Wintercroft is a brand that makes a difference in cutting down on waste materials by creating rad designed masks and clothing. The masks give a personality to the brand, bringing the inner animal to the surface. The brand encourages the audience to be part of the solution and creating conversation in environmental solutions. We spoke to Steve and the rest of the team on how this inspirational brand began, as well as their ambitions for the future.
It’s great to be able to talk with you guys about your amazing products. The masks are awesome and add such a unique look to the brand, not to mention the awesome tees! Could you start by telling us a little more about what you guys do, a bit about how this is relevant in the world today and what drives you?
We are driven by the belief that everyone possesses the ability (and urge) to create.
Turning raw materials into something beautiful is an enriching, rewarding experience that we are passionate about facilitating.
In an increasingly digital age, we feel that the therapeutic, tactile experience of making things is often missed out. Since 2013, we’ve provided downloadable templates that enable anyone, regardless of previous experience, to build incredible 3-D Masks using either waste materials (such as cereal boxes) or cardstock.
That sounds ace getting the audience so involved with the product. Why did you decide the next step was to create a store?
Steve had been a professional surfboard shaper for many years and became increasingly uncomfortable with the inherent amount of waste the surf industry produced, despite his creative efforts to make the process and material more sustainable.
As a surfer who traveled to wild places often, his appreciation for environmental preservation steered him in new directions.
Around this pivotal time, Steve received an invite to a friend’s Halloween party. Struggling for costume ideas and short of time, he raided the recycling bin and gathered together a pile of old cardboard. Then sat down with some parcel tape, a pair of scissors and plenty of hot tea. An hour or so later (and after some trial and error) he had made an animal mask. The mask was well received so he decided to redesign it and make the templates available and accessible to everyone. This was the first step toward a new creative venture that he could make a living on with a minimal environmental impact.
When we were looking to produce a range of clothing to complement the masks, naturally Steve reached out to Martin, your co-founder, who Steve had built some surfboards for previously. With Rapanui’s green manufacturing ethos, it was perfectly aligned with our business practice.
That must of been an incredible Halloween party with one of those masks present! Going into the more technical side, what is your plan for marketing, any specific strategies or tactics you’re trying that are proving to be successful?
Whenever we release a new mask, we quite often have the model in one of our T-shirts or clothing designs. This brings brand continuity and a sort of internal cross-promotional aspect to the media. Likewise, when we release a new clothing design we have used the masks to compliment the new line. Often the Masks are handy for this as they hide the fact that we aren’t real professional models.
It’s rad that the masks and clothing work hand in hand so well. Can you tell us something you’re excited about with this project?
We receive exciting proposals and potentially amazing collaborative opportunities in the inbox daily now and our small team strives to make them all happen, which can be challenging, so there is never a dull moment.
Having Teemill/Rapanui support us in your unique way of offering one-off, made-to-order garments enables us to try out many different designs without limitation.
We are keen to get some of our own new multimedia projects off the ground that will take the masks to new dimensions of form and narrative. We look forward to green merchandising with you on these projects. Inspired by our recent collaborations with Game of Thrones, Hotel Artemis, ionnalee and the incredible photographers we’ve been working closely with, we strive to pull together all the varied talented people we have met along the way and create some incredible things. Sometimes, it is hard to calm down enough to focus on one thing at a time. So, yes, we are in a constant state of excitement.
Awesome! What’s the ambition with your store, where do you hope it goes in the near future?
As far as the clothing is concerned, Steve has been immersed in brain-blowing abstract experimental art for our new line of garments. Some of these designs will tie in with our other upcoming multimedia projects, so all will be revealed in time. Because clothing is worn on the body, we are free to experiment with new shapes and forms without being married to the masks as the only clothing designs.
We look forward to seeing what Steve and the team does next! How did you approach this project in terms of your values, what do you hope to get out of it and what are you looking to achieve?
Every project we approach revolves around the axis of creative satisfaction, freedom of expression and environmental preservation. We want to remain in a constant feedback loop of inspiration so that we can continue to create, and we strive to use creativity as a vehicle for making the world a better place at every opportunity.
We could not agree more, creation is life’s inspiration! Which product are you most excited about and why?
This is impossible to answer, but we have been working toward realising some grand multimedia visions over the last couple of years. Much of what we are working on now involves tying together many different forms of media into one immersive experience and we will be working on some new clothing lines that support this with you. We can’t wait for all this to come together.
That sounds incredible. What advice would you give someone in a similar position, how do they get started?
Stay inspired, exude what makes you uniquely identifiable, be inclusive, get your manifesto and team together. Build a community and nurture it with collective experience. Learn to tag with social media handles and always give credit where credit is due.
Nice! One last thing, was there any part of it that’s been tricky and how did you overcome it?
As a small team with a global outreach, one of our biggest challenges is having the time to do everything we’d like to do. Your team has been brilliant from the outset in helping us set up a clothing shop and supporting us along the way in cross-promotion. We look forward to making more incredible things with Teemill/Rapanui. Being able to make incredible things with you in a sustainable way is a privilege and we look forward to years of creativity to come.
The privilege is ours! It’s incredible to see people using our service to change the world, one design at a time and you guys are making huge tracks in making the planet green. We can’t wait to see more in terms of the ace designs and masks to showcase your incredible look! Stay creative!