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Meet local maker Punks And Chancers
Over the past couple of years, Punks and Chancers have driven an ethical fun bus into the Birmingham indie scene with the iconic YES BAB tees. With one eye on sustainability and the other unwaveringly on fun, this modern brand’s designs have been worn all over the world by people proud to rep their region.
What first fuelled your passion to make / create your designs / product?
I’ve made stuff - painting, sculpture, clothes, film, upholstery, interiors - my entire life fuelled by a love of colour and the act of making. The thing I’m making changes, but the approach i take is fairly consistent. My interest in sustainability has grown a lot over recent years which has been a big influence, as has the love of my city and the understanding that life is very short . Fun is vital.
Tell us about the origins of your business.
Punks and Chancers began on the floor of a hotel room on New Years Eve three years ago. I’d been making hand stitched lamps for interior designers and private clients for the past 8 years and needed a change. The lamps were beautifully crafted but the fun score was low. I came up with the concept, bought the domain name and then worked my arse off for 6 months to get it off the ground.
What’s your motto?
If it’s not fun, don’t do it. Or at least seriously consider if it’s absolutely necessary.
How would you describe your designs / products?
Organic, ethical and straight out of Brum.
What was the first success / landmark moment for your designs / product range?
I don’t really keep track of big successes / landmarks. I prefer to keep my head down and do new stuff for as long as i find it exciting. Having said that, being picked up early doors by the galleries i’ve visited and respected for years was a real confidence boost.
Tell us about your materials - where do you source your materials from?
I make a concerted effort to tread lightly with the materials and methods i choose. There is so much stuff in the world already that if we’re going to create more, it’s vital that it’s considered. For me that means organic cotton, fairwear accreditation, water based inks, recycled stainless steel, print on recycled card and zero plastic for packaging. I get as much as i can made in the UK - that means all of the printing, stitching of labels- and even some of the manufacturing - is done locally.
Tell us about your making process?
On the surface, my designs are very simple, so they’re about materials, form, colour and the art of editing. I come up with a lot of ideas and designs that never see the light of day because they don’t make the edit. At the beginning of a project, a solid bar crawl with a notebook and my partner in crime is the best way to kickstart ideas.
Have you ever had any interesting commissions?
I once sent a full box of YES BAB tees to a design studio in rural Poland. It was a thank you gift from a Birmingham consultancy business and i still wonder if they understood or just opened the box and was like “what???”.
Do you have a favourite of the Birmingham museums? If so, why
BMAG is perfect for getting the kids interested in historical stuff they didn’t even know existed. And i get to drool over mid century pottery. Plus tea room = win.
And finally, a tourist arrives in Birmingham for the first time ever, where do you take them?
Ok i’m assuming it’s a glorious day, they are wide awake, very fun and have no luggage. I’d take them to IKON gallery and to get coffee in Yorks followed by a frolic in the Centenary Square fountains. Walking South we’d call in at BMAG have a look at some art / artefacts and obviously take photos of the magnificent floor. Lunch would be at Medicine Bakery and they’d probably be ready for a lunchtime pint at Tilt as we head further South. We’d pass a cursory glance at the big Selfridges building as we get into the nitty gritty of Digbeth. An early afternoon walk around the streets to see the world class street art would be accompanied by craft beer stops at Dig Brew, a friendly pint at Stag and some delicious junk food snacks from Baha. We would be well lubricated by this point and some semi-drunk shopping at Ridding and Wynn would seem to be a fantastic idea. We’d take our huge ceramic tiger purchased at R&W in a cab to Kings Heath to get the best pizza ever at Poli and hangout at The Juke. Any takers?