In the UK right now the independent clothing industry is in something of a boom.
Small indie companies are thriving and innovating with collaborative projects and releases. Artists, designers and brand managers are coming together to release some absolutely astounding new designs and lines, and the community spirit is rich and heady.
Some companies are obviously doing better than others, and as these companies ascend to the top of the pile, the companies below rightfully step up their game and move closer to the same goal - but, always with a view to the helping hands form above, and offering hands to those below.
As the high street and the big name retail brands fight over who can release the highest profile licensing contract, the indie scene instead looks to push pop-culture to the front with original, groundbreaking and eye popping designs from some of the hottest new talent out there, and as some of the shirts and designs start getting wider and wider acclaim and attention it only pushes for the rest of us to up our games and push further boundaries.
Doll&Bone have been around now since 2015, and though we are a lot smaller than some of these bigger brands and indie names - we are none the less inspired or influenced by the brilliant work that is happening in the industry with some of our larger more successful peers.
We have always taken the lead from the market monsters, whether to follow or veer off in brave new directions against the grain, and some of the brightest and best in the UK have taken the scene in directions that revolutionise the process of running a small, independent company and have now made moves that industry leaders have taken up as THE way to push the industry into the future... We remember though that what happens at the top is usually directly influenced by the leftfield choices at the bottom.
This being said it is only fair and right that we highlight some of our favourite indie UK clothing lines and showcase some of the ridiculously brilliant talent and designs that are out there right now.
Here then, are five of our favourites.
1. HOBO JACK.
Started in 2014 as a side project for brothers Dan & Jim after returning from a few years traveling the world and being inspired by artists, tattooists and design from different regions. They started with a single digital printer in their garage and have soon exploded in five short years into THE independent clothing company to aspire to be.
Taking their queues from tattoo art - from traditional to neo-classical - to Modern Graphic Design and pop-culture riffing. HOBO JACK have taken the independent ethos onto a global scale - always looking to the next collaboration and innovation but always maintaining a keen DIY ethic, and investing in the company with each step up in demand, rather than bending a knee to current mainstream trends and patterns.
The are highly recommended, with top-quality print and design, the art pops and is frequently updated with new designs and limited run projects, and they are becoming the guys to beat in the marketplace.
Mainly though, we just love their shirts. Comfortable, stylish and great bright, vivid designs. And the DIY punk rock ethic they have, keeping the business together and run like a family unit despite the broad audience they have rightfully garnered, that is our type of company.
2. DETH KULT
Now, I may be a bit biased here, as DK owner and designer Matt Young is a friend of DOLL&BONE, but I honestly think DETH KULT CLOTHING is one of the best indie clothing companies in the UK right now.
Having seen first hand the sheer drive and determination and control that he exudes over DK, Matt has driven the company into smash hit after smash hit. Every new release becoming an instant best seller, and the DK army growing with each new customer and well deserved piece of fresh press.
Being featured in KERRANG, Rock Sound magazine, and popular with rock bands and models alike DK has a little something for everyone, whilst maintaining a fierce alternative backbone, and keen eye on a pop-culture riff.
Being a one man show DK put a high premium on quality control, consistent design and a strong planet friendly and DIY ethic. You can see DK touring the country with unsigned bands (including Cabin Boy Jumped Ship, Eagles Born Vultures, Neshiima) to branching out into freelancing designers for other companies... (see No. 3) DETH KULT are a true original and really worth your attention and custom.
Instagram / Facebook
3. PEAKED APPAREL
Much like Hobo Jack PEAKED APPAREL have made the jump into beicoming global players after long being one of the Premier League UK independent clothing companies.
A strong eye for a riff on a pop-culture favourite, and with a wildly successful ethic of freelancing designers who may otherwise have become exclusive to one brand or other, Peaked Apparel are now one of the most diverse brands out there.
4. BAD MONDAY
Established in 2017 as a side hustle for married couple Mark and Alice as a way of raising some additional funds during Alice's maternity leave, and initially run from their own garage whilst raising two children BAD MONDAY is a perfect example of how a good, hard working ethic and a drive to succeed in experimentation can really lead to huge dividends.
In little over 5 months the company was turning over more than £100k in business and had to make the move to outsourcing printing and delivery duties to allow them to grow and evolve to keep up with demand.
Now firmly established as one of the preeminent UK indie brands and delivering bold, tattoo inspired graphic tees and accessories that really stand out from the crowd. They also stand as a shining example for rising brands to emulate in how to be successful and grow an idea despite the perceived limitations around you.
Awesome clean designs, a consistent vision and a real eye for detail makes Bad Monday a really influential and inspiring company to follow,and their clothing is hot as hell.
Check out their summer 2020 collection online now.
Instagram / Facebook
5. TWISTED APPAREL
With a playful twist on Disney and Gothic imagery TWISTED APPAREL have a sharply designed range of shirts and accessories that will inspire those who like to bring a little of the absurd into their personal style.
Whether it is the Mug-Shot range of popular Disney characters lining up for a variety of felonies, or the Gothic spins on cereal box artwork - they approach the business with a unique and plucky sense of humour and a clean, eye-catching design ethic.
They are engaged with their community and customers in bold and fresh ways, and always looking to the horizon for the next line and series of designs. A great company with a great work ethic and some of the best designs in the business.
Well worth checking out...
Instagram / Facebook
Doll&Bone have been in the game since 2015. And though our roots are small, independent and home based - we have big ambitions to push our designs and brand into the community more as 2020 progresses, and further into the future as well.
With such a diverse and influential pool of talent and brands to keep an eye on and to take ques from - the UK indie clothing community is the strongest it has ever been and is full of some of the most talented designers, brand ambassadors and scene leaders in the world right now, and it's only going to get stronger and meaner.
Support small business, support the community, and stand out from the crowd.
Follow all the brands above, and do contact us with links to other brands you enjoy and who need some more exposure...
Most importantly, stay safe and unique you crazy kids.
Follow us on social media: