I got to sit down and talk with one of my favorite designers out in the industry right now Jason Carne about his new clothing company Among Villains. If you don’t know who Jason is he is the mastermind behind Mainframe Media, and I did an interview a while back that you can see HERE
After seeing previews for Among Villains (The 6 shirts, and Poster) I knew I had to do a follow up interview with Jason to see what inspired him to start his own line and finally branch off into the indie clothing scene.
Q. So you have been designing for bands and other clothing companies for a while now, what made you take the leap and start your own brand?
Starting my own brand is something I’ve had in the back of my mind for years, but there was always something in my way that was blocking me from pursuing it in one way or another. I knew above all things that I did NOT want to rush the process and pump out some mediocre line that didn’t carry a message I truly was passionate about. When I was first thinking about doing this, it was intended mainly as an outlet for me to express my creative side and break away from client briefs and do my own thing as a designer. Finally the timing was right, the funding was there, and the message was clear that I wanted to deliver with my product and Among Villains was born.
Q. Tell us where you came up with the meaning behind Among Villains.
“Among Villains” is a name that carries a certain amount of dark sarcasm with it. A true villain, to me, is someone who takes advantage of their power or authority they are given and abuses it with malicious intent and nothing in mind aside from their own self-interests. Dirty cops, corrupt politicians, scamming religious institutions…these are some of things I consider to be truly evil and wrong in our society, yet a blind eye is turned because they are our “leaders”. However, most people actually slapped with the villain moniker are people that are simply either non-conformist (which is not one in the same with being an outlaw or a violent individual) or have strong opinions in opposition to our legal and justice system (which doesn’t work by the way). I often see so many people get arrested on such petty charges, things that do not hurt anyone’s way of life, or affect anyone but themselves, yet they are hauled away with tremendous fines and often lose their jobs and months or years of their lives. It’s wrong, it’s truly wrong. The role of law enforcement is to protect and serve its citizens and to uphold their rights, but more often than not our safety net is something that makes me feel unsafe. So anyway, in essence, Among Villains means being in league with the minority of people that will actually stand up for what they believe is right, not what an outdated and unfair law book says is right.
Q. Why should people go out and spend their money on AV, what makes you different from all the other clothing companies out there?
Quite simply, it’s a superior product in the indie market with a key thing most brands are missing: a message. I made sure every detail possible about my line was exactly as I intended at the onset of this project. Custom screen-printed sizing tags, hang tags, hem tags (customized differently and color matched for each different design), custom screen-printed boxes with tissue paper, poly mailers, buttons…you get the picture. More importantly however, these designs all carry a cohesive message that is bold and unmistakable. People often say that their fashion choices are a reflection on their personality and outlook, this gives them a true opportunity to do that if they believe in the message AV is sending.
Q. When you were coming up with ideas for this line did you find it easier or harder to design for other clients or was all your focus on AV?
It didn’t really have a large impact on my client work or productivity, as the design phase was spread over a period of approximately six months for the three designs I did with Among Villains. The reason being is because I’m my own worst critic and by far my toughest client. I literally have about 15-20 scrapped designs that I had in mind that didn’t pan out for this debut line. The one thing I will say is that I had so many ideas for this line that it was hard to actually think of any other subject matter than what I was going for with my own personal line. I had all of these ideas piling up for AV, but not much for personal projects to sell off, and I noticed I was chasing new leads for clients as often.
Q. What was your favorite part of putting together this company?
I would have to say that it was honestly working with designers from the client side of things for once. The line-up or artists I chose was an all-star cast that handled the job in a professional manner and absolutely nailed my vision. Craig Robson did a fantastic job on the packaging design (which can also be seen as the background on the website/blog/twitter), David Smith fielded two of the designs, George Daugherty did another, and Brian Luong did the 18×24 print. Every one of them has a unique and impressive style, but didn’t stray too far away from mine at the same time, which was good because everything still looks like it’s from the same company which was important to me. Diversity is nice, but being cohesive is better.
Q. Do you think your designing will take a back seat to AV, or is this more of a side project for you?
That’s really dependent on how well this debut line is received. I truly love doing freelance design work, it’s one of those jobs that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, but owning a successful clothing line is something I’ve always dreamt of and wanted to pursue. My design days will never be over, but eventually it may become something I put on the backburner a bit.
Q. Anything else you want to share with the readers?
If you like what you’ve heard and what you’ve seen follow the links below to get more information on AV. Also, be sure to check to check out the photos so you can see the line in its entirety either on Facebook or the Among Villains blog!