The Design Series // No. 03: MNKR
MNKR is an LA-based line of men's and women's apparel, prints, pins and patches. We caught up with founder, designer and illustrator Matthew Fellows on his designs and shop.
Asymmetric Magazine: How and when did you start MNKR?
Matthew Fellows: MNKR began in 2003 because I wanted to start a new brand that would be able to grow with me as I evolved as a person. I had started a couple other brands before this, but they really limited me creatively, and I didn’t see room for growth. MNKR would in effect be me, or at least mirror my life, hence the generic name MNKR (moniker), meaning a name or nickname.
AM: What's your biggest inspiration?
MF: Day to day life inspires me. Things I go through, things that filter through me. The funny stuff, the sad stuff, all of it. For instance 'Rose Dagger' is all about falling in and out of love–I wear my heart on my sleeve. ‘Ninety Nine Bottles’ is because I probably drink too much, (this design came off my graffiti filled bathroom wall). ‘Matt’s Tats’ is all of my tattoos. ‘Road Less Traveled’ because I grew up going on road trips nearly every summer and taking the small country roads through obscure towns was what we used to do. I still love that kind of travel to this day.
AM: How would you best describe your style?
MF: Less is more for sure. I grew up in a house filled with vintage signs and advertising, and this type of aesthetic has stayed with me. I also grew up skateboarding which heavily influenced who I am and how I design. Plus, I think I’m more of an ideas guy than an artist, so my design style has evolved out of trying to easily convey an idea in the simplest way possible.
AM: What themes do you typically pursue in your work?
MF: Peace, love, travel, humor, the outdoors, and death …and sometimes food.
AM: What role does Los Angeles play in your work?
MF: LA has changed me in ways that I can’t even express in words, both for the better and probably for the worse. I’m sure this comes through in my work, but I couldn’t really say how.
AM: What music is currently inspiring you?
MF: I just made a playlist for a photo shoot that had these dudes on it; Souleance, Karol Conka, Nobody, Misun, Buscabulla, and my fav, Petite Noir, especially the songs MDR and Down. Rad.
AM: Where can our readers shop your products?
MF: MNKR.com is the best place to shop all styles, or we also welcome visitors to our LA Studio at The Brewery Artist Lofts. Our tees are in large and small retailers around the world, and in LA, you can find MNKR at Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal, Black Market LA, ML General Store, and Skylark.
AM: What can we expect to see from you next?
MF: It kind of depends on what I’m going through at the moment I start designing. I don’t have a clue as to what I’m going to do before I do it. When the time comes to start making designs, things just start coming to me.
AM: What's your best advice for aspiring designers?
MF: Consistency is key, but, and this is a huge but, do what makes you happy, as well. If you’re doing something that isn’t making you happy, then don’t be afraid to change it up. Once you find that groove, fully explore it. If you don’t know what that is yet, then just start trying stuff until you figure it out. I feel I’m just hitting my stride after 13 years of making designs for MNKR.
Shop MNKR: mnkr.com.