long story short
Recognising that garment manufacturing is one of the most environmentally damaging industrial sectors on the planet, 8Y8 combats the stereotype with pioneering fabrics and production techniques. Proving that with care and attention to detail, it is possible to create premium quality apparel in a sustainable way.
8Y8 is based in West Wales (UK) and was established in 2010, but has been a lifetime in the making. It’s difficult to define exactly what 8Y8 is. It’s not a brand in the typical sense. It’s independent. It’s uncommercial. Culminating in, but not exclusive to, many aspects of my ideas, ideals, views and surroundings. It’s anything but ordinary and rebellious by nature.
Influences, whether consciously or subconsciously, come from anything and everything around me. With close ties to surfing, art, design, music, skating, graffiti and automotive culture. Driven to create unique items of the highest quality without focusing on quantity, fads or trends. Always with a strong tendency towards the human element in creativity and all things handmade or customised.
The reason for 8Y8 is to satisfy my insatiable curiosity and creative drive that I don’t seem to be able to turn off. I do this for the for the challenge of exploring the intersection of function, style and sustainability.
Anything that bares the 8Y8 mark I have designed and created. From the T-shirts and prints, to the website design and coding, including everything else in between. I take great pride in defining 8Y8 through dreaming, designing, and fabricating timeless creations. I’m never afraid to do things differently.
8Y8 is a compulsion.
Although not realising it at the time, unenthusiastically drifting through the educational system with a distinct lack of freedom for creativity and expression naturally pushed me to seek creative expression on my own terms. While also gravitating towards skating, graffiti, music, and hot rod culture, due to the freedom and anti-elitist lifestyle they offered. Graffiti being my first real introduction to highly stylised typography and graphics. Then, leaving school and choosing to study graphic design was undoubtedly the spark that lead me on the path to formulating 8Y8.
With an inability to accept that anything productive that you enjoy doing can be a bad thing, this has all evolved over time into what has become 8Y8. It’ll continue evolving too, as I push and pull in different directions. Above all else, 8Y8 is about quality, attention to detail, and the human, handcrafted element in design.
It’s a mindset. 8Y8 stands for uncompromising quality, ethics and aesthetics; generally just treating people and our planet with the respect they deserve along the way. It’s about doing things right even when no one’s watching.
This is where my design sensibilities crash headlong into my addiction to surfing, extreme sports, and lifetime fascination with all things mechanical. It also keeps me inspired to the the point of obsession. Playing on my perfectionist tendencies and attention to detail, it’s always about doing everything properly, no matter how small or difficult. It’s all or nothing, ninety-nine percent is never enough.
From my perspective, design in general doesn’t have to be subcategorised. Wether it’s product design, graphic design, or customising car parts, it’s always the same functional and aesthetic sensibilities that define the outcome. In the same vein, 8Y8 is not limited to any one product or style, which is why it defies meaningful definition.
8Y8 is pure, unadulterated, handcrafted hedonism.
STYLE IS ETERNAL
Essentially, it’s purely hedonistic. Working without any controlling forces, or the pressure to generate profit allows a huge amount of freedom. It’s this freedom that enables me to approach things from a different angle.
From curiosity, a daydream and less than about forty quid, 8Y8 was born.
Studying all forms of graphic design left me with a desire to experiment with screen printing; a hands-on process to create high quality, custom prints. I created my own rudimentary screen printer from recycled pieces of wood and some basic supplies bought online. After successfully producing some test prints on paper, this inevitably lead to printing a couple of T-shirts for myself. It didn’t take much of a leap of the imagination to consider printing more T-shirts for friends, family and anyone else who wanted one.
The fashion industry, amongst others, is draining energy and resources like never before. 8Y8 is my way to try and make a difference. Instead of sitting back and complaining about the ruthlessness with which our planet is treated, I decided to do something about it.
The eco-friendly nature of 8Y8 stems from the belief that no product should harm you, the manufacturers, or the environment. And it doesn’t have to.
This is where 8Y8’s small size and flexibility becomes incredibly powerful. I’m not trying to force-feed people new styles every season in order to generate profit. If it takes a few months to refine and develop a project to ensure it’s done right, then so be it. The aim is to create the best items I can, with the reassurance that they are ethically produced and environmentally friendly. I don’t care about seasonal trends, and care even less about what the mainstream is trying to force-feed us on any given day. All I care about is creating timeless, quality pieces that are well made and built to last.
Each and every one of us really can and do make a difference.
Every time you give a company your money you place your trust in them. Trust that they are going to provide you with something that meets, or in rarer cases, exceeds your expectations. Every eco-friendly product bought instead of a regular one is a positive step towards reducing pollution and greenhouse gasses generated by unscrupulous, cost-driven companies. Choosing social and environmentally ethical products also puts pressure on all other companies to uphold those ethical values, as they try to meet the demands of customers. We have the power to make them change.
Large companies are invariably concerned with high quantity, mass-production, with a quick turnaround in order to create seasonal trends, maintain business growth and profits every quarter. Profit is not the focus of 8Y8. Although operating at a loss is obviously unsustainable in the long run, as long as the running costs are covered then I can keep pushing for a clean, sustainable future. 8Y8 is the alternative.
I like this planet, it’s a good planet, and the only one we’ve got. So, when we have the option to support everyone from the organic farmers to the climate-conscious manufacturers and the environment at the same time, while still producing superior quality items. I can’t see why anyone would choose to do it any other way.
It’s not easy, but if life was easy we’d all get bored.