Alex Barker, 24, from Chorley and currently working for the Farmers’ Guardian newspaper in Preston, studied media production and technology at UCLAN. His interest in graphic design became the basis of his own clothing line HeyBertClothing, as worn by up-and-coming band Bad Cardigans...
How and why you decided to create your own brand?
I think the main reason I wanted to start a clothing brand was that I worked with a lot of local, upcoming musicians and bands.
I started to see clothing labels coming through and endorsing these bands.
The fact that I worked with bands, had fun working with graphic design and already had a brand I could incorporate (my past ventures ie gigs, studio etc had all started with Hey Bert promotions etc.), I thought it would be a no brainer to start up a clothing line.
I promoted live music in Preston and Chorley for around four years and I am also a very keen photographer.
I also had plenty of friends in the BMX and skating worlds which I could look to work with as well.
What processes were involved in doing so?
With having a name and some brand identity already out there, the first thing was to finish the logo and start on the first set of designs I wanted to stick on clothing for people to wear.
I needed to decide on what items I wanted to release and find the right suppliers and printers that would produce the desired finish. Social media and an online presence is a massive part, I spent quite a while getting the website and social accounts ready.
I released the first few items alongside the website and social accounts so that when it was seen for the first time by people, everything would be there for them to look at and purchase.
I wasn’t a fan of trying to build a social following with nothing to show.
Throughout the last year, I have released around 16 items over two releases and had so much support from people I know, the brand wouldn’t be at the stage it is at now if it wasn’t for these people.
I am grateful for every customer, every Facebook share, every re tweet, every piece of feedback, everyone who tells their friends at a gig or skate park and anyone who takes an interest in what I do.
I regularly run discount codes and competitions to try and give something back to the customers and followers.
I’m not a massive clothing brand so I think keeping it at a personal level with customers really helps and makes them feel it’s easier to talk to me.
Did you receive any help?
Design wise I have created all designs myself but I have sent these out for feedback from certain people.
I have taken advice and recommendations from other people in the industry on places they have used for printing, embroidery, labels, etc.
Other then this I haven’t received help as such, more support from people.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
I wouldn’t say fashion as a whole, no. I have always been interested in T-shirt designs and graphics, I think this was the main reason I wanted to try and get a brand together.
Where you hope to be in the future?
At the moment, I am not quite sure.
My immediate focus is to improve the quality and look of the clothes I put out there.
I have recently been stocked in a big north west skate park in Preston and hope that this can continue and expand.
Other than that, I just go with it and do what feels right.