DroneBoy DnB Tees.
With high streets up and down the country turning into mundane clones of one another, it’s refreshing to see that some clothing brands are trying their best to break through and offer the market something different.
DroneBoy Laundry is one of the most fresh and imaginative brands to do this, incorporating artistic design, innovation and music and wrapping it up in a nice big ethically sourced bow. Created by Cardiff based Dave Shaw, the DroneBoy Laundry clothing label began in 2010 but the traffic cone wearing character was born several years previously. It may sound rather odd, but there was certainly method in this madness as Dave is quick to explain.
‘DJ Moneyshot was the local Hip Hop hero and I’d regularly design his mix tapes for him. He would come round whilst I was designing and tell stories about Hip Hop culture; one time we were listening to Beastie Boys and a line about Cheech Wizard came up which was mentioned in the lyrics of Beastie Boys Sure Shot – “I’m like Vaughn Bode, I’m a Cheech Wizard, never quitting, so won’t you listen” and he explained about this comic book artist called Vaughn Bode. His main character was Cheech and used to get sprayed up around subways in New York City by all of the graffiti artists.’
‘I immediately thought how good it would be to have one of my characters validated by famous graffiti writers and that night I went home put on Jehst’s Return of the Drifter album and set about creating a British Cheech Wizard. The symbol of DroneBoy was born.’
With over ten years experience in the music scene in Cardiff, Dave prides himself on creating strong links with the Drum and Bass world and infusing elements of the genre as well as Hip Hop and street art, into his fresh designs. He does all the artwork for the flyers for the Welsh capital’s Aperture night that he is also responsible for. Music is synonymous with DroneBoy Laundry and plays an extremely important factor in the promotion and the development of the brand.
Through his promoting links with Aperture, it’s not unusual to see artists like Hospital Records’ Netsky repping the ‘Got Soul’ tee and High Contrast, better known as Lincoln Barrett in his native Cardiff, helping Dave out with some glamour modelling shots. Girls need not worry either as a range of clothing is available for them too, but judging on the pictures of DroneBoy Laundry’s very pretty model, Sophia, the men’s tees look just as good on the female form.
The ethos behind the label is to stand out from the crowd, not to conform to society’s ideals and make your time on Earth count for something. Without sounding too much like a dreadlocked hippy, DroneBoy aims to find something that you can be passionate about, embrace it and nourish it into a creation that can be something to be proud of. This isn’t just a clothing company, it’s DroneBoy Laundry and it wants to make the world a better place.
Many of the designs are limited editions offering you the chance to buy a part of artistic history. With this company, it’s not about mass producing items but creating something that people can cherish.
‘Limited editions to me represent one of the main things you can do to set yourself apart from the high street brands, they have the money, the reach, the impact, everything that as an aspiring designer/brand in your moments of weakness, you crave. In my heart of hearts though the main ingredient of DroneBoy is soul, I like all of my designs to ooze with soul, for the brand’s ethos to be visible throughout, not to conform to trends, colour patterns and fashion forecasts.’
‘My strengths are that I can be fast moving and not have sold next year’s collection last year and I don’t have to deal in bulk, if Topshop had a limited edition tee, of fifty two for example, they would have to have one tee in each store and their shareholders would be up-in-arms, we can do this, so we do it and do it with soul.’
Before the DroneBoy Laundry brand was what it is today, Dave began his Where’s the Jungle clothing line, a prototype in many ways for his current design venture. At a time when Drum and Bass and Jungle in Cardiff were severely absent, the profit from the Where’s the Jungle range was used to book and promote DJs in the city.
‘The line took off and was becoming rather notorious in the scene but it came to cross roads, do I push the line or create a space for the DJs whom I counted as friends in Cardiff? The decision was a no-brainer and Aperture started. At the moment Drum and Bass and Jungle is more than catered for here, so the label doesn’t have as much impact as it once did resulting in the long gap in new designs,’ he says.
Items from the range are still available on the DroneBoy Laundry website and will appeal to people all over the country who, too, maybe feel DnB is missing from their towns and cities.
Not content with its originality and creativity and using environmentally sustainable sources for their 100% cotton tees, DroneBoy Laundry also works with charities, spreading the love and ideals that little bit further afield than Cardiff and the rest of the UK.
This month they dropped a new collaboration tee with the Safe Foundation, a charity consisting of local people whose aims include tackling poverty issues and increasing access to basic human rights such as education across the corners of the globe. Part of their good work includes an education project in Cambodia helping disadvantaged children gain access to an education, which is of course a right not a privilege.
For every tee shirt sold, the money will be able to provide a week’s worth of education for a classroom in Cambodia and after all fifty two of the limited edition pieces are sold, enough money will have been raised to educate a class for a whole year. Now this isn’t something you see High Street retailers doing, is it?
words Joanna Ranson