredible websites such as BandJob and Shirtmockup.com. Bottom line is that The Black Axe has their shit together so when they say they are going to launch a clothing line you better pay attention.
After seeing their clothing line The VNM launch I wanted to sit down and see exactly what inspired them to start their own line and what we can expect as they expand.
From what I have been reading THE VNM is a new project and clothing company from The Black Axe. Is everyone at The Black Axe involved with the project and if so has it been hard to get 5 guys together around a central idea?
Yep VNM is our project as a company. When we first started it was all 5 of us, then at the beginning of the year Derek Deal made the decision to branch out on his own. Since then it’s been the 4 of us doing everything and most of our ideas are eerily similar so it really isn’t difficult.
So after all this time designing for other companies, clothing labels, bands, etc why have you guys now decided to start a clothing line?
We’ve been designing apparel for successful brands for years and was always something we wanted to do. Unfortunately for us we had big ideas and didn’t just want to print a couple shirts and call it a line. It was beyond our means up until last summer. We received an offer from one of our long time clients to manufacture and distribute our own line. We jumped at the chance and things have turned out better than we expected.
Where did you guys come up with the name THE VNM and is there any significance behind it?
Thats a weird one. It has a meaning, but sharing what it means to us kind of defeats the point. It’s intentionally ambiguous so people can’t nail it down and have to just attach their own ideas. And really, we want to run this brand for a long time so we don’t intend on chaining ourselves to some concept we like currently, but don’t really feel 5 years from now.
Ambiguity aside, we’ve named a lot of shit collectively. The 4 of us have had multiple companies (Team Doom, The Black Axe, Horsebites, Bandjob, Crispy Tees, etc) and been in a bunch of bands (No Friends, New Mexican Disaster Squad, None More Black, Gatorface, etc). With all of these things naming them was the worst. Everything sounds stupid until you put something behind it, so this way we bypass the awkward part and get right to the point.
What would you like to tell people about THE VNM and what makes it different than any other clothing line that is out there today?
As i’m sure plenty of people before us have done: We just do what we want to do, not what we think is gonna sell well. This probably isn’t the best business model, but the entire reason we do this line is to make stuff clients wouldn’t really go for. Just shit we want to wear.
Do you find it harder or easier to design for your own line as opposed to completing projects for clients?
Much easier only in the sense that we enjoy every hour we put into it because the concepts are our own. That said, it is infinitely more difficult in that we never really feel like anything is good enough. We scrutinize everything we do way more than we ever would for client work because we have the time to do so.
Are you viewing THE VNM as a side project or is this something that will continue to be developed, pushed and grown?
VNM is definitely our favorite thing. Ideally it will grow, over time, into our main gig. We aren’t in any rush to abandon design in general, so we are just going to keep on doing what we do and grow this brand the right way.
How has the experience of running a clothing line been so far?
Fun and stressful just like we expected. It’s basically what we’ve been doing for years already, only this time we’re the ones at the wheel.
Do you have any sales or coupon codes you would like to share with our readers?
We’re actually having our first sale in conjunction with a bunch of little contests and ways to win crap starting this monday 5/23. Follow us on twitter www.twitter.com/TheVNM and on Facebook www.facebook.com/TheVNM for how to get in on all of that.