Welcome to the Thfkdlf…
The team behind up and coming UK Streetwear brand THFKDLF talk to XWHY about their worldwide appeal, how they would make the world a better place and their fucked life before fashion.
We recently stole some time with one of the fastest growing and influential brands in the UK right now. THFKDLF started life in 2013, in the unlikely location of Oswestry, Shropshire. The THFKDLF team have recently branched out into leg-wear, creating several styles of shorts and sweatpants and for the first time the entirety of their S/S 14 collection will have been made right here in jolly old England. Making it a truly British fashion marvel.
With it’s popularity spurred on by their stylish designs and a huge following on social media, they have risen to prominence in an era where independent labels are once again at the forefront of every fashionistas mind as they look to stand out from the crowd. The team have orders flying in from across the world so it can’t be too long before the Thfkdlf crew are an international phenomenon and part of the streetwear elite!
So lets start with the name… is your life really that fucked?
Not anymore but when this brand began we didn’t have a whole lot going on outside of it work wise. The name came from the way we were making clothes to begin, everything was cut up, bleached we were just fucking clothes up to make them look cool.
Have you had to deal with any interesting complaints or fallout from the brand name?
None. Maybe if someone had tried to use this name 30 years ago but the way things are now, the music kids are listening, its just like any other word now I struggle to see how people could still be offended.
It’s pretty rare for a non-London brand to make such a impact on the fashion scene in such a short time. What are the advantages to not being based in London?
The biggest advantage for us is the space we’re able to rent. We’ve got 3 separate studios all linked together and they’re all pretty big. If we wanted that sort of space in London we’d be looking at thousands of pounds a month, maybe even a week!
I first came across the label while killing some time on tumblr and it seems your following on there has just gone from strength to strength. How important do you think social media has been to your growth?
It’s been massive, when we first started we’d take photos and put them on tumblr and a few photos just started to get reblogged thousands of times and the amount of people that switched on to the brand is massive, and because it’s free you’re not bothered if something doesn’t go down so well. There is no way we’d be at the stage we are now without social media.
In terms of your reach outside of the UK have you been surprised by your success /orders received from any countries?
We sell so much to Australia and New Zealand, for two countries so far away it really surprises us. We don’t know how so many people down there found out about us but the support we get from those places is huge.
What would you say sets thfkdlf apart from its peers?
We make a lot of the items we sell ourselves. We take rolls of material and turn them into t-shirts without them ever leaving our studio. I don’t see many brands doing that especially having only been around 18 months. It’s something we’re really proud of and we feel it definitely sets us apart.
When you look at the other brands out there (old and new), who do you feel are capturing the current fashion zeitgeist the best?
There’s so many brands out there and doing such a huge variation, theres a lot of brands starting to bridge the gap between street wear and high end fashion now which is really cool. But a brand we all love here is I Love Ugly they constantly release amazing collections and just seem to totally do there own thing which is probably the best way to stay current.
What were you doing prior to Thfkdlf?
We’d been in a band together for a few years, touring europe and working any jobs in between. The band was coming to an end and were so lucky for this to have turned into a full time job or who knows what we’d be doing now!
What are the hardest lessons you’ve had to learn about the industry?
There is so much that goes on with a brand that nobody sees, all the accounts we need to keep, different countries having different rules on VAT, all the invoices. It’s a lot of work and something we really didn’t know much about before this particularly in clothing.
Is there much solidarity amongst smaller indie labels?
Totally! We’ve only recently started to meet other brands when we’ve been doing trade shows but we’ve not met anyone who’s not been really cool. There’s no point seeing other brands like they are a rival, people don’t just wear one brand. It’s great to see so many indie brands doing well.
What would you have to achieved before you look at yourself in the mirror and say “I’ve made it!”?
I’m not sure there would ever be that moment where we’d look in the mirror and think that, maybe if we were both living in mansions with range rovers outside you’d have to maybe admit it then!
When you’re working in the studio. What music do you normally have on in the background?
It varies massively throughout the day, we’ll go from bombay bicycle club to adventure club and pretty much everything in-between it, whoever is closest to spotify will just change things up.
Is there anyone you would really love to see wearing Thfkdlf?
Rihanna, actually maybe if that happened, thats when we’d look in the mirror and say we’ve made it.
Not in a sexual way, but what are you wearing today?
Currently in a tartan tee, long-sleeved under tee and I love ugly zespy pants, with Nike free runs on my feet.
And your fragrance?
What is your main distraction outside of fashion?
Football. Watching it, playing it (FIFA), reading about it.
What characteristics have helped you get where you are today?
We work hard, and we find ways to make things work. We had no qualifications or experience to do what we’re doing but if you want to do something you find ways to make it work. Jakob taught himself to sew, purely by buying a cheap sewing machine and doing it. Not night classes not reading books just getting something and working at it.
Any advice for budding designers?
If you’re in the position to be able to do it, rather then mock a t shirt up on photoshop just make the thing. Make friends with a printing company!
If you could rid the world of one thing, what would that be and why?
Debt! Helping everyone out there.
What will you name you first born?
Who should we follow on twitter?
@gnev2 @emmasummeruk @jordangreen @thfkdlf no reasons for them just follow them!
Nandos or wagamamas?
Pastels or neons ?
If you could have any accent in the world what would you chose?
Beards or tattoos?
Pugs or drugs?
Drugs (less maintenance)
Favourite power ranger?
You can browse the latest THFKDLF collection at www.thfkdlf.com