The MOBO Guest Intern - The Ugly Kids Club
This week at MOBO HQ we had one of the designers from rising street clothing label ‘The Ugly Kids Club’ come in to intern for the day. With big name artists like Pharrell and Mariah Carey talking about the UK based clothing line, we sat down to find out how they started up and what ‘The Ugly Kids’ are all about. Graffiti designer Cee Jay tells all on how to make it in the fashion industry and gives some vital tips to young designers.
MOBO: What are your influences?
Cee Jay: Influences……mainly graffiti. We started off as an art collective and our common interest was graffiti. That was our main influence for all the bright colours you see on our T-shirts.
MOBO: Were you guys the ones that went around spraying graffiti on everything like train tracks, building walls etc?
Cee Jay: Nah!!!......Ok some of us did (laughs). That’s how we got into graffiting clothes.
MOBO: Fashion or Music?
Cee Jay: That’s a tough one….has to be music.
MOBO: You chose music???
Cee Jay: The type of fashion I do isn’t really couture, its street wear.
MOBO: I guess they go hand in hand?
Cee Jay: Yep!
MOBO: How often do you design?
Cee Jay: Every time I have an idea, which is all the time! I just get down, start sketching something then take it to my cousin who is our creative director.
MOBO: Your cousin is the creative director? How did you get together?
Cee Jay: I did graffiti in secondary school and so did he but he always wanted to be one step ahead of the game. I saw what he was doing and where he was going and asked if I could get involved. He started out doing graffiti on clothes then went on to customizing for celebrities. That’s how we got together.
MOBO: What do you do when you’re not designing?
Cee Jay: Watch a lot of movies.
MOBO: Street wear or high end fashion?
Cee Jay: That’s a tricky question…has to be street wear.
MOBO: Do you see yourselves getting into high end fashion in the future?
Cee Jay: Who knows what we could make out of the Ugly Kids Club in the future. We could do a spin off line where the clothes are couture/tailor made…what England’s known for.
MOBO: Who is your favorite fashion designer?
Cee Jay: There is a guy called Takashi Murakami who’s a Japanese artist. He does a lot of bright pop art stuff his also done work for Louis Vitton.
MOBO: If you could work with anyone on a line, who would it be?
Cee Jay: Has to be Marc Jacobs, he kills it!! The stuff that he does for himself and Louis Vitton is just crazy. When he became the director LV he just turned it on to its head.
MOBO: How does it feel to have house hold names like Cheryl Cole and Pharrell supporting your work?
Cee Jay: Arrrggggghhh man…it was all about being in the right place at the right time with Pharrell, but our proudest moment came when I was reading a magazine on a plane and there was an interview with Mariah Carey. One of the questions was “what can’t you leave home without?” her answer was “I can’t leave with without this graffiti hoodie that I got from a London based label called the Ugly Kids club”
MOBO: Did you know when you guys were starting out that the Ugly Kids Club would become this big?
Cee Jay: Nah when we started out we were like “let’s start out printing T-shirts” then from there it just grew and grew. Every event we went to we sold our t-shirts and posted pictures on various blogs. It’s grown bigger than we ever expected but then again, we are still working hard and pushing more. We are trying!
MOBO: On Sundays you like to…..?
Cee Jay: On Sundays I like to chill out, get to church when I can (yep! MOBO readers he said church)
MOBO: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Cee Jay: Hopefully still designing for The Ugly Kids Club and doing what I’m doing now but just bigger.
MOBO: What advice do you have for young people trying to get into the fashion industry?
Cee Jay: Don’t sleep! It’s just hard work and patience.
MOBO: How important is fashion is to you?
Cee Jay: Real important, it defines who you are on a day to day basis, shows your personality and plus “everyone needs to be clothed anyways” (laughs).
MOBO: What is Cee Jay’s style?
Cee Jay: Simple just a t-shirt, jeans and a nice pair of trainers.
MOBO: How old were you when the Ugly Kids started up?
Cee Jay: 17
MOBO: You interned for Evisu, how was that?
Cee Jay: That was a great experience, I was there helping the graphic designer do his work. I showed him all the other work I could do like paint, logos and he was like “ok cool”. So I did a few t-shirt designs for them. They didn’t get released but I still did things like canvas that were put in the Evisu concession stand in Selfridges and I painted the windows for the flagship store on Savile Rowe.
If you want to be one of the first to rock a T-Shirt from their new line, then you’re in luck. MOBO are giving away a T-Shirt each to two lucky fans and all you have to do is answer the following question…..
Q: How old was Cee Jay when he started the Ugly Kids clothing line?
*Please send your answers to email@example.com and include your name, age telephone number, email and postal address.
Interview by Kenneth Star