OK so maybe a 37 year old dude shouldn’t be wearing tee’s with a huge Giraffe motif blazoned across the front. “You wear whatever you want my dear,” said the misses when I handed over twenty sheets for my new Mia Hawk Giraffe Tee down Brick Lane market last weekend. Code for “You fucking wear that when out with me then it’s game over sunshine. By the way just yesterday we were talking about getting you kitted out down Turnbull and Asser, now you pull this shit? So which is it, you still think you’re in your twenties, young dumb and full of cum? You’re 37 asshole. It’s over. It’s fucking over!”
Anyway, I was happy to take the bullet on this one because I love my Mia Hawk tee collection and you’ve got to keep your woman on their toes right guys? Who’s with me? Anyone? Ah forget you guys. Here’s my interview with Mia Hawk. By the way I’m going to start a series of these, top ten things in Brick Lane, in no discernible order.
Out of all your designs, which one is your favourite?
Good question! Probably the latest one I did, the Bear shirt, I really enjoy the colours, shape of the design and I just love dark grey t shirts. However I think the artwork on the wizard cat t shirt is the design I’m the most happy with. It took ages, it was done with a technical pen, dotting lots and lots of tiny dots, to create the shading, but I think the final image had a lot of style about it.
Whats the most enjoyable part of the process? Drawing? Selling?
All the elements have enjoyable bits to them, I enjoy painting and making art work the most, just because it is the most free and creative process. I’m really happy to talk about my work to the people I meet at the market, so I try and do that rather than trying to push product on people. I also think it’s a great experience to be on the ground and see how people react to both my art work and t shirts. It tends to be a good indicator of where I should be going with my next design.
How difficult are the clientele in the market? Do they try and haggle you down at all?
I think most people at Brick Lane market get what kind of market it is, and see from the other stalls that there is certain standard and quality to most of the products. Some people try to haggle, but not many. I tend to not give discounts, unless the customer is buying several of the more expensive prints. As with selling at all markets, you have really good days, and a rare bad day in between.
Have you tried getting your brand into distributors or are you happy to be independent?
Ideally I’d like to only be independent, just because I like as much freedom as possible, but it is a difficult tast to pull off on your own with out a lot of cash to back it up, so I would like to get more distributors. I think it can be a little difficult for brands like mine to find distributors, because I source my garments (only high quality garments, ethical and organic cotton) in the UK and use a printing studio in London my production costs are a lot higher than your typical mass produced garments, so it’s sometimes difficult to present wholesale prices that is attractive to buyers.
Some of Mia’s artwork can also be bought through her site.
How important is it for you to use quality fabric for the garments? It must be tough to tread the line of quality, but to also keep the prices down.
Part of the reason for wanting to be an artist is also to be able to contribute something positive to the world around me. I also just think that it’s worth investing in quality; a cheaply produced t shirt tend to wear out 2 to 3 times faster than one with superior quality, so in my mind you essentially end up paying the same in the long run, as you’ll have to replace the cheaper ones more often. A well made t shirt just tend to look better as well, as there’s more thought put into it.
I try and use as much organic cotton garments as possible. Organic cotton tends to have a softer feel than non organic items, as well as being a lot better for the environment during production (among the benefits are no use of pesticides and a lot less water waste). I also look for production companies that value sustainability and a certain ethical standard for the workers that produce the garments. It does make production a lot more expensive, but it makes me love the product I sell a lot more!
What is your favourite social media platform?
I tend to use facebook and instagram quite a lot. I think instagram is great for artists because it’s so visual, I also go looking for inspiration there and I’ve found a lot of really cool artists there. But in terms of which one that produces the most noticeable result I have have to say my favorite is facebook. If I hadn’t had facebook, I’m not sure where i’d have been today. It’s just a great way to directly show your work to your immediate connections, and in the first years many of my customers was people that had seen my work on facebook.