Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Fat Chat: Sovereign Beck

Name: Ryan Sovereign & William Beck
Age: ?
Occupation: Design duo
The Sovereign Beck line of neckwear was created by US design graduates Ryan Sovereign & William Beck. With the concept of giving a new expression to conservative menswear, Ryan and Will have fashioned a line of ties that can be both understated and provocative, classic and cutting edge. Every design has been carefully realized by the artists to be not only timeless, but also a statement of individuality. Created in limited quantity and with only the highest quality in mind, each tie is a statement. This is what the duo had to say when we caught up with them for a 'Fat Chat'.....

Hello Guys, the neck-tie is an item that has long been in need of a style injection...tell us a little bit about where it all started for you?
R- We simutaniously started collecting vintage ties because we reallyliked the prints, and you can find them for about $5. It also didn't hurt to have a bunch on hand for parties weddings etc. through this we realized that great ties like that no longer exsisted in the current market (about three years ago). We'd been working together on music projects and thought about doing something else..to gulp..make money. Ties just seemed like the perfect idea. We thought we could really bring something new into the world that was being flooded by t-shirts and hand bags..but not interesting ties.
W - We both had one of those summers where several of our friends were having weddings. Of course for a wedding you want to look sharp, but you don't have to be so formal as a job interview. We were both on the hunt for good looking ties, vintage or new, that fit our style but we were not having much luck. We preferred the style of the vintage but it is not easy to find one that combines good pattern with nice material, acceptable shape and in presentable condition. We realized that there was a void in the marketplace to fill and we decided to take a shot at filling it. Ryan had been working as a print designer and I had always had an interest in that field so we started out sketching some ideas and eventually we had our first silk collection.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
R- We tend to not pull inspiration from typical places like fashion magazines but from, art, doodles, scientific illustrations..anything that catches our eye and seems unique.
W- We have both always had a love for vintage print designs from the past hundred or so years. I think we reflect upon that a lot in our designs but are very aware of not looking too retro or vintage.I usually lean a little more towards the geometric/mathematical designs where as Ryan brings a more nature influence to our designs.Our best work emerges when we find that common ground between the two.
Your brand appears to be going from strength to strength and you have some great press coverage. Do you have any advice on raising brand awareness,for our emerging designers?
R- The one trade show we did POOL in Vegas definatly gave us a nice jump start with press. Also emailing relevant website, magazines blogs help. trying to cover a variety of markets aside from typical fashion avenues. We were featured in ready made magazine twice which I thought was exciting because it came across more of a design piece than a fashion accessory.
W-That is probably the hardest thing we've had to do. We aren't salesmen or businessmen or publicists. We've just tried to always send out as much information about ourselves as we can to as many people as we can. Whether this is emails or sending postcards or just wearing one of our ties to a party and spreading the word, anything we can do helps. The more people that know, the better!
Which well known face would you most like to see in a Soverign Beck tie?
R- Bill Murray, Conan O'brien...of course Barak Obama (if your reading this Mr. President, any ties you want man!). Mostly really funny people or power political figures...or Scarlett Johansson
W - Well I used to say Conan O'Brien but right now it would President Obama in the Overlap tie!
You have a great website...is your business predominantly web based & if so why did you choose this option?
R- The website is great because its hard to get our product to people outside of major US cities for now and it's nice to be able tofeature almost all of the ties we have created as opposed to stores who generally only carry 6-8 of the current collection. I like to think a design two years old is just as wearable as last falls. I also like dealing with our customers directly even if they're in Brazil. We do of course love stores because seeing them in person is always more impressive...but that's much harder for us to control.
W- A majority of our sales are through our website, however we also try to sell through small boutiques across the country as well as trunk sales, especially here in New York. Web sales are the best for us since we get a better take money wise but having merchandise in stores is beneficial since it gets seen by a buying crowd. If we could get to the point where we could carry ourselves just from wholesale orders that would be great, but we're finding many smaller stores are tightening their belts so that has become a less likely reality at this point. We do very small print runs of all or fabrics so most prints never see more than 50 pieces total so selling too many to stores would leave us with nothing to do!
Looking ahead, what business plans do you have for the label this year and beyond?
R - We will continue making ties in the immediate future. we would sometime down the line expand into other products..we haven't quite decided what that will be?
W - We are currently working on our Summer Cotton collection for this upcoming year and hope to have a third silk collection ready for Fall. Of course we'll continue to sell our previous designs until they are sold out.
We always like to end on a completely random note so.... who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with and why?
R - Probably David Bowie, Because he's David Bowie. Or maybe Leanne from project runway, She's the cutest inspiration in recent years!Or Scarlett Johansson...
W - Well elevator repair man pops to mind pretty quick;) but if i had to sit & chat with some one I admire for a while, I would go with Pierre Cardin. I'm in love with every aspect of his design aesthetic. Whether it is sixties space age or eighties futurism, it all makes me happy. His vision of not only clothing but also furniture, lighting, jewelry, prints etc, I find to be so complete and satisfying. Verner Panton would also be an option for the same reasons if Pierre was busy.
A big thank you to Sovereign Beck!.... hit their site & feel inspired to make your gran pops cool again:)
Interview: Fusion

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