Addict hasnâ€™t seen a hell of a lot of change as a brand that began just over ten years ago (circa 1996). And thatâ€™s the way that co-founder Chris Carden-Jones likes it. Although the streetwear brand has added an extensive collection of accessories, vinyl toys, luggage, and literature, Addictâ€™s consistent thread has been the brandâ€™s signature camo pattern, artist collaborations, and company growth.
â€œWe get such a wide variety of people shopping in the Addict stores from students, footie lads, to real fashion kids, through to your average man on the streetâ€¦â€
Format: Please state your name and role at Addict.
Chris Carden-Jones: Chris Carden-Jones, IÂ¹m the creative director and one of the original founders of Addict. Iâ€™m responsible for the clothing, graphic, and web design within the brand as well as special projects and collaborations.
Format: What was the process in selecting the brand name, Addict?
Chris Carden-Jones: Back in the summer of 1994, I was designing a lot of mixtape covers, flyers, and record sleeves, and the Addict name and logo emerged from that time. I had cut and pasted some text from a magazine spread, which included the word â€œaddictionâ€ for a flyer that I was working on. A few weeks later, I cut the word â€œAddictâ€ from the artwork for a set of t-shirts for a local vinyl store. It was at that point that I first registered the possibility of using the word â€œAddictâ€ as a brand name to reflect peoplesâ€™ loves and passions or positive addictions.
Format: Who is the Addict consumer?
Chris Carden-Jones: Male and female; Addict is largely bought by the twenties and thirties age group but can go either way above or below that. Thereâ€™s no deliberate attempt to harness any one particular age, niche or demographic. The idea behind Addict is to simply produce good quality, real product that has a high level of design content, which doesnâ€™t have to immediately jump out at you. Itâ€™s when you look closer that you see it. I think people appreciate quality and if you stick to what you know and are not swayed by the ever-changing face of fashion, then it gives your customer something consistent that they can follow.
We get such a wide variety of people shopping in the Addict stores form students, footie lads, to real fashion kids, through to your average man on the street, that its hard to nail down a â€œtypeâ€ but certainly it seems that its people that appreciate what goes into the garments or the artwork and graphics who are looking for something quality and different other than the usual high street offerings. Addict clothing has a very wide audience: anybody that enjoys well-designed good quality clothing is an Addict consumer. Back in the day, Addict design and manufacturing was very much based around technical outerwear, meaning in the early stages, we captured the eyes of the extreme sports sector.
Format: What is the link to graffiti, skateboarding, and snowboarding with Addict?
Chris Carden-Jones: Everyone we were around at the time, including ourselves, were heavily into something, either skating, djâ€™ing, making music, graphics, painting, snowboarding, etc. So the link is firsthand and natural. Weâ€™ve never really had official teams or sponsored riders in the traditional sense but weâ€™ve always flowed product to riders, artists, djâ€™s, musicians, and friends who, as a group of people, collectively show their support for what we do by spreading the word organically.
Format: You are now coming up on ARTIST SERIES 10. Which series was your personal favorite?
Chris Carden-Jones: I have too many favorites! Weâ€™ve worked with so many talented artists since series 1. Series 10 is right up there though as it features some great â€œShe Oneâ€™â€œ tees, and Swifty produced a set of tees celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Straight No Chaser Magazine that he art directs. Thereâ€™s also the â€œoriginator seriesâ€ which features collabs three of the US brands that influenced us way, way back when we started: Freshjive, X-Large and Fuct, so it was quite special paying homage to them through these tees.
Format: How did the STAR WARS collection come about?
Chris Carden-Jones: This was a real labor of love, which took over a year to sort out! Iâ€™d asked Mitch to do an illustration for an interview piece for the third Addict book with Jeremy Bulloch, the actor who played Boba Fett in the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Mitch did a killer illustration of Boba Fett and as soon as I saw it I knew that we had to use it on a tee. We needed to be able to use the Star Wars logo on the tees so we went down the route of contacting Lucasfilm to see if theyâ€™d be up for the project. I knew a guy in the US whoâ€™s a top Boba Fett costumer called TK409 (check out his site) and I knew he had contacts at LucasFilm. He put me in touch with the head license guy at LucasFilm who loved the proposal and once all the red tape was sorted out we completed the series with a Sandtrooper and Biker Scout tees.
Massively satisfying as I can remember seeing Star Wars in 1977 when I was seven and it blew me away: the armor, weapons, and vehicle design in that film in my mind has never been surpassed. We launched the series in January 08 at our London store with an appearance from Jeremy Bulloch and three of the 501st decked out in full Sandtrooper, Boba Fett, and Bike Scout uniforms.
Format: Tell us about Battle Weapon Black.
Chris Carden-Jones: The battle weapon was a dj toll mixed and created by our good friends The Nextmen. Itâ€™s a scratch djâ€™s two x dubplates pressed single side, which were produced as a limited run of forty. The Nextmen released their critically acclaimed third LP, This Was Supposed To Be The Future, last year and have since toured Glastonbury, Big Chill, Pacha Ibiza, and further afield across Europe, Far East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Always present at any Addict Beats Collective party Dom and Brad, aka The Nextmen, have produced various killer mix cdÂ¹s for us over the years.
Format: How do you select your collaborative artists?
Chris Carden-Jones: A lot of the time the collaborations happen through the people weâ€™ve met over time, friends, and associates who were graphic designers and artists, so the motivation first and foremost was through common interests and mutual appreciation. Through this, you meet more and more people on the same wavelength. So far most of the artists that weâ€™ve worked with have been from the UK like Swifty, She One, Mitch, Mode 2, C-Law, The London Police, andWill Barras to name a few. But weâ€™ve also worked with people from overseas like Stash from NYC and Flying Fortress from Germany. Weâ€™ve also worked with a few brands too like ONETrueSaxon from Nottingham, Freshjive, Fuct and X-Large as well as G-Shock, Vango tents and Spy Optic which have all been exciting to work on.
Format: Whatâ€™s the difference between UK and worldwide streetwear?
Chris Carden-Jones: The streetwear scene in the UK is still massively influenced by the US but British streetwear definitely draws its influence from the music and the cultures that weÂ¹ve grown up around through the 80s and 90s, like football casual and the whole birth of sportswear fashion and trainer culture, as well as the huge UK dance music scene. I think this gives it a different edge and look to its overseas counterparts. We need more UK labels!
Format: Brands often lose credibility over time. How has ADDICT kept up its respect and what do people think of ADDICT in South Hampton, where it all started?
Chris Carden-Jones: Weâ€™ve always just kept plying our trade the only way we know it: simple, minimally branded, quality pieces, working with good independent stores.
Format: What stage would you say youâ€™re at right now as a brand?
Chris Carden-Jones: Still in steady growth stage, still independent, still fighting. We want to remain consistent and build on the interest thatâ€™s developing from the US as we get a lot of web based custom from North America. So thereâ€™s Addict love happening.
Format: What can we look forward to for SS09 from Addict?
Chris Carden-Jones: More of the same in terms of design and direction but weâ€™ve added more to the mid-section of our range with lots of track tops, easy wear throw-on lightweight jackets, as well as a set of tees designed with Swifty based on our very first hand-dyed originals from 94 with artwork derived from old stereo sleeves and hi-fi packaging. There are some top-level collabs coming for AW10 too as well as the launch of our footwear line.
Format: What are you most addicted to?
Chris Carden-Jones: My Kids and family, good design of any kind, music, food, football (soccer), and for better or worse my Macbook pro.