Mothership Apparel was a brand created by a close friend of mine, Benjamin Kidd (link here) as a summer project following his first year at university.
Mothership was a clothing brand where artists, normally under a pseudonym could have their work sold printed on all sorts of apparel, at the time I believe the selection included men and women’s T-shirts, tote bags, key rings and probably lots more that I can’t remember!
All of the merchandise was printed by Ben himself with a screen printing rig that he’d built himself. I even have a few bits of Mothership featuring the debut ‘Aliens’ all drawn by Ben himself!
How did I help?
Well on occasion I’d be there to give my opinion on whatever aspect was currently being worked on, I named a stag from one of the designs “John” and I played delivery driver here and there.
But mainly I helped put together the website and did some promotional photography.
The website was a semi-custom job. It was WordPress, running a pre-built theme that we modified to fit more what we were after and had e-commerce functionality through WooCommerce. Given the turnaround time that we managed to pull off, it would do exactly what we needed it to.
As for the photos, it was simple, I already had the idea in my head and researched how to perfect the technique I wanted. We got to some woods near sunset with my remote flash and grossly oversized diffuser/reflector umbrella.
Whilst in the short time Mothership was around, it was probably best known for it’s Alien’s that adorned most of the clothing/accessories that they sold. However the main logo was a drawing of a spaceship (also by Ben) that formed not just one of the letter’s in the full text logo, but was an interesting shape that would get printed on the boxes and have tags cut to it’s shape.
Later revisions saw the logo gain an anaglyphic 3d effect – I never really got into this, but it wasn’t my call, there’s also revisions which see the spaceship as a semitransparent overlay on a space-effect image.
In terms of brand identity, one of the key things I picked up on was that Mothership was never one to take itself too seriously and this is reflected in the way communications were worded, it was kitsch, almost childish, but in a good way, here’s a quote from the existing about section of the website.
“As Captain, I take full responsibility for all abductees, I mean ‘Visiting Artists’ here on the Mothership. Please, therefore, accept my personal assurance that no ‘Artists’ are irreparably damaged by the Brain-Juicer 3000 used to amplify and extract their puny, human brain-images and reproduce them for your appreciation. When the probing is completed, all ‘Artists’ are returned to their domiciles only slightly dazed before fresh meat, I mean ‘visitors’ are ‘invited’ on board.”
Another thing worth mentioning is that ethicality is important too – all clothing is printed on American Apparel goods as they have a no sweatshop policy, (a bonus is they’re pretty high quality too!) and the inks they use are free of harmful chemicals.
What’s happening at the moment?
The Mothership has been on a hiatus since 2013, but there’s always been promise of a return. That’s where this project comes in, but more on that next time.
In part two we discuss what’s next.