Plane Clothing is a small independent fashion label set up by designer and photographer Gerry Buxton five years ago. We asked some questions…

Why planes?

I get asked this quite a lot and I have several different answers, I guess the first and simplest answer is that after I moved to London (after graduating in 2004) from Edinburgh one of the first differences I noticed was the sheer number of planes flying over London, next time your in London on a clear day take a minute to stop and watch the sky, you’ll see plane after plane flying in along the same flightpath every minute like clockwork. Having noticed this I started photographing the planes and doing illustrations of them, looking at them thinking about where they where going and who was on them. I think the plane makes a perfect logo for a brand from London, I think the plane is a very posotive and hopeful symbol, when you see a plane you think about travel and holidays. Also I love wordplay and puns, so Plane Clothing made me smile a well.

Why Shirts?

I think shirts are one of the most accesable ‘canvases’ for artists and designers to sell their work on, it is relatively inexpensive to set up and start printing your own, there is a well established market for t-shirts, everyone wear’s t-shirts and everyone wants to make a different statement with theirs.


Where are your origins?

I grew up in Scotland and although my parents are not particuarly ‘arty’ types there were always lots of pictures on our walls at home, from old Japanese woodcuts to more modern prints and paintings, I grew up appreciating art as something accessable and made to be enjoyed. I think the biggest influence would have been the art department at school, the artroom was a haven away from the rest of the school, a place where you were encouraged to express yourself and were’nt berated for turning up late smelling of fags.

You are walking around with a camera and suddenly a new theme comes up?

Ocasionally I will be walking around and inspiration will take me, but generally the shoot for an illustration is a longer process, first I will select the building or location for the shoot, then maybe go along to check it out and take some preliminary shots, before going back to get ‘the shot’ or ‘shots’ I need for the print.

How long does it take you from photographing a theme to selling the new shirt? For example the new Heathrow shirt, featuring your wife in front of a house.

For the ‘flightpath’ print the time from first photo’s to first sale was about 10 weeks, this is a bit longer than it normally takes, I would say on average from first photo to final t-shirt takes about 6 weeks. I always try to release between 6 and 10 new prints a year, which doesn’t sound a lot but in reality is a lot of work!

Which steps you have to do in that process?

The first step is to go out an take the photo’s, the last few prints have been made from several photographs of the same location stitched together on photoshop to get the compesition of the print, I then take this composite photo into illustrator and start to trace over the top to create a line drawing. Once the line drawing is complete I start to fill in the secondary colours. Once this is done, the illustration is complete, but I have to then get the artwork ‘print ready’ this means breaking it down into layers for the different colours and making sure all the overlaps of colour are going to work once its laid down on cotton, after this is done each layer is printed on acetate and the image is burnt onto a screen, ink is then pulled through the screens in order onto the t-shirts to create the final print.

Some words about your hardware setup?

The hardware set-up in the studio is quite lo-fi, the illustrations are done on my laptop, and the print sampling is all done on a small table mounted 4 colour carosel.

What kind of ink do you use? My Plane-Shirt bought three years ago looks still new to me!

In terms of ink where possible I use water based inks, mainly for their washablilty and soft feel on the surface of the shirt, where I have to print light colours on dark fabrics I have to use plastisol inks (plastic based) these are much less fun to work with (smell toxicity etc) but to get a vivid bright colour on a dark fabric there is not much choice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z63liGLobyg

Do you like Geometry? Lots of your themes have very clear lines and symmetry.

I have a great respect for simplicity and logic, I feel a lot of my prints are bringing out the simplicity or basic truths of the subject matter, and while I’m working alot with buildings and street scenes the simplist form of a lot of these are geometric patterns and shapes.

Ever thought expanding your business to other themes and items? You did some bicycle shootings. What’s to come in 2013?

I’m off to New York in just less than a week to photograph buildings and street scenes from the city, so the next series will be 5 prints from New York, normally I can only release one print at a time, but with these I am going to do a kickstarter campaign and see if I can get the money to release them all at once!

You make a living from creating and selling very rarely shirts. Tell us about being Mr Planeclothing as a full time job.

Running a t-shirt label full time and actually making a living from it is hard work, very hard work, especially now when high st retail in the UK is in such a mess, it is difficult to convince shops to take your stuff because they want established brands who they know will make them money. To survive as an independant t-shirt label you have to do a lot of selling direct to your customers, this is where I am lucking being in London, there a lots of opportunities to do street markets and art fairs and pop-up events. Currently I’m doing 2 or 3 days a week on the markets and 3 days in the studio, with a day off on mondays to recover from the weekend on the markets, running an independant tee label is hard work, but I would’nt want it any other way!

You did some years ago the famous table lamp. A lamp windfring itself from the front to the backside of the shirt. Maybe some words about the story of THAT lamp. You still have the original picture?

One sunday years ago, I was in the Sunday Upmarket just off brick land and trading next to me was a couple selling jewellry, they had the lamp on their table, the lamp was’nt working and they were going to bin it, I said I’d have it. I took it back to the studio, re-wired it and had it as the lamp on my desk where I print. One day I read an article about song writers and there was a quote which said any good song writer should be able to open a newspaper anywhere and be able to pen a song about the first story they found, I thought a good illustator should be able to do the same with the first thing he saw, I looked around saw my trusty lamp, photographed him and made the illustration.

Gerry, thank you so much!

Bruten Butterwek

 

Plane Clothing can be found on the Upmarket next to Brick Lane every Sunday and on Spitalfields on Fridays.

Also available:

http://www.planeclothing.co.uk/

Dotan’s shop
Corner of Greek street and Bateman street
Soho, London

Guns 4 fun
47 Pembridge Road,
London, W11 3HG

ONLINE

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