Established in 2006, toomuchposse! is a London-based collective of designers. Starting off as a range of t-shirts, the label has expanded to become a brand that depicts street lifestyle and the hardships of life in the concrete jungle. With an emphasis on both high quality products and projects that stimulate industry and creativity, the label's ethos reflects a love of youth culture combined with a need for innovative and inspirational design. Their collection is inspired by everything from haute couture to Jamaican dub to graffiti. This ability to cross sub-cultural borders has resulted in a truly unique brand that is truly representative of Britain today. Don’t Panic talk to them about their inspirations, aspirations, Neneh Cherry and Flava Flav.
toomuchposse!is a collective of designers – where are you all from, how did you meet and how did the collective start working together?
toomuchposse! is a co-owned brand that began out of a love for product. We both initially started collecting kicks. We met at university in London and shared a similar style and interest in music, fashion and lifestyle. Many of the brands we were into at the time were State side and after having travelled over to NYC a few times we realized that we could do our own thing back home. We started small, just printing a few tees – which were well received. So there began the start of toomuchposse. Now as the brand has developed we’ve managed to involve a group of individuals mainly designers and musicians that have brought in their creative expertise.
What are the main inspirations behind the collection?
We are inspired by a number of different things, mainly the music and movies from our youth. When we began designing our inspirations were scattered and our designs were based on what we were into at that particular moment in time. However our overall inspiration is something that we’re progressively homing into, giving the collections a more directional image.
Street culture is often condemned by the government as being the root cause of gun and knife crime in Britain’s cities – where does toomuchposse!stand on this viewpoint?
Street culture will always be condemned by the government, because that’s the place where uncontrolled shit happens. The government is all about control. Street culture is also a massive root to creativity. It breeds some of the greatest creative minds of our modern world. You only have to look at NY back in the late 70s and the state of chaos it was in. Now it plays a prominent driving role in the international fashion, art and music industries of today. There’s a great documentary called Downtown Calling – which talks all about it. Check it.
There are a lot of stereotypes associated with street culture – what does toomuchposse!do to counteract these?
Nothing. We just have our own style and drive it forward. Hopefully picking up the good bits along the way and slicing through the wack stuff.
One of your T-Shirts displays the slogan ‘raw like sushi’ – this is an interesting statement – what exactly does this mean?
Raw like Sushi is the name of Neneh Cherry’s debut album. We like it on different levels. It looks good, sounds even better and represents a part of the 80s which is something we wanted in our first line. It goes without saying it plays on the fact that sushi is ‘raw’. And we eat sushi!!
Iconic images and branding seem to play a major role in the toomuchposse!t-shirt collection – is this a comment on our materialistic society?
We are part of the MTV consumer generation. We were brought up in the heavy branded materialistic world and we love it. Product is what it’s all about and instead of trying to curb that hunger we’re bathing in it.
Creatively, where do you see toomuchposse!in the future?
Without giving toomuch away we’ve got big plans for toomuchposse! We want to the brand to become a ‘street fashion’ brand. Expect some great product that retains simplicity but that says allot.
You talk about toomuchposse!being a ‘lifestyle’ – describe your daily routine.
We both work nine-to-fives so toomuchposse! is something we have to do on the side at the moment. But, work wise... a lot of time is spent in front of the MAC daddies, meeting people, trips to factories and a load of coffee and cigarettes in-between.
Would the world be a better place if people were allowed to graffiti public buildings?
Probably not no, but maybe it would be better if they allowed us to paint the trains ?!
What would you do if you saw Flava Flav wearing one of your T-shirts?
Ask him for a photo... and buy him a drink