Watch out everyone. Regan Smith Clarke is poised to take over the world.
The Boston-based t-shirt aficionado has been threatening us with the launch of his self-titled clothing line for almost two years. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely.
His vintage art influenced designs have been a huge hit with urbanistas and layman alike. But what else would you expect from a dude who has already been dubbed the next Johnny Cupcakes?
Clarke stopped busting his ass for five minutes to talk about RSC, the latest tunes on his playlist, and what he has planned for the future.
Give me a quick run-down of all things Regan S. Clarke. What sets your line apart from the others?
RSC is a vintage art inspired clothing brand that I’ve been working on for the past year or so. After many late nights and lots of hard work, I released my first line on March 1st. The line includes 4 different t-shirt designs, several posters and a button pack. You can see them all in my online shop here: http://shop.regansmithclarke.com
What sets my line apart is the attention to detail and the message behind each design. There is definitely a level of emotional attachment that comes with owning a clothing line, but I don’t think this is often conveyed well enough to customers. People can’t read your mind, which is why it’s important to be clear about your intentions and what your brand stands for. If they can relate to it on a more personal level, you will be likely to make a connection with them.
To be honest ‘though I’m not actually trying to re-invent the wheel like so many other people seem to think they’re doing. I’m just doing what I love and gathering inspiration from what moves me. I look at it like having a band. Everybody is in one these days, and they always think they’re the most rad, unique thing to hit the scene. Chances are you’re only foolin’ yourself; it’s all been done before. Just do what you want and focus on the finer details rather than pretending you’re the second-coming of Johnny Cupcakes!
RSC has been in the works for awhile. Your name and plans for a clothing line have been floating around the web, the local music scene and the Emptees.com community for quite sometime. Why the wait?
Yeah I actually started with the name “Real Supreme,” and in retrospect it wasn’t a great idea. I foolishly thought it would be ok because it’s just two fairly common words put together, but what I found was that the potential legal issues and brand confusion with other established companies was too much. I had to go back to the drawing board. After a lengthy search, I decided I couldn’t find anything more personal and meaningful than my own name.
Beyond coming up with the right brand name, there’s a fairly large amount of research and prep work that needs to be done to get something like this off the ground. I would even say one of my biggest mistakes was taking on too much myself. I was fortunate enough to work with Danny Jones aka YASLY on the t-shirt designs, but aside from that I did pretty much everything else myself.
Your line is completely inspired by Vintage Art. Why the obsession?
I guess I kind of look at it the same way someone who likes classic movies would. There is a romantic quality to the art, which has a theme or message that still resonates today. Although things have changed tremendously in the world, ultimately the messages being conveyed are the same. I find that fascinating. Besides, anytime you work on a creative project like this, it’s good to focus on what inspires you the most. If you’re going to spend all your free time and money working on something, it better be fun and interesting to you.
How has Boston, MA influenced your art?
Boston is and will always be my true home. I grew up in the shadow of the city, and that deep connection I feel with it will last forever. I believe your environment has a strong influence on who you are as a person. Many of my best experiences involve the city of Boston, so I’d say it will definitely play a big role in the development of my brand.
Are you still playing music these days? What’s going on with EyesAreBlind productions? What do you do with your time besides pumping out awesome t-shirt designs?
For those who don’t know, EyesAreBlind Productions is a booking/show promotion company one of my best friends and I started when we were freshmen in college. I don’t know if I would ever close the door on EAB because I’ve learned so much about the music scene and how to run a business from it, but it’s hard to keep up when time and resources are in short supply these days. It would take the right package of bands for me to start booking shows again.
As for playing? I still get the itch every once in a while, but I don’t really play music anymore. I’ve just got too many things going on to really make something of it. By day I do graphic design and print production for a printing company (www.pixxlz.com). By night I do some freelance work and run RSC.
What tunes have you been jamming lately?
My iPod shit the bed a little while ago, so I’ve been pretty limited in my music selection. But I’d say Circa Survive, Inner Party System, Scary Kids Scaring Kids and Set Your Goals have gotten the most love lately.
Any local artists or musicians you want to collaborate with in the future? What’s next for RSC?
It seems like a pretty standard move these days is to sponsor bands, but I’m really not interested in doing that right now. If I were to do it at all, I could only see myself doing it discreetly with a couple of my friends’ bands. But like I said, it’s really not something I have in mind at the moment.
I am more interested in teaming up with some other types of artists and clothing lines to create something. I’m actually working on a collaboration with my homegirl and fellow Bostonian Lori from Cavata Clothing. There’s a good fit between our brands, so it should work out great. That’s scheduled to release this June.
Beyond that, I still have a lot of ideas for my own stuff. I’m planning another release at the end of June for my summer line. I will also be a vendor at The Renegade Craft Fairs in Brooklyn this June and San Francisco in July. Hopefully I’ll be able to check out some local shows too such as SOWA (South End Open Market), though I haven’t signed up for that one just yet. It’s going to be a great summer. I want to take RSC to the next level and make some new friends in the process. Lots of cool things will be happening, so don’t sleep on it.