with Leon Shore + Tom Joyner of MCMLX
If you're not good with your roman numerals, then you won't realise MCMLX is actually 1960 in what we call normal numerals. Naturally, we here at Daily Labels think in roman numerals all day long, so it was straightforward with us [straightforward being more like the growing success of this tshirt label].
Despite conducting an e-Interview with Leon and Tom due to logistical limitations, it really is clear just how easygoing and sensible their approach to collaborative design and running a business is - the way it should be.
TOM AND LEON | MCMLX
Daily Labels Tell us about the stars behind MCMLX?
Tom Leon and I met in high school back in Canberra awhile ago. We didn't start making and designing tees until 2010 when we were saving to go overseas. We both now live in New South Wales. I work three-day jobs and Leon is finishing off his graphic design degree.
Daily Labels What led you both to fashion?
Leon Our interest in fashion sparked during our first label, Owl vs Pig. Back then, we screen printed blanks in a cold garage. From there, we were always looking at clothes and wondering what we would do differently. I guess we got deeper into the fashion game without even realising – through a general interest in design and clothes.
Daily Labels Any view to expand from tees?
Tom We’re pretty keen to expand into button-up shirts and denim in the future but right now, we don't quite have the funding to pull it off.
Daily Labels How do you keep your work fun?
Leon We never take anything too seriously and it's the same with our label. We're always on the hunt for new stockists or a bit of exposure and is the exciting part of running a label. We're also work and study so it’s great as a fun side project.
Daily Labels The MCMLX design process?
Tom We start off creating a mood board – collecting pictures and photos of interesting shapes and patterns. We then make a billion sketches of what we like until we have something solid. The next part involves transferring the finalised sketch into Illustrator and fiddling around with it on there. Once we're both happy, it gets sent off to the printer and comes back as a tee. Leon and I really have equal share of responsibility in the design process but he's a bit better with the computer.
Daily Labels Inspirations?
Leon Well we source inspiration from everywhere but if I had to choose, I would say Vanishing Elephant for their clean simplicity, I Love Ugly from New Zealand are always keeping it fresh and I'm inclined to flick through Monster Children for some new ideas.
Daily Labels Any drawbacks to working with a mate?
Tom Sometimes, work on the label has to come before any type of hanging out. But on the whole, it's a pleasure!
Daily Labels Most exciting aspect to running your own label?
Leon Definitely the challenges and the accomplishments you make along the way. The constant moving-forward through exposure and stockists as well as designing and seeing the final product for the first time.
Daily Labels Most challenging?
Tom Keeping books on revenue and expenses and effectively managing that to make a profit like any business. Most of all, it's difficult establishing our name once we have our product, and finding retail outlets to peddle our gear.
Daily Labels Your PR approach?
Leon We really thought through our identity and the overall feel of our label at the very beginning. We make sure we stick to it through everything we do. We market ourselves through various social media and stockists, trying to make sure all marketing complies with our original vision for the label.
Daily Labels Where do you let off steam?
Tom I love travelling, but it's expensive. Recently, Leon and I took a month to travel around southern Africa and work on a documentary project we've been wanting to make for ages. Otherwise, on a nice day it's nice to unwind friends and beers in Sydney Park St Peters or down by the water in Ultimo or the harbour.
Daily Labels Favourite food joint?
Leon Mine would have to be Lee and Me, a little café/boutique in the heart of Wollongong.
Daily Labels Your last laugh?
Tom A decent frape committed against me.
Daily Labels Advice for anyone wanting to launch a label?
Leon Details, details, details. It's the little things that will trip you up later on, so make sure you take the time to get everything perfect. Have fun, do it for the love and keep it fresh.
Daily Labels If you could collaborate with any designer in the world, who would it be?
Tom Shepard Fairey. [Daily Labels: Hit up Interview Magazine for more on this renowned graphic designer].
Daily Labels An item no one should EVER be seen wearing?
Leon Anything by Ed Hardy.
Tom Agreed. Absolute filth.
Daily Labels 2012 and beyond?
Tom We're working on expanding as soon as we can into button-up shirts. Perhaps even moving our manufacturing offshore. Having already gotten one North American stockist behind us, we're looking for more in tandem with the release of our next line.