In the sudden rise of big, bold and often fluorescent T-shirt designs these past few years it’s obviously hard to make a name for yourself, either if you’re a designer, or a newly established tee company. Well, Jordan Abidour – the man behind Arkaik Clothing – managed to go far with his line in practically no time. Based on ancient and scary imagery his big, bold and flourescent tee designs paved their path in the manner of archaic predators to mostly younger fans of emo / metal / hardcore music. No wonder Arkaik stands were to be found in the latest edition of a travelling circus known as the Warped Tour, where it went more then well. And why limit yourself only to shirts? Arkaik now offers such items as sunglasses, too, collaborating with 12 artists altogether, packing the orders from Germany, Brazil, Singapore and New Zealand. The company also stays too to it’s roots, sponsoring 20 bands with their stuff, with Epitaph’s From First To Last being one of them. All this was a more than enough to talk to Mr. Abidour himself.
Ever since I was young I looked for entrepreneurial activities, as it was something to do that interested me. When I was 16, I was super into clothing lines like Shipshape, Rockett and others. At the same time, I really wanted to have tees of my own, designs that I created on super high quality material.
What’s your main inspiration with Arkaik Designs?
I’ve always been really interested in ancient cultures/creatures/ideas/monsters/anything, and I’ve used it as one of the main inspirations behind most of the Arkaik designs, just different cultures and designs inspired by them. At least- thats the goal :]
What’s the marketing strategy you’re using? Is it just viral marketing (social sites and all that), or something else perhaps?
For the past 6 months (since we embarked on Warped Tour) we’ve put alot of time and effort into building a generously sized social marketing following. I usually spend 4-5 hours daily working on Arkaik’s Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc…, spreading the word and hustling.
We are currently only sold in Fowlers Boutique, in Solana Beach, California, but we have plans in the upcoming months to start working with a few major international online retailers.
You produce not only tees, but a lot of accessories, too. How come?
Diversity. Limiting your company and yourself to only t-shirts, while it can be fun, and generate a nice amount of income, is too little for most customers. I feel that by having such a wide diversity of products and designs that people will be likely to find something on our site that they like, and want to purchase. In a recession, it’s really important :]
What’s the process of making a new Arkaik design? Do you design it yourself, or are there some other people involved, too?
I have a team of about 6 artists that I work with on every line, I know their styles really well, so I generally conceptualize a design and pitch it to them. Each design is usually sketched, then I discuss with the artist color schemes etc. to make the design unique
90% of Arkaik merchandise is printed on American Apparel tees, tanks and hoodies. On Warped Tour, we started using Anvil tees since they were lighter weight and more comfortable than American Apparel (in my opinion, and a majority of Arkaik customers) so we’ve slowly been working with our printer to get more colors stocked in the new Anvil blank (which, I assure you, is amazing), to keep the Arkaik theme going.
What is the usual profile of your customers / people who buy and wear Arkaik?
That’s hard to pin point, however, we did really well on Warped Tour.
Who (person or a label) is your biggest inspiration?
Rockett, Electric Zombie and (of course) Johnny Cupcakes.
Since it’s obviously a trend, do you expect big (fluorescent) prints will come out of fashion? If so, are you prepared / willing to adjust your company profile to new market needs?
I started in Fluorescent prints, and slowly I’ve been moving away from them. I feel like brightly colored prints are popular once in awhile, but most people, on a daily basis would rather have a badass looking shirt that doesn’t draw a TON of attention. Don’t get me wrong though, my favorite Arkaik shirts are the brightly colored Megaladon, Rawrkaik and Mummy, but I feel like a whole line shouldn’t consist of that.
What can we expect in future from Arkaik?
Cut and Sew Hoodies, Fitted Caps, Beanies, amongst other things, we’re planning quite a bit over at Arkaik 😉