This week I caught up with Nottingham based designer Mr. Cheese who is the founder of Blue Cheese clothing. The brand came about in December ’08 when he realised having a 9-5 job wasn’t for him. Ideas began to fly around but with illustration not exactly being his forte, he recruited the help of Brogan (tattoo artist),Humble (artist who specialises in album covers & graphic design) and Fusion (illustrator) to help with the designs, whilst constantly using the help of Google to educate himself on the ins and outs of this competitive industry.
His motley crew of artists soon clicked as they fed off each other’s creative energy and grew as a family to produce good quality garments for the Great British public! Mr. Cheese dropped 20 tee’s to start with, the majority of which were given out to the local skate and punk scene, enabling him to get his brand out there and in the faces of the target audience. As his designs began popping up all around town, he then expanded with a line jumpers, hoodies, cardigans and jackets.
Fast forward 3 years and the brand has grown into a staple in UK streetwear, with designs growing in complexity and even a small team of artists on board – including Sox, Tempa T, Trilla,Keelan Phillips, Lippicool, Bass Boy, Wax Dramatic and Mc Shabba.
Here’s a couple of snaps i took when i got invited to the Blue Cheese studio:
Now a little look at what Mr.Cheese had to say for himself:
So what made you want to join the fashion industry and how did it come about?
Erm, I wanted to join because I thought I had something different to bring to the table. I came about it by me just believing that it can be done and that anything could be possible, without sounding too cheesey! (waheyyy) It’s all good making 120 t-shirts and having them just sitting there, thinking I’ve made them now, it’s just about selling them. It’s about getting people to understand you and your brand and accepting it. You’ve got to build your belief in people and make them wear Cheese everyday, when making a cup of tea you should be wearing Cheese.
With your confidence to believe that you could succeed, do you think that’s helped you for a starting point?
Oh yeah definitely, when I first started I was my own biggest fan haha. I thought that every design was great and unbeatable so with that in my head I thought and believed that I could do everything.
I read your bio on your website that youv’e travelled a lot, do you think that has had an impact on your style of brand?
Yeah, travelling has helped me and the brand sort of build as we go along. I hope to interpret into our designs more of what I’ve seen and more into our clothes so it can appeal to more people. From the parts of the world that I have seen, it’s like every person I have met I’ve thought “I’ve got a piece of clothing just for you, like a knitted summit, a bright t-shirt, smart casual wear.”
Your favorite place is Amsterdam. Would you like to take the brand with you?
Well the brand should be going to ‘Dam within the next two months. I’ve contacted two distributors last week so thanks to ‘Soft Secrets’ magazine and to James. So yeah, we should be other there in the next two to three months. It’s great over there for colors, texture, fashion and boutiques. There are trainers there that you could only dream about!
I’ve recently seen the growth in the Midlands and British MC’s wearing Blue Cheese. Does that make you feel proud of yourself and how has it made an impact?
It’s like with the artists and stuff I like to work with artists that I respect their work so I’m not just gonna work with artists who are big names but I don’t respect their music or work. It’s about getting a common ground and understanding that were both working for each other.
I’ve seen that you’ve slightly expanded to women’s wear. What do you have next in store for us?
Ermm women? Haha basically I tend to bring what you’ve seen in the male tops, I want to bring into the women’s clothes. Like nice bright colours, a bit or Mr.Cheese, a few more slogans. The girls tops will be a lot funnier, so I would like to look at the tops and laugh.
‘Cause a lot of your clothes do have a hidden meaning behind them, it’s not as dark and simple as they think right?
Oh yeah, when its designed by myself and my designers we get a lot of influence from my nieces and nephews, the music that i hear, sentences and i add something on to that and we’ve got the next summer smash hit t-shirt. Our t-shirts are like, look at it, then look at it again and find the message in it.
What I love about Blue Cheese is that you’re so humble and the fact that you want to help others, with your designers to the community. Where would you like to take that next?
Never stop basking in the glory, like if any of the designers want to put there name on the t-shirt then let that go out to thousands of people I’m more than happy to let them do that, to get the designer out there, ’cause that then means another job or to make them bigger and better. They’ve used Cheese in the correct way. I would like to help more people and get more people in touch with my brand: it’s clothing and it’s a way of life. If you’re a DJ that’s doing amazing things in your field, there could be a chance that Blue Cheese wants to work with you. We’ll back you, cause you’re following your dream like I followed mine.
Where do you see yourself going in ten years?
Honestly, this question has been asked before and I never like to say because everything that we have done up to now is all like ‘yeah I’v’e worked my nuts off to get here today, but you’re only gonna get what you put back in’ and I can see myself putting in a lot more hard work. So yeah, that’s always one question I’m funny about.
Would you ever consider collabing with AHOODIE for a cheeky little tee?
Haha of course, that would be mint! I’ll help get AHOODIE out, AHOODIE helps me get out. We’re cool!
A lot of people have helped you on this journey, who would you like to thank?
Well here comes my Oscar winning speech! haha not really. Massive thanks for a start to Brogan,Humble and Fusion. I may sometimes snap, shout and kick off but we’re still together, still a family and still moving forward. The people that support the brand, people that message me, the mums that send me support in the form of ‘it hasn’t peeled away in the wash!” Mr Simeon Hartwig (Founder of Bantum clothing)who helped me out with basic knowledge and not once judged me. for I’ve got a friend called ‘Mr.M’ who has helped me alot, the printers and embroiders and of course family and friends, they might not know it but their rants have pointed me in the right direction and avoid some silly things.