Hailing from London, new brand on the block Playdude is all heavy graphics and nostalgic, weirdo imagery. Inspired by bootlegging, the brand’s motto “a serious business” is the antithesis of their wild prints. We caught up with them to learn more about the inspiration behind their brand…
How did Playdude come about? Where did you guys meet, I feel like there's an interesting backstory....
My aim from the outset was to create a platform where I could visually explore themes and graphic styles that I find interesting, mess around with ideas and collaborate with artists that I’m a fan of. I set out with a pretty simple goal to make something that is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Your aesthetic seems to be a mix of skater / 60s psychedelia and americana inspired graphics- where does your inspiration come from?
The sixties and seventies are my favourite eras to look back on for graphic inspiration. So much new and experimental art came out of that time period and there’s a treasure trove of incredible design to dig through and uncover.
Playdude definitely has a whole jumble of influences, all linked by a similar aesthetic style and light-hearted sense of humour. I’m a keen collector of old toys, posters, souvenirs and other junk which is a big inspiration for me from a graphic perspective - although I’ve had to slow down recently over the years as I run out of space to put everything…
What is your favourite graphic from this release?
The World Peace tee is one of my favourites and was drawn up by Tasmania-based tattoo artist Dan Coy. It was inspired by the end sequence of one of my all-time favourite movies ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’. I love the image of all the cartoon characters from different animation studios hanging out together.
You quote that Playdude is 'born out of bootleg.' That's something that's exploded within the streetwear community recently, where did your interest come from?
This project originated from me creating bootlegs of one of my favourite TV shows almost five years ago out of the frustration of a lack of interesting modern merchandise (I won’t name names, but any nerds will know that Playdude is a homage to the brand’s origins). It gained a decent following, but I inevitably encountered numerous cease & desists after a couple of years, at which point I decided I should probably focus my energies into creating something original that wasn’t going to end in a lawsuit.
I figured I had a lot of people following me who appreciated the overall aesthetic and tongue-in-cheek nature of my work, and if I could channel that into an original label I could hopefully create something that was more sustainable. IP holders will come down hard on bootleggers nowadays and it’s a dangerous thing to totally build your brand on. There’s definitely still references in some pieces - it’s all about finding a balance and putting an interesting spin on these things.
What's next for Playdude?
More fun graphic-led tees! I’m currently working on a couple of sofubi (Japanese soft vinyl) toys with some of my favourite artists that I’m really excited about. There’s also a sculpted incense holder in the works. I’m really keen to mix up apparel with special projects like these and create cool things that I want to own.