The Independent Clauses does focus on music. But every now and again, our focus will shift to a topic that has music as a secondary focus. This month’s deviation of character is based on the excellent clothing company Skylab Clothing. Their bold, creative designs can be found on the backs of some pretty excellent bands, as well as anyone who wants to look really sharp. Creative designer and owner Chuck Magnum took some time out to talk with us.
Independent Clauses: How long has Skylab Clothing been running?
Chuck Magnum: Skylab, to a lot of people’s surprise, has only been online for three months.
IC: Why did you start Skylab Clothing?
CM: To tell the truth, myself and a good friend going to different colleges were somewhat disillusioned with the whole thing. College, that is. We asked ourselves, and I think it’s important for others to do so as well, “is this what we want?” We didn’t want to just float by for four years, so we came up with a small business plan, a little cash and got to work. Part of our approach was to take all the money we earn and throw it back at making better products or advertising. To me it felt like even if I just break even I have a lot to show from the success and the skills it took to get that success with Skylab, when I finish school and look for a job in the graphic design field. In this short time I have learned a tremendous about business, art, music, and networking and done some work for some great clients that I may not of otherwise had the chance to.
IC: Where do you come up with designs for your shirts?
CM: Mostly sketches drawn in classes I should be paying more attention in. Right? I sit down at the computer and finish it up and post it to see what folks think. It’s entirely different from the approach I normally take from doing merch for clients. That involves a lot of sketches too, but after that the process splits.
IC: How often do you get new designs?
CM: New designs are posted pretty frequently on myspace but we only print new ones when older ones go out of stock right now. All of the current designs and future designs are $10.
IC: Have you thought about branching out into other clothes and accessories?
CM: I would love to do some silk screen posters for one. It would be great to do some zip up jackets, but right now shirts for ten bucks are our style.
IC: What is your ultimate goal with Skylab Clothing?
CM: Ultimately I want to be proud of it. I think the others who help me will agree. We have met some great people and learned so much. We would love to get new designs out and tour. We just want to keep getting better at what we do.
IC: Are you looking to sponsor bands?
CM: We always have our ears open. If anyone out there wants to send us a press pack that would be great, but otherwise please no emails with links to purevolume or myspace. Currently we have four bands on our roster, Westcott, Gas Can Pick Up (British Records), Capitol Risk, and The Junior Varsity(Victory Records).
IC: Explain to us your unique advertising plans for bands.
CM: We were exploring other ways we could advertise and actually came up with away someone else could advertise with us. Bands we sponsor or bands that want to advertise with us give us gear like stickers, demos, or pins to stick in our orders going out to customers. We’re sure our customers love free stuff and our bands get out to someone who may of never heard them.
IC: How many bands have done that advertising plan?
CM: Only a couple since we have only been around a couple of months. One of the bands, we actually sponsor now since we were both good for each other and we love their music. If anyone is interested check the site for details.
IC: What are you listening to right now?
CM: Outside it’s summer so I’m rocking the new Weezer, Acceptance, Underoath and The Number Twelve Looks Like You is always on for when I need to get hyped. To wrap it up I have MeWithoutYou still echoing in my head from seeing them live and Kings of Convenience playing all the time.
IC: What’s some of your favorite albums of all-time?
CM: My number one is The Blue Album from the good folks at Weezer. After that some of my favorites are Too Bad You’re Beautiful by From Autumn to Ashes and Deja Entendu from Brand New.
Anything else you’d like to add?
First off, even though this has been such a short time so far, I’d like to thank the awesome people we have worked with already and look forward to meet more people like them. As for the future we are looking to print new designs (and keep them affordable), distribution, and maybe go on tour. I would love to spend my summer traveling and met the great kids that are out there. Heck, even if we only sell enough shirts to get us gas money for the next day it would be one great experience. I would just like to mention we also do design merch for bands so if we are what you are looking for get in contact with us.
-Interview conducted through e-mail in the month of June by Stephen Carradini.