Parveen Devi interview with Crama
Crama is an emerging men’s, streetwear brand that oozes comfortability, style and artistic flair. Parveen Devi speaks to the brand designers to discuss all things Crama.
Today I am joined by Craig and Jay, the designers of the Crama, thank’s for coming to see me today, its great to have you here.
Thank you for the invite.
So tell me, how did you guys meet?
We met through friends and mutual family when we were 17.
So you started off friends as teenagers. How did your friendship develop into a business partnership?
We were both working together for a friend who had an accessories company selling hats and other bits, we were selling the product through friends and word of mouth, essentially, we were the street team. A strong interest and demand developed and people were constantly coming back and asking for more product, so we thought, why not?
Going from friends to business partners is a big step, how do you both delegate the different roles of the business.
Through our chosen career paths. We take our own experience from our working lives apply it to the brand to make it work. (Craig is a Project Manager and Jay is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator).
So Jay, would you say you design the product and Craig, you get it out there from A to B?
Jay- He (Craig) tells me what to do (laughs).
So he bosses you about (laughs), he seems that way inclined but don’t tell him I told you that.
It’s impressive how well structured your process is, and what can be better than going into business with your best mate? How did you decide what type or style of clothing you were going to produce?
It’s about us, we make what we want to wear, we see what’s out there in the market and what’s working. It’s also about production, costings and what adjustments the market requires.
How do think about the aesthetics of your brand, prints, fabrics, etc?
For fabrics we research what’s out there, you need touch it feel it to know if it’s right for a specific piece, we then need to see if it’s available and how we will work with it. Most importantly, it has to be the highest quality, that includes our prints.
You’ve mentioned that you design from your personal style, how do you know if you consumer likes that? Do you say, ‘this is what we’ve got, you either like it or you don’t’.
If we like it we expect other people to like it. But in the end it’s trial and error. Based on sales from previous collections we understand what our consumer wants. We’ve stripped this collection right back to draw attention to staple clothing items.
When you first launched Crama how did you start getting your product out there?
We started with 200 units, and we sold mainly by word of mouth, we got involved with fashion shows and independent exhibits in London. It went from there.
The brand was originally launched in 2006, you guys hit a rough spot in 2009 and, a after a short break, you relaunched in 2014. How would you say the brand has changed since 2009?
We’ve grown as individuals and designers. We’ve had the opportunity to trial and error our collection, so we definitely have more direction and experience in the way that we execute our designs.
Fashion has changed so much since 2009 and is constantly pushing the norm, but there is still a market that wants to wear cool, but normal clothing. As a streetwear brand would you say that you want people feel comfortable and confident when they are wearing Crama?
Definitely. As guys get older their wardrobe tends to get smaller, but it has stronger items.There’s no point having loads of different pieces if they aren’t going to be key items.
I think some brands lose their special appeal and direction.
Yes, you saturate it to the point where the brand loses it’s purpose. We want our pieces to a part of someone’s staple collection. We want our pieces to have longevity, there’s no point in everyone wearing the brand if it’s forgotten about 2 years down the line.
Do you ever see people wearing your brand in a way that you never expected?
Yes and it’s always cool to see.
Do you see girls/women wearing your brand?.
The idea of trying to reel the customer in with provocative photo shoots is something that deflects from the clothes themselves, it’s not what we are about. It saturates the brand and the brand identity. We’ve never seen a tee on a girl in photo shoot and thought ‘I would buy that’.
Is womenswear something you would consider in the future?
It would have to be a woman designing or a man who knows a lot about women’s clothing. We aren’t designing for women, if a woman likes the brand she is more than welcome to wear it, but it’s not how we would promote the brand. We’ve designed it for men.
Which brands would you most like to collaborate with? Which brands do you draw inspiration from?
Carhartt is a good brand that has evolved over the years. We’ve always liked the Savile Row style too.
Yes, I love the immediate energy and feeling of power when you put on a good suit. Is that something you would consider for future collections?
It’s a strong possibility. The idea is to get the name out there. We want people to associate our brand with quality and a certain luxury.
You’ve recently launched the new website, and have now the full SS/14 collection consisting of denim, sweats, tee’s and a varsity jacket, is there anything exciting in the pipeline for AW/14?
We’ve got some pretty exciting things in the pipeline, but you’ll just have to wait and see, we’ll keep people updated through our blog and twitter.
So, how can people access you clothing line?
We’ve relaunched the website now so it’s available via crama.co.uk, also on Twitter @CramaLondon, Instagram @CramaLondon and Facebook/Crama.
That’s brIlliant, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on your latest collections. Thank you for speaking with us today, it’s been fantastic to hear about what’s been going on in the world of Crama. Will you keep in touch?
Most definite, thanks for having us.
Thank you for reading this interview. If you want you find out more about Crama, please visit their website at www.crama.co.uk.