Will: “Originally I wanted to print tees so I could push something of my own rather than just doing graphic design work for other people. I also found it really enjoyable so it made sense to pursue, as it had the potential of becoming something that I could make a living from. I first met Tom in 2010 when he was looking for people to share a small space with in Peckham, which is where I printed the first batch of Southbound tees. They got about quite a bit and Chrome & Black encouraged me to do the full range and offered to sell them at the shop. At this point I didn’t have a name and was reluctant to put them in the shop without one as I felt that I wouldn’t get any credit. I was having a drink with a mate and telling him about my troubles in deciding on a name that wasn’t already used or sounded shit. He was sat there saying you need to get it done!.. before telling me that’s what I should call it. So the name stuck from there.”
Tom: “I moved to London in September 2008 with the intention to start a clothing brand. With big bright ideas I taught myself the basics of screen printing in the front room of the house I was living in in Camberwell. Washing screens in the shower kind of vibes. Then I went to college at LCC to learn more about the process. I was working whilst studying so I used my student loan to buy more equipment and rented my first space in Limehouse. It was short lived but super fun.
At the end of 2010 I moved to Peckham. I was thinking of setting up my equipment again but cash was a bit tight. Then a friend introduced me to Will and a couple of other guys who were interested in sharing a space for printing garms. We occupied a unit in the Arcadia Missa studios in Peckham for about 9 months. Then moved to Hackney Wick where we set up a space with my friend Greg Abbott and Alex Eveson. We ended setting up two different studios over the course of a year and a half. It was in late 2012 that we got given notice on the space we had there. I was a bit taken back by it all and made the decision to leave the area and set up a studio on my own. I found the Lewisham space through a mate Adam “Hylu” Ainley. At the same time as all this was going on Will had spoken to me about his ideas for Done. I was really impressed with the level of clarity and vision he had for the brand. So I offered my help, which he accepted and the partnership started to grow from there. ”
Will: “Shortly after we moved into our current studio Tom’s mate Robert Brooksy bought the Animal guys down to show them what we where up to as they where in London at the time. We showed them some sticker printing we were doing and spoke about the Underground tees we where about to drop.”
Tom: “The two journalists were documenting their travels to post a series of videos of their discoveries and meetings. They were here to do London and we were Done London, pun intended, and Robert thought it would be great for them to come chat to us and see the new studio. The whole experience was pretty wavey. I had a phone call on the Friday to see if we were up for doing the video the next day. It so happened we were planning to print a load of stickers that day so we agreed. The day of the interview I had been up all night and only had 1 hour’s sleep, while Will had bunned a fair few zoots before heading in. It was an experience neither of us had had before and afterwards we were both a bit bewildered by it all not really knowing what to make of it. The video dropped like a week later. We were both pretty amazed at how quickly they had produced it and also the quality of the editing.”
Will: ” Unfortunately, they dropped the video without showing either of us it before hand which was the beughkey part. I actually asked them to take it down but it had already been seen and shared about so it seemed pointless to do so. It was a nice video and got some good coverage online but I think it definitely helped hot us up to TFL.”
Tom: “Ah Yes the TFL incident. It was a Monday morning in Croatia, after a weekend of debauchery at Echo Festival, that Will checked his email to find a letter from TFL’s intellectual property rights department. The Letter stated we had to remove all items from our site that were related to London Underground in any way. We pranged out a bit not knowing what to do at first.”
Will: “We took them off the website and gave them a solid response of our own stating how as Londoner’s we felt part ownership over the artwork in public area’s like the Tube, and that there is no actual copyright signs anywhere on the underground artwork or seats. They then fucked up by claiming we hadn’t responded when we had and then dropped the case.”
Tom: “The whole situation took the wind out of our sails at the time. But in hindsight it was a necessary evil that steered us into a better direction.”
Will: “We had a print show last summer in G-Shock East. It was the first time we had done anything like this and it seemed like a nice way to show people that we produce more than just tees; so we thought that we may as well jump on the opportunity for a free booze up in East. They hooked us up with watches too, which was a nice touch as a couple went to our DJs whilst the rest found their way onto ebay.”
Will: “Making money is obviously crucial to sustaining the studio but I think it’s important for us to support our own and build a community out of that. I take far more enjoyment when printing for people that I respect and have plenty of mates trying to push their own thing whether it be art, music, fashion, skating etc. These people can come to us and get small runs of shirts with a personal service, rather than ordering in the thousands from larger print shops where they won’t even see a sample.
The studio represents the brand entirely so it is important that the people we work with also represent that.”
Tom: “A simple way to understand this approach we have taken is: we want to do things that we enjoy, that bring us a sense of fulfillment and challenge. Working with people in the same boat as us brings together a sense of community within the realms of business. I strongly feel ones personal happiness out weighs excessive financial profit.”
Will: “We moved into our current space just over 2 years ago and the building has developed massively since then, with more people moving in and adding to the creative culture brewing here. It’s nice to be in an area that’s not already associated with this type of thing, as it makes what we have here seem far more genuine. ”
Tom: “I love the low key element Lewisham has. There is no bullshit here. We are in a pretty bizarre building. It’s slap bang in the middle of suburbia. There are just rows of houses and a few shops, where the local big issue sellers and drunks hang out.
I’ve been in a few East End warehouse spaces over the past few years and although you are surrounded by a lot of creative energy you are also suffocated by greedy land lords, distracted by raves and you can easily loose a sense of why it is you decided to set up a creative space in the first place. For me, it was and is to progress and see through my ideas, challenge myself, meet new people and work with them to see through their ideas too.”
Will: “Since making the decision to go full time in the studio at the start of this year, it has given us much more freedom in terms of how we go about releasing our products. In the past we would try to do a batch of designs, so that we could then free up time to print for other people when we had the time off our day jobs. Now that we have the time to do it on a monthly basis, it helps keep the designs fresh and we can put more into each release. We plan to continue this way and include more artist collaborators, the first of which will be with ‘Type’ this summer.”
Tom: “I’d like to focus on developing the studio more. I’ve been having visions of designing and building a system that filters and recycles the water we use in the studio. A lot goes to waste and it makes sense to reduce this as much as possible. Apart from that, more collaborations, another skate or BMX edit and I’d like to do more printed work on paper. Actually a reoccurring conversation Will and I keep having is to set up a screen print exhibition. But not just of our own work. The idea is to hand pick certain people and set a loose brief to create a piece of work that we’d print, frame and display. At the same time making sure to have a little knees up boogie extravaganza.”
Vol. 3 – BNTL Presents: Warren Feather
Vol. 2 – BNTL Presents: Panik (ATG)
Vol. 1 – BNTL Presents: Shy One (DVA)
Photo’s by Tom Spellman